The mood swings of Mobile Applications
Mobile applications can be very moody when it comes to their functioning with a WiFi or mobile data plan. Testers find it very difficult to take charge of it because they are not responsible of the app’s behaviour if the phone is under weak signals of WiFi or mobile data connection. Yet because the users are a matter of pride for any organisation, and hence the testers, they try to assist in a few ways wherein the user can be a little unruffled than being helpless.
What is the problem?
Let us imagine you are using your neighbour’s WiFi connection. It is very obvious the signals will vary from strong to weak at specific locations in your home. Now, if you are at the last stage of finishing an online purchase and you move away from the strong signal position, you are bound to face a loss because the signals become weak and therefore the server does not respond. By the time you come back to your original position, you will get an error from the server.
This occurs because the app was tested in the conditions when the Wi-Fi signals were up and hence this becomes a problem that needs to be sorted because the testing team did not check the application under the weak internet connection. They did not give a solution as to what the user should do to avoid the loss and neither was the software checked for its performance when the connection goes down.
What is the Tester’s role?
The testers should ideally try and test the application in an area where the network is dead. Look for a place where the app receives no signals. First open an app in a good internet connection and then move to a place with zero coverage. Check how the app responds. This will give you the fluctuating behaviour of the app. In doing so, you are checking the app in an offline mode.
Secondly simulate a weak connection. Also test the app in airplane mode, it’s a simple, cheap tester and it might be insightful. Here, the app sends an entirely different set of codes to the browser to indicate that the connection is down.
Thirdly what can be helpful is a discussion. Testers know that fixing all bugs always seems closer to impossible and it is learnt that the application performance under network stress is multidimensional- you really cannot have a unidirectional answer for it.
Lastly look for testing the app in all conditions, in random places, in a moving car, train, also use it via proxy. Testing with these attempts will make you spontaneous when any question is raised on the behaviour of the app under any such conditions.
Due to the low range and less speed, it’s the performance that is affected most which in turn irates the customer and thus the application loses customer. It is indeed a challenge to figure out mobile applications connectivity but you should know that the idea is not to indulge in finding test ideas but knowing the behavioural pattern of the app and to test in all conditions, to run the tests in a proper order and putting your testing to a halt or pause till the time you are confident it is good enough for the user.