Mobile Testing – Mobile Apps can do almost anything – but can you test them?

I was recently flying back from HP Discover in Vienna Austria and had two different occasions where mobile apps became a key focus.   First, on Austrian Airlines, in their in-flight magazine, I learned how tablets are replacing many of the aircraft manuals that pilots lug in those big square leather cases they always have on their suitcases. Now, they can use a tablet to quickly access the information they need, without all the excess paper and bulk.   Actually, just last month, the FAA granted approval for the iPad to be used in all phases of flight. This is just one example of how mobile devices, in this case tablets are showing up in all sorts of workplaces.

 

Then, on my flight from Paris, I had the opportunity to talk with the great Delta flight crew taking care of us, and after I showed them the super useful Delta mobile application on my Nexus One, one of them said..." I want my smart phone to walk my dog for me"' and her coworker jumped in and said, "all I want mine to do is not drop calls". 

 

The pace of change is so fast with mobile applications and devices, that it’s possible "Walk-the-dog” app could be around the corner.  And when that application is developed and tested, it will be important to ensure that the application works on real devices in real environments.   (Though, I’m not sure how it will pick up after them)

 

Modern mobile devices introduce exciting new capabilities such as the camera, location and near field communication.  I always take my phone with me when I work out, not because I want to be available for calls, but rather so it can track and monitor my progress on my run.   When you look at existing business processes from the perspective of mobile device capabilities, the potential for innovation is huge.   Look at airline check in process --- only need your phone.   What about depositing a check in your bank…. Just take a picture with their app and send it in.   Need to pay for something – tap your phone and go.  You’ve been in a fender bender and need to file an insurance claim – take photos, record the details and the insurance company is working on the claim instantly.

 

I'm also reminded that smart phones are phones first.  If your application can't handle incoming and outgoing calls without crashing, then you've got a real problem.  Your approach to functional testing must validate the functionality of your application. - does it meet the requirements?   But  also the non-functional requirements   like: “not interfere with phone calls or text messages”  You can't forget that your application must coexist gracefully with the phone part of the smart phone.   Nothing annoys me more than the smart phone being so smart that it forgets it’s still a phone.

 

How do you ensure the apps and the phone coexist?  Here are three things to consider:

-       You need clear non-functional requirements about how the application should behaves on the device.  And  how the device’s baseline features should continue to function.

-       Your testing needs to account for real world situations and functions.  

- You need to monitor the performance of your applications and then continue to improve their performance and functionality.   (more on monitoring later this week)

 

I believe, the rate of growth in the mobile space is only going to accelerate, as will the complexity of our solutions.  You need to make sure that your approach to mobile applications accounts for what happens in reality… and not in some sanitized test bed.

 

Remember, this is Mobile Month!!! And we’ve got a few great Mobile Month Webinars in a few days.

 

23 Jan2 -3pm EST: Are These Mobile Testing Dilemmas Keeping You Up at Night

24 Jan – 11am–12 pm EST:  You Can't Afford to Fail: Take the guesswork out of mobile performance testing with Shunra and HP

 

Please share your mobile perspective at http://svy.mk/MobileRsrch

Of course- go to www.hp.com/go/mobiletesting for all things related to HP mobile testing

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