For those of us who use our devices for everything, from buying coffee to connecting with friends, the mobile experience holds high priority despite smaller screens and limited capabilities.
Due to the sheer popularity of smartphones and tablets, the importance of mobile device testing doesn’t come as much of a surprise. As mobile testing becomes the industry standard, testers must increasingly incorporate test cases that consider the needs of users that are on the go.
Here are a few ways to test mobile devices when manual testing:
- Touch Screen – Scrolling, clicking, and swiping are different when you’re using your fingers compared to a computer mouse. You want to perform a variety of these actions throughout your application to ensure that you can do everything on mobile that you’re able to do on a desktop and that it functions with the same accuracy. Are buttons big enough to click? Is it easy to scroll from top to bottom and back? How does it look when you zoom in or out? Does swiping work without too much lag? These considerations will be critical in assessing usability.
- Keypad – Rather than they keyboard we’re all used to, mobile devices have much smaller on-screen versions that also use touchscreen technology, which can pose a difficulty to users. Because they’re generally less user-friendly, you want to look at instances that might use require the keypad such as search boxes. Pay special attention to form fields to make sure they’re not too narrow or hard to use. You don’t want your users becoming frustrated because of a keypad that makes using the app impossible.
- Navigation – Many times certain navigations will be different for mobile compared to desktop because of the smaller screen space. For example, where a drop-down menu might normally be labeled “Menu” on the web application, it might turn into a hamburger menu on a phone screen. Ensure that these icons and elements are organized in a way that makes their function apparent to the user. Because some of these navigation items may be less obvious, you want to go through and make sure that you’re still able to accomplish the same journey.
- Portrait and Landscape – When you’re testing on a desktop, the web page will always be horizontal. Mobile phones are most often in portrait mode, but they can also be turned to view in landscape. Visual testing will allow you to evaluate and compare responsive layouts to make sure images, text, media, and other content is digestible in both portrait and landscape modes on mobile.
- Devices – It’s not enough to test on one mobile device — in fact, you should probably be testing a selection of devices. Because of mobile fragmentation, different models, brands, screen sizes, and resolutions mean different mobile experiences. Additionally, you want to test on both iOS and Android operating systems to get a better understanding of how it differs for each.
- Performance – Performance may be in good shape on your desktop, but that doesn’t mean it’s consistent for mobile. When 85% of mobile users expect pages to load as fast or faster than on the desktop, testing for performance is not something you want to skip. Test out different pages and record their load time. You also might want to test out different networks, locations, and even battery charges to see how it affects speed.
- Popups and Alerts – Checking pages that have popups and alerts is important because while it may look fine on a desktop, it could be intrusive on mobile. Alerts that are too large and unresponsive or popups that are layered over each other may even make the app unusable. Additionally, it’s a good idea to see how phone calls, notifications, and other interruptions affect the functionality application.
Once you know which devices you want to test on, you can build out a more comprehensive mobile testing strategy. Keep in mind the ways that devices differ, both from each other (tablet vs Android vs iPhone) and from desktop, to determine which test cases you should focus on during exploratory testing.
Your users aren’t ditching their devices any time soon. Exploratory testing on mobile devices means that you can better understand how users interact with your application.