Mobile Application Testing 101: Key Strategies & Tips to Ensure Success

Restaurants are increasingly finding ways to use mobile devices as business enablers. Before a successful mobile strategy can be implemented, there are several things that operators need to consider. Following are some key components that are vital: having a centralized system (stored on a local server or in the cloud); quality WiFi internet connection; and a quality browser-based/mobile application that works on the majority of devices, browsers or operation systems in the market today.

Mobile phone growth has created a fantastic user experience, but created an enormous mountain of complications for mobile software development and testing. Applications need to be tested on all flavors of Android and Apple devices.
Potential pitfalls that can impact business
There are some common problems than can occur when moving into and testing mobile applications:
* A mobile application fails to install on the desired device, losing a customer.
* Mobile applications, once deployed, experience defects or faults not observed during testing, damaging your reputation with customers.
* The user has a poor experience.
* Your business does not have the time and resources to monitor trends and changes in the mobile device space.
* The complexity of so many operating systems, browsers, telecommunication providers and devices is a challenge for many businesses.

These problems have a dramatic influence on: customer satisfaction, revenue, brand reputation and loyalty. Business owners repeatedly link a poor mobile user experience with poor customer satisfaction.
The complexity of the mobile marketplace, or uncertainty about the future path of the industry, cause most of the problems listed above.

However, some problems may occur because the business:
* Underestimates the time and resources required for a mobile initiative
* Does not understand which mobile devices their customers use
* Does not engage with network carriers to determine which new phones they are encouraging their customers to adopt at the end of their contract period
* Does not understand the complexities of building a mobile application for every popular device.
The following diagram presents the mobile universe in practice:
These problems are shared between business and IT in any business. A business sees its competitors rolling out fantastic mobile applications and wants to do it, too. Then they have unrealistic expectations of how long it takes an IT project, developer or provider to create and test these applications. At the same time, IT doesn’t control the expectations by explaining the complexities and resource requirements of such an initiative. The result can be missed delivery dates, disappointed customers, damaged brand image and resources wasted. This happens in businesses of all types and sizes.
Quality practices for a successful IT launch
Virtualization has already lowered testing costs, increased efficiency and sped up delivery of software to end users. Now it has gone further with mobile devices with Software as a Service (SaaS), where the software exists in the cloud and you use the software when you need to for a fee.
Global SaaS testing companies such as Perfecto Mobile, DeviceAnywhere, and others, offer a service where you can log onto their website to remotely access or test any mobile device, operating system and browser combination within seconds. This frees your business from having to invest in multiple mobile devices for testing, and the maintenance nightmare they may become. With SaaS you only pay for the resources you need at the time you need them. In addition to the financial considerations, brands like Perfecto Mobile and DeviceAnywhere have relationships with device manufacturers and carriers that allow them to pre-empt changes in the marketplace.
In practice, you or your IT capability can log onto the SaaS or cloud user interface.  It can display a list of devices on your screen with the associated attributes as follows.
A variety of devices, Operation System versions and network locations are available at your fingertips.
Further to the above, the SaaS or cloud-user interface provide access to real devices similar to the screen below:
Here you can press buttons, browse the web and do all the normal operations as if the device was actually in your hand.  
4 Best practices to leverage mobility
1. Procure a report outlining which phones, operating systems, and browsers are used by your customer base or market at large (online services such as Google Analytics can assist with this research).
2. Work with SaaS supplier to review future mobile device changes or risks. (They can assist with which devices to prioritize for your project or target market.)
3. Consider using a hybrid of SaaS and manual testing – to include older or locally significant devices.
4. Ensure IT capability has access to a sufficiently high-speed, high-capacity internet connection to be make use of SasS capability.
One current limitation of SaaS mobile device testing technology is that not all customers’ phones are offered on the service – so you have to decide how important those few users are, or what you can do to provide them with an alternate service.
Michael is software testing professional, entrepreneur and author.  You can find Michael at his website You can also download his book “It Should Just Work – Cust
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