Mobile Device Performance Testing Tools
Test your app with leading mobile devices at every phase of development—from design and coding to release. Measure performance, guarantee results, and meet user expectations across hundreds of different device models, operating systems and browsers―all from one platform.
With experienced professionals on the team, we provide a wide range of mobile solutions that focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). Our product portfolio includes: Mobile ad hoc, mesh and sensor networks, Mobile location services including geofencing, Bluetooth beacons, mapping and navigation.
What is Mobile Application Testing?
Mobile app testing is executed in order to assess the performance of the application in a simulated environment (or several) in order to predict a user’s experience after a software’s public release.
For testers, performance assessment normally means running parallel tests of the system response on a range of devices, checking the app’s performance at peak points of traffic loads, and ensuring that it’s stable under poor internet connection and supports device-specific transactions.
The overall process of mobile app testing is divided into the following stages:
- Connectivity-related testing. As most mobile apps require online connectivity, a developer has to ensure the tool is functional in case there isn’t any. This means predicting a scenario for users in the flight mode or offline, test connections with changing bandwidth, and so on.
- Understanding device-specific characteristics. Unlike PCs, the screen dimensions of mobile devices can differ drastically – from 5-inch smartphones to 13-inch tablets. Also, there are other tech specs to keep in mind – camera, GPS, the capability of touchscreen and the range of supported gestures, and so on. A tester needs to have a better understanding of those characteristics as well as the way they impact the experience of using the app.
- Location simulation. For GPS-reliant apps, this step is a must. A tester has to ensure the performance of the product does not change drastically when a user moves to a different location. You can achieve this by using location simulators.
- Fragmentation testing. A development team needs to ensure the app supports different versions of the operating system it has been designed for. Be sure to outline the types of devices you’re looking forward to supporting and running tests specifically on those systems.
- UX testing. Key User Experience requirements include clarity of navigation, the intuitiveness of the interface, the look and feel of the app layout, error messages, and handling. UX testing is essential in order for the app to be accepted by the app store.
- End-to-end integration testing. System integration testing presumes to validate the performance of the solution against the main features of Mobile Device Management (MDM, in short) systems.
- Mobile performance app testing. Performance quality is different across high-end and low-end devices. Apart from ensuring the app performs consistently across devices with a lower capacity, a developer has to ensure the product is capable of handling high server loads as well as being immune to bandwidth and latency changes. This stage also includes load testing – increasing the number of incoming traffic to ensure the stability of the application’s response. As a rule, the approach to such tests is either modular or integrative.
- Security testing. Most mobile apps process the data from the device and store it on servers. In order to ensure a user’s privacy is not jeopardized in case a phone is lost or stolen, testers have to establish a secure authorization system, create a system of recording all the events performed within the app, and secure data confidentiality.
Who Needs to Performance Test Mobile Apps?
When development teams face time constraints, there is a temptation to skip mobile app performance testing. Doing that, however, is a no-go – otherwise, a tester would ignore oblivious bugs and the app would likely not be approved by distributors (Google Play Market for Android and App Store for iOS).
The list of objectives a tester achieves thanks to performance testing is quite extensive. It includes:
- Validate the performance of an application during big workloads. Performance testing allows product owners to measure the performance of the system as the number of concurrent users or actions increases. A tester will know the response time and the amount of system resource consumption at the app’s peak points. This is highly helpful in case your app has traffic spikes (where, during a certain season or period of time, the number of visitors surges and decreases shortly after).
- Validate the use of hardware. Through performance testing, product owners will ensure that low CPU usage or little server storage will not prevent the app from functioning according to the requirements.
- Determine the capacity of the application. You’ll be able to determine if the current software is capable of matching the set of metrics designed beforehand (peak traffic load, server response time, and so on).
- Measure and assess the performance of the app on the protocol level. A tester will be able to get a realistic simulation of real traffic, create a load profile, and measure the response time.
- Check the app’s performance under critical conditions. Thanks to performance testing, a developer will be able to establish the limits of the app’s performance. This way, you’ll be able to predict and prevent system crashes.
Strategy for Performance Testing Mobile Apps
Building a strategy from scratch can be challenging for newly funded startups. The good news is the app performance test approach is similar for apps in all industries and any scale.
In order to successfully execute performance testing, a project manager has to come up with a strategy. Normally, a step-by-step performance testing plan consists of the following steps.
Step 1. Align test objectives and business requirements
Performance testing will only be as good as its goals. When setting objectives for each case, make sure they correspond to business scopes of building an app. A tester’s top priority would be to assess the functions of the app that are crucial for lead generation – the cart feature for e-commerce stores, the registration and contact form, and so on.
At this stage, the testing team gets to know the architecture of the product to the best extent possible – including its presentation, business, and data levels.
Step 2. Identify test KPIs
By setting benchmarks for testing, you’ll be able to tell if the execution was a success or a failure. For mobile app testing, the following KPIs are worth consideration:
- Error rate;
- Maximum response time;
- Average response time;
- Peak number of requests;
- Average throughput and the peak number of concurrent active users per device and OS.
Step 3. Prioritize scenarios
Testing all the features of the app all at once without prior selection of cases is a common trap for a beginning tester to fall into. Instead, it’s better to outline multiple packet scenarios that are crucial for the app’s reliable performance.
After you have assured crucial features work properly, feel free to move in deeper and test less significant scenarios.
Step 4. Simulate a real-life testing environment
The testing environment is crucial in order to understand the user experience of the app the way people will after it’s live. In order to speed up the testing process, QA specialists mostly use system emulators.
Such tools do a good job of emulating the basic parameters of an operating system and allow testers to get a sense of the look and feel of the interface. However, to assess the performance of features that require camera permission, GPS, and other device-specific functions, it’s better to use real hardware.
Step 5. Align the testing approach with the overall development methodology
Testing should fit into a company’s general development framework. For Agile, the tester should be ready to implement the principles of continuous integration. If a company is using Waterfall, a tester should align their workflow accordingly – this means embracing regular bug reports and regression tests.
Adopting the same methodology for testing as for development allows both parties involved to be on the same page regarding the project, improve communication, and speed up the decision-making process.
Step 6. Keep the latency and the bandwidth of a carrier network in mind while testing
Due to the fact that mobile devices are connected to the internet through third-party carriers, the latency and bandwidth of the networks can vary. Keeping the carrier network differences in mind allows a QA specialist to optimize the app’s performance and improve user experience.
Environment for Mobile Application Performance Testing
can gather out of any executed test. Setting up an environment for an app or mobile website performance testing consists of the following steps:
- Isolate the environment. Make sure you’re the only one to use the system for testing and no other activity is performed on it simultaneously. Otherwise, you’ll jeopardize the test accuracy. Also, having a few users accessing the platform at the same time increases the server load and slows down the process.
- Use test data generators. Most tests are reliant on database records. When doing performance testing, it’s crucial to pay attention to data writing, reading, and deletion as these actions are known to halt the app’s performance to the fullest extent. In order to match the database records with those used in the test environment system, QA specialists use data generation tools.
- Isolate the network. This is done in order to eliminate timeout errors. It’s not a necessary guideline – if the bandwidth is wide enough to support both a tester and other users, there’s no need for isolation. For most networks, however, supporting a few concurrent activities without affecting the performance of the app is impossible.
- Remove proxy servers from the network path. A proxy between the client and the web server can put a strain on the performance of the app. The problem can be solved by conducting server transfers in a secluded environment.
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