Why Mobile Testing is Impossible Without Test Automation

Mobile testing

Once-upon-a-time I was involved in a huge-scale ERP upgrade for one of the world's largest Media conglomerates.

The upgrade was pitched on allowing mobile access to the solution. Everything was ready to go, contracts were in place, they just needed to be signed.

At the 11th hour, news came from the CEO's office - the project was off.

Device/OS Combos - Why You Need Mobile Test Automation 

The CEO used Windows Mobile! Who would have guessed? He seemed relatively normal. Anyway, Windows wasn't supported by the technology, so he simply said "no" to the whole project.

Over the next 3 articles I’m going to look at Mobile Testing, including some of the challenges and solutions you can look at. Today I’m going to kick things off by looking at why Mobile Test Automation is the only way to test all your device/OS combos.

Do You Even Know Which Combos To Test? 

When the iPhone launched, it was relatively straightforward, you knew the operating system and device you were targeting.  Nowadays, you have a much more complex landscape: The various iterations of Apple, Google, Samsung/Android, Huawei/Android are probably on your radar. But what about Huawei/Harmony, KaiOS, Symbian? Ok, maybe Symbian is a stretch, but you just never know. Things get even more complicated with tablets and the myriad configurations used at home and in business.

Sure, Apple has remained the most predictable of device/OS combos but even the UK government's flagship track and trace app isn't compatible with older Apple devices.

How do You Get Hold of All That Kit?

As if working out the required devices isn't problematic enough:

  • How do you actually get your hands on the right device/OS combinations?
  • Do you buy them all?
  • Pile them in a box in a cupboard?
  • Who looks after them, makes sure they’re up to date, connected, charged?
  • If your team is working remotely how will they share devices?
  • … etc

The truth is, It's practically impossible to buy, maintain and even run tests across all of these devices. There's just too much work involved - most of that work that is outside of your scope as a tester. Make no mistake – it will massively impact your ability to do your day job.

Why You Need to Use a Mobile Test Tool

Realistically, your only option is with a mobile test tool. Take UFT Mobile for example (other tools are available), it allows you to execute your tests across multiple devices way faster than via manual execution - and crucially - it gives you access to a comprehensive and remote bank of mobile devices and emulators.

With the right tool:

  • You don't have to maintain a cupboard full of phones and tablets.
  • You don't have to fish around for the right device, upgrade it, downgrade it and mess around with the settings.
  • You can test device/OS combos quickly and easily
  • You can finally do proper mobile testing! 

Why Mobile Testing is Impossible Without Test Automation

Maybe it is theoretically possible, if you have access to unlimited infinite effort and budget… but it is impossible in a real-world situation, impossible within your timelines.

There are just too many combinations and permutations.

If you try to focus on devices, you’ll end up alienating some of your users – and unhappy people shout way louder that the contented.

Learn more about mobile test tools – Get in touch today

Next Time – Mobile Testing – How the Numbers Get Crazy

In my next insight, I’m going to take a look at the crazy numbers behind Mobile Testing. Including how running 5 x 30-minute tests can add up to over 200 hours of effort... 

Stephen Davis
by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is the founder of Calleo Software, a Micro Focus (formerly HPE Software) Gold Partner. His passion is to help test professionals improve the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing.

To view Stephen's LinkedIn profile and connect 

Stephen Davis LinkedIn profile

13th November 2020

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