In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, mobile apps are at the heart of our daily lives. As the demand for feature-rich mobile applications continues to grow, so does the need for efficient mobile app testing.
Test automation is a powerful tool for delivering high-quality apps. Automation can rapidly identify defects, reduce manual testing efforts, and accelerate the release cycle. In this article, we will explore the five most important best practices for mobile app test automation.
1. choose the right test automation framework
When choosing a framework, consider the following factors:
- Compatibility with your app’s platforms (Android, iOS, or both)
- Compatibility with app development languages/frameworks
- The time needed to support new devices/OS versions
- Which language do you want to develop your automated tests in
- Ease of integration with your existing tools and processes
- Community support and available resources.
By selecting the most suitable framework for your needs, you can streamline your test automation process and ensure long-term success.
2. develop a robust test automation strategy
A well-thought-out test automation strategy is vital to achieving your desired outcomes. Your strategy should include:
- Clear goals and objectives: Define the purpose of your test automation and set measurable goals to track progress.
- Test case selection: Identify which test cases are most suitable for automation, g., focusing on repetitive and time-consuming, which benefit the most from automation.
- Test case design: Create concise tests with fewer steps. By breaking down complex tests into smaller, more focused ones, you can enhance test stability and reliability.
- Test environment: Define how you will run your mobile tests. Think about device types, operating systems, and network configurations.
- Test coverage: Understand your target audience by leveraging analytics to gain insights into the devices and operating systems used by your end users. Utilise this information to prioritise test coverage.
- Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD): Integrate test automation into your CI/CD pipeline to ensure seamless execution and rapid feedback.
By developing a comprehensive strategy, you can establish a solid foundation for your test automation efforts and maximise the return on investment (ROI).
3. optimise test design and maintainability
To optimise your test automation efforts, focus on creating modular, reusable, and maintainable test scripts. Following these best practices will help you achieve this:
- Apply the Page Object Model (POM): POM is a design pattern that encapsulates the UI elements and interactions of a page in a separate class. This approach makes your test scripts more resistant to UI changes.
- Optimise test case organisation by considering platform-specific requirements. Recognise that some test cases may be applicable only to certain platforms.
- Develop reusable, parameterised methods for locating and interacting with app elements, and consolidate them into a separate class. This practice will facilitate code reusability across all tests and platforms, streamlining maintenance and promoting efficiency in your automation scripts.
- Use data-driven testing: Parameterize your test scripts to accept input data from external sources, such as Excel files or databases. This approach helps you create more flexible and reusable tests, reducing the effort required to update test scripts when data changes.
- Identify platform or operating system-specific features in your applications: Features such as location or privacy permissions may necessitate distinct test steps.
- Implement parallel testing: Execute multiple tests simultaneously on different devices or emulators to reduce the overall testing time and speed up your release cycle.
4. test across multiple devices and platforms
The sheer variety of mobile devices, operating systems, and network configurations can make mobile app testing a daunting task. To ensure that your app works seamlessly across different environments, follow these best practices:
- Prioritise functional testing on real devices and use emulators only for UX testing: While emulators are more convenient, they can be unstable. This approach enables comprehensive coverage across environments while maintaining a balance between costs and test execution time.
- Maintain a device lab: Create a device lab with a mix of popular and older devices, as well as different OS versions. Ultimately you need to ensure your app’s compatibility with your target audience’s devices.
- Leverage cloud-based testing solutions: Utilize cloud-based testing solutions, such as Sauce Labs, BrowserStack, or AWS Device Farm. These have the advantage of having a wider range of devices and configurations that can complement your device lab, allowing you to focus on testing, not device maintenance and the associated cost.
5. monitor, analyze, and iterate
Continuous improvement is the key to success in mobile app test automation. To achieve this, you should:
- Monitor test results: Regularly review test results from your CI/CD pipeline to identify patterns and trends in test failures.
- Analyse test data: Use data analytics and visualisation tools to gain insights into test execution, coverage, and effectiveness. This will help you make informed decisions about your test automation strategy and prioritise areas for improvement.
- Produce reports: comprehensive and insightful reports can highlight potential concerns in application performance and stability across different versions, devices, and platforms.
- Iterate and improve: Based on your analysis, make necessary adjustments to your test automation strategy, framework, or test scripts to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency.