With the proliferation of mobile devices in the marketplace, a thorough and rigorous testing process is of utmost importance to ensure a quality user experience. Both functional testing requirements as well as non-functional testing criteria should be given equal priority.
Non-functional mobile application testing is an extensive part of testing, concentrated on testing those features that are not connected with a defined user action or related to security, scalability, performance, or functional behavior of an application.
Non-functional testing of mobile apps – key testing aspects
Non-functional testing can be very complex and hence needs to be carried out based on well documented test cases which include a test case description, the steps to be followed, and expected results. Additional test cases may be included if the testing team identifies additional test cases that aren’t present in the initial list of tests. Some key elements tested during this phase are:
- Ease of installation: Making the application file compact and stable for installation is a challenge for the developer. However, testing needs to ensure the installation process is intuitive and the application can be installed by end users with minimum time. Also, as updates and release patches are developed to address security concerns as well as add or improve functionality, testers need to ensure these patches can be easily installed, when released.
- Application Security: To protect the applications against malicious threats, testing to thoroughly analyze the application’s design and code from a security perspective, while checking for use of multiple encryptions is critical. (i.e. To safeguard application access in the event of a stolen mobile device, the testing team should ensure functionality is present to lock the application remotely and lock out a user.)
- RAM and storage limitations: The application’s storage utilization must be aptly designed with due consideration to RAM and ROM. The challenge lies in making the application suitable for all combinations of memory and storage. The application’s installation process needs to be analyzed to check if its memory consumption is affecting the functionality of other applications or creating any device lag.
- Device issues: With non-functional mobile application testing, other aspects such as data consumption, data usage /cost, battery consumption, and the behavior of application under varying battery conditions also should be checked.
- Accessibility for differently-abled users: Checking the mobile applications suitability for varied types of users will ensure that the application is well suited to both normal users as well as physically challenged or disabled users. The test scenarios in this case can include the option to increase fonts, ability to interact with the app through voice instead of touch and other similar features.
- Continuously changing network conditions: Testers need to assess the application under varying networks and available bandwidth. This is to validate it will be able to connect and be responsive without delay or issues.
Non-functional testing of mobile apps – testing techniques
The above aspects can be addressed utilizing these mobile application testing techniques:
- Performance testing: Comprehensive system performance is reviewed where availability, performance and functional precision of API calls are examined. It is vital for the tester to measure the response time of the applications and the response time of the app’s essential functionalities.
- Usability testing: Assessment of the application’s user-friendliness including layouts, alignments, pop-ups, and page navigation along with UI uniformity. The usability and user interaction aspects can be analyzed by testing via various interaction methods.
- Recovery testing: This tests the capability of an application to recover data after situations like sudden crash or loss of network.
- Compatibility testing: In this type of testing evaluates the overall compatibility of an application with a wide-range of operating systems, varying platforms and devices of different configuration via simulators and emulators.
- Documentation testing: In this type of testing, the testing team examines the availability of help functionality, guides, instructions, online assistance, etc. within the application package.
The non-functional testing of mobile apps is of significant importance for quality assurance. Testing performance of the applications against established parameters ensures reliability and a defect-free launch or subsequent releases.