Android app testing: how to get started [both manual and automated approaches]

 Android app testing: how to get started [both manual and automated approaches]

Explore mobile testing in detail. Learn about different types and techniques of mobile testing, the challenges faced and the best practices for better results.

Every Android application, irrespective of its type, has a common objective of creating an impeccable and seamless user experience. Creating a flawless application with well-defined and easy-to-access features is one hell of a task. This becomes more difficult if your android application has complex and advanced features.

In the past few years, the usage of mobile devices has grown exponentially. Consequently, organizations and software companies have come up with new and innovative mobile applications that can solve your concerns with only a few touches. For example, you can now book online reservations for railway tickets or movie tickets, you can execute a transaction with a single swipe, you can order groceries and other essentials online - all of this on a mobile application.

Applications for such use cases are quite complex and require a great amount of quality assurance before they are launched. This makes it quite obvious that there has to be a thorough testing process that the android application needs to go through before its launch. And yes, each and every android application must go through a lot of scrutinies before it is released.

Building new applications is getting a whole lot easier, thanks to all the toolkits, frameworks, and programming languages. Testing these applications, on the other hand, is going exactly the opposite way. Applications that are now being developed are more complex, and they need to adapt to a large number of form factors, browsers, and operating systems.

In this article, we are going to discuss how to get started with android application testing. We will present you with in-depth insights on manual and automated testing approaches that will get you right on track to start the testing process.

What is Android app testing?

Android app testing is a process through which applications developed specifically for android devices are tested. The main objective is to test the applications’ functionality, stability, and usability. It is vital for any app’s survival in today’s market. In order to ensure the best possible quality for the end-users and stakeholders, the android apps are also tested for other aspects including security, performance, and UI.

Why is Android app testing important?

In the prevalent app-development scenario, android apps need to be tested across various OS-device combinations. This helps developers to ensure its compatibility, consistency, and usability. To build applications that are scalable and accessible across various platforms, it’s essential that quick and efficient testing is performed.

Suppose you have a payments android application. For such a critical application, where a simple lag can cause a transaction to fail, it’s vital that developers perform thorough testing for all the critical scenarios. Authentication process, API integrations, UI components, functionality, etc. are some important aspects that need to be tested thoroughly for such applications.

As manual testing is quite a time consuming, costly, and error-prone process, it makes sense to leverage automation testing. It can be adopted for a wide range of repetitive tasks, especially for performance and regression testing. However, both manual and automated testing approaches have their own advantages and use-cases. We will discuss it later on in this article.

Getting Started with Android app testing.

As a tester, you need to do a lot of homework before you actually start with the testing process. You can start by studying the OS (Android) and its history. If you are not aware of the OS, then you can not test the application against the various versions of it. Some of the important factors that affect the working of the application include - OS version, UI, GPS, battery life, network type support, etc.

Also, with Android, it’s not just about the OS, but also about the plethora of devices that you need to study. Before finalizing and freezing your testbed, it’s important that you need to find out the device share of the target audience. Hence, it’s extremely important for a QA to gather comprehensive knowledge about the overall Android ecosystem.

‘To-do’ list before starting the testing process

Unlike in-sprint testing cycles, there are a few checkpoints that you need to perform extra research on, for the very first release of the android app. Here is a list of activities that a QA must carry out before starting the actual testing process.

1. Research on OS and devices - It’s important to understand the impact of the different OS versions and device models. Keeping in mind the OS and device models, you need to create test cases.

2. Test Bed - Because of the open Android system, it’s very difficult to create the test-bed for Android apps. A decision on this should only be taken after proper discussion with stakeholders to find the right target audience.

3. Test Plan - The test plan for the first release is very important since the same template can be used for in-sprint testing cycles. Hence, extra time and effort should be made in creating the test plan for the first release.

4. Testing techniques/methods - Unlike conventional tests, few tests are very specific to android apps such as field test, image capture test, GPS test, etc. Moreover, based on the use-cases of the apps and a lot of other factors, it’s essential that you decide if you want to perform manual testing or go with automated testing methodologies.

5. Automation tools - If you decide to adopt automation testing, it’s essential that you select the right testing tool that caters to all your testing requirements.

Testing types for Android apps Specific to Android apps, the following testing types are essential in order to certify an Android app.

1. Functional Testing - Functional testing is generally achieved by UI initiated test flows. Along with the flow of use cases, the business rules are also tested. In short, the goal is to verify if the application is working according to the requirements put forward by the stakeholders.

For example, for a food-ordering android application, certain functionalities must be tested. This includes verifying whether the restaurant cards are shown according to the location and within the given range of distance, the review count of each card is in sync, adding a new restaurant is reflected, restaurants are actually listed based on the filters, etc.

2. Android UI Testing - It’s a user-centric testing approach. Here, components such as the visibility of UI components, text alignment, interactiveness, responsiveness, etc. are tested.

3. Compatibility Testing - It is done mostly in the following forms - OS vs application, Device vs application. It includes validating OS, device types, screen sizes, and resolutions, network connectivity, etc. The application must be compatible with the widely used device models and Android releases.

4. Interface Testing - It’s also called integration testing and is done after all the modules are completely developed and debugged. It includes complete end-to-end testing, interaction with other apps such as google maps, social sharing apps, microphone, camera, etc. as per the use case of the application.

5. Network Testing - During the testing process, the requests and responses to and from the services are tested in various network conditions. This is mainly done to calculate the response time which decides how much time the application takes to load the features.

6. Performance Testing - Performance of the Android applications under peculiar conditions are to be tested. Such conditions include low memory devices, low battery levels, poor network, etc.

