Real device testing is a crucial part of the modern app development and testing life cycle. While working on mobile app testing, the developers have to verify the functioning of all the application components on various physical devices that are popular within the target audience base.
The developers can analyze the influence of various physical parameters, user interactions, and unexpected scenarios on the app’s functioning by performing real device testing. It also helps to understand that at least the basic structure of the app is functional in all instances.
While executing real device testing, the developers must have a definite plan for all the processes that need to be integrated in this step. So, with this article, we are going to guide the new testers and developers in creating an effective real-device testing strategy based on their app development projects.
Understanding Real Device Testing
Real device testing is analyzing an application’s performance when exposed to a physical device. A modern real device test bench consists of a diverse set of devices ranging from smartphones, tablets, wearables, and even IoT devices. The primary objective of executing real device testing is to provide a smooth user experience to end users on different hardware and software configurations.
The crucial advantage of real device testing over simulation software is that emulators or simulators cannot mimic the physical parameters of a device. So, it is impossible to verify the performance of an application based on parameters such as unstable bandwidth, low battery, or user interaction errors.
Moreover, the diversity of the modern device industry also emphasizes the importance of real device testing. For reference, we can consider the fact that more than 1000 new mobile devices come into the market annually. So, it is impossible to release an application without thoroughly verifying its performance on all these devices.
Role of Real Device Testing in Mobile App Testing
Let us now go through some of the most crucial parameters that make real device testing an inseparable part of modern mobile app test cases:
● Access to Diverse Hardware and Operating Systems
While performing real device testing, the developers can identify and address critical issues related to various screen sizes, device models, hardware configurations, and display resolutions.
Moreover, by testing the application on real devices, the developers can check the compatibility across multiple operating systems and device versions. The popular names in this segment include iOS, Android, and Windows.
● Network Conditions
While testing an application, it is a crucial parameter to simulate varying network conditions like network speeds and connectivity issues. This approach helps identify potential bottlenecks and optimize the application for different scenarios.
During this process, the developers must also remember the network connections will massively vary depending on the geographical location of their target audience.
● Implementing UX Testing
While performing real device testing, the developers can evaluate the functionality of touch-based interactions, gestures, and also device-specific functionalities. This is a process that is almost impossible to perform while using emulators or simulators for mobile app testing.
This approach also ensures that the app is responsive and visually appealing. This is something that needs to be maintained across different devices and screen sizes for universal compatibility.
● Integrating Sensors and Hardware
While using real device testing, the developers can test certain features of the application that rely on hardware sensors like Gyroscope, Accelerometer, and GPS.
During this phase, the developers can also ensure that the camera and other audio functionalities are compatible with the functioning of the app and accessible on diverse devices.
● Managing Performance and Resource
Real device testing also allows the testers to identify and address performance issues related to memory consumption, CPU usage, and battery usage. This is a critical parameter to provide a smooth user experience to customers.
Developing an Effective Real Device Testing Strategy
To help the new testers and developers with effective real-device testing, we have mentioned some of the most important steps in this segment:
1. Define Target Devices
The first step in this process is to identify the devices that your users commonly use. In this step, the developer should also consider including devices from multiple operating systems, screen sizes, and manufacturers. For new companies that are yet to build their target audience, you can target the popular devices in each segment.
2. Prioritize Devices
Now, it is time to shift the focus to the most popular devices that are critical in your target user base. However, it is also important to properly balance the test coverage to ensure a broad representation and universal compatibility.
3. Automation Tools
The latest mobile apps have thousands of different components that require elaborate testing. So, the developers can consider integrating automation testing with real device testing. This approach will help the system to automatically initiate the real device test cases whenever it detects any change in the application infrastructure.
Some of the popular options for integrating automated testing practices with real device testing include XCTest and Appium.
4. Testing on Various Networks
While executing the real device test cases, the developers must take proper measures to simulate various network conditions to analyze the behavior of the application when subjected to real-world parameters. It also helps to ensure that at least the basic structure of the application is functional in all instances.
5. User Flows
Now, it is time for the developers to test common user flows to ensure core functionality across multiple mobile devices. During the user flow testing, it is important to include both typical and edge cases in the testing scenarios.
6. Performance Testing
The next crucial step is to analyze the performance of the application. During performance testing on real devices, the developers must keep a close watch on various analytic parameters like memory usage, battery impact, and CPU consumption. This will also help to understand the performance of the application on old or legacy devices.
7. Security Considerations
Modern mobile applications store a lot of user information which can include private data or financial details. So, the developers must run proper security testing instances to ensure the integrity of the mobile architecture on real devices. During this step, testers can also consider encrypting the test data to ensure secure data transfer across devices.
It is also a good practice to implement various security certifications that are commonly used in the modern device market.
8. Update Testing
It is important for the testers to regularly run the real device test cases on the latest version of every operating system and device model. This approach will help them to detect all the compatibility issues at the earlier stages before they can turn into serious concerns. This process will also ensure the highest level of user satisfaction across multiple devices.
9. Beta Testing
Modern mobile app testing companies should encourage their users to participate in beta testing. This will help them to gather crucial real-world feedback across various real devices. Using this approach, the developers and testers can also identify potential issues before a wide release and resolve them immediately.
10. Monitoring and Analytics
While implementing real device testing, the developer should also integrate various monitoring tools to collect data related to errors, crashes, and user interactions. By analyzing these data, app testers can continuously adjust the device parameters to improve the testing strategy.
11. Feedback Loops
We suggest the developers and testers establish efficient communication channels between testers, developers, and users. Using this channel, the companies can gather efficient feedback related to various issues and resolve them at the earliest. Furthermore, using this approach the companies can improve the application iteratively.
12. Regression Testing
Since modern applications go through a frequent updating process, it is a common phenomenon that the new elements can harm the functioning of the existing elements of the application. So, it is important to integrate regression testing with real device testing to ensure the proper synchronization between all the elements within the app infrastructure.
Integrating automation testing with the regression test cases is also a good practice so that the system can automatically initiate the testing process whenever it detects any significant change within the source code.
13. Device Farm Services
As we already mentioned earlier, for performing real device testing, the app developing companies must set up and maintain device labs consisting of thousands of physical devices. This process is expensive and hectic as the developers have to constantly update this device lab based on market changes.
A great alternative to a physical test bench would be the integration of cloud-based device farm services. Using these cloud-based platforms, app developers can execute the test cases on thousands of real devices through remote servers. So, these servers not only remove the Geolocation barriers but also provide access to hundreds of legacy devices that are impossible to find in the present market.
Modern cloud-based platforms like LambdaTest also integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence to further improve the test orchestration and execution process. Some of the additional features of these platforms include real-time test execution logs, native bug trackers, and comprehensive test reports.
The final step to creating an efficient real device testing strategