Mobile apps, crash nightmares and testing!

While browsing through a few applications on Google Play market, I came across some interesting apps. However, one app caught my attention over others and on an impulse I purchased it for my brand new phone.

Guess what…the moment I installed the app it crashed! Being a tester, I immediately started analyzing why this happened. My first doubt was whether the testing team performed installation testing. Now while most teams would do some basic installation testing not everyone would have tested it on my device model or different OS versions. Anyway, I somehow got the app to start after resorting to the rudimentary turning on and off the phone.

Once I started using the app, I realized that it was very easy to understanding which told me that the development and design team had a good understanding about user level interfaces such as color scheme, menu style interaction, UI, navigation, etc. The app also had a comprehensive help and support center that was easy to navigate. On accessing the help center I could easily find a solution to my issue and fix it once and for all.

This is where my testing instinct kicked in fully. I started accessing the app using a GPRS connection and observed that the application performance was outstanding. I then ran it on my 3G network and the WiFi at office and found that the performance was consistent. I then started playing with the app to see if it transitioned seamlessly across portrait and landscape modes. I tested the app for a prolonged period of time with interruptions from calls, SMS and music.

However, to my utter dismay the battery consumption of the app was extremely high and I had to run to a charge point! I was pleasantly surprised to see that the app very smoothly transitioned from an active mode to a suspended state and back when I was receiving calls and the phone under charge. My past experiences with some apps in this area were abysmal to say the least!

However, having done such a good job with handling interruptions when calls come the development team completely missed the ads part. Every time I clicked on an ad the app stopped working. Anyway, I got busy with my work in office for the remainder of the week and did not even look at the phone or app (with the app in idle state). I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had been working perfectly in the background provided my phone had enough charge.

How many of you have paid and downloaded apps for your phones but found similar issues with them? Having worked as a tester for some time now, I have found that when app development companies ensure that their testing teams follow a process of this kind to make sure that the end user gets what is expected they win customers!

I continue to apply this approach in my day to day testing of mobile apps and look for ways to improve. Have you recently tested a mobile app and found a process that works for you? Please feel free to share your experiences.

Anuradha Gaidhani

Consultant, Zen Test Labs

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