7. Installation Testing - It depends on whether the application is pre-installed or is installed by the user later on. This is to verify smooth installation, up-gradation of the app, appropriate permissions are asked, etc.

8. Security Testing - Privacy and security are the most essential components of any application, especially for critical applications like banking, healthcare, etc. Encryption and decryption mechanisms and access to stored data are to be tested thoroughly.

9. Field Testing - It’s done to verify the behavior of the application in normal and real conditions. It’s usually done by test participants that belong to the target audience and are preferably done on devices that are used by the participants.

10. Input Testing - The various inputs actions such as multi-finger inputs, voice inputs, sensor inputs, etc. must be tested thoroughly.

Manual or Automated Testing?

In QA, automation testing is extremely important to speed up the testing process with accuracy and reliability. But when it comes to functionality, manual testing takes the driver’s seat. Even if automated testing gets refined, manual testing will still secure its position in releasing quality-driven Android applications.

Automated testing is preferred for attaining speed and reliability. It’s widely adopted for regression testing, performance testing, and repeated execution of test cases. We can easily perform parallel automated tests on Android applications over thousands of OS-Device combinations simultaneously. However, if you are working on a small project like MVP, for simpler updates, you need to constantly keep changing the test scripts which is quite tedious and wasteful. Hence, it’s more suitable to adopt automated testing only for larger and complex projects.

Manual testing is best suitable for exploratory, usability, and ad-hoc testing. App crashes, for instance, can be located only through manual testing. It’s generally used for UI testing, replicating real user experiences. It’s faster and cost-effective for small projects. If you need to handle more complex test scenarios, manual testing is the way to go. However, it’s not 100% accurate due to human error and requires a lot of human resources for executing and monitoring test cases.

The Right Approach

Due to the cutting-edge competition, software companies need to ensure that they exceed the expectations of their users. Hence, it’s crucial to leverage the benefits of android app testing to improve the overall quality of the application. Here are a few steps that can be considered as an outline of an effective approach to android app testing.

  1. Outline the entire process.
  2. Choose the method - Manual or Automated.
  3. Define the test cases and test scenarios.
  4. Prepare the test cases for both visual and functionality testing.
  5. Choosing the right devices and Android versions.
  6. Security and Performance testing.
  7. Analyzing the report and debugging.
  8. Complete testing before the final release.

Here are some key aspects that you must consider to build a proper end-to-end test plan.

  1. Selection of the right device for testing - real devices, simulators, or emulators.
  2. Cloud-based testing of Android applications.
  3. Documentation testing including the analysis of specific requirements.
  4. Functional testing to check the basic functionalities.
  5. Visual or UI testing to certify the working of UI components.
  6. Performance testing including load, volume, stress, stability, and concurrency testing.
  7. Certification testing to check whether the Android application meets the standards, terms of the license, etc.

Keeping these points in mind, you can easily create the perfect test plan to carry out effective Android app testing.

The Checklist

To ensure quality, it’s recommended that you adhere to the following checklist before releasing your application.

  1. Cross-platform compatibility - Your Android application may run fine on Oreo (Android Version 10) but may fail in the case of Marshmallow (Android Version 6).
  1. App Integration - It should interact well with in-app as well as mobile-based features.
  1. It should be optimized for all types - hybrid, web, and native applications.
  1. Front-End and Back-End testing.
  1. Storage and size of the application.
  1. Network Compatibility and factors such as jitters, packet loss, network speed, and type.
  1. Good application flow.
  1. App security.

Common Test Frameworks

Automated testing is a boon for QA and developers, thanks to the cutting-edge frameworks that are widely available. Here are some of the best frameworks that are commonly used.

  1. Testsigma: It’s a scriptless, unified cloud-based test platform with access to over 2000+ real Android devices available on-demand. You can easily create your test cases in natural language and perform parallel automated testing on multiple devices simultaneously.
  1. Appium: It allows you to create test scripts in almost all the popular programming languages, and supports native, web, and hybrid apps.

  2. Espresso: It’s the Android test automation framework that was open-sourced by Google. It allows you to write concise UI test cases for Android applications.

  1. Detox: It’s a Javascript-based mobile testing framework. It makes test execution fast and robust.

Useful tips for effective Android app testing

Here’s a list of some of the best practices that should be adopted to make your testing experience seamless and effective.

  1. For larger projects with repeated test cases, use test automation.
  2. For small projects with frequent changes in UI, use the manual testing approach.
  3. Test early and as often as possible.
  4. Split your Android app testing into smaller units.
  5. Always make your testing data-driven.
  6. Know the platform’s UI/UX guidelines before starting the testing process.
  7. Test your application of multiple devices and in real-time scenarios.
  8. Don’t completely rely on emulators.
  9. Always keep an eye on memory leakages and increase in cache-volumes.
  10. Check the responses on interruptions, changing network profiles, low battery levels, etc.

In your users’ eyes, your application is only as good as its performance and how easily it solves your user’s problems. While it’s true that most test cases are repeatable, there should always be some degree of variation in the test cases that you create. You can use automated testing approaches for repeated, time-consuming processes, however, manual testing is also necessary for exploratory testing. It’s essential that you carry out preemptive strategizing about the whole testing plan that caters to your Android app requirements.

In case you are looking for an Android app testing framework to manage your manual as well as automated testing, then you should try Testsigma. It allows you to create scriptless test cases with ease, even for users who don’t have technical expertise or background. You just have to sign up and start. That’s it! No setup required.

testing testautomation mobiletesting androidapp

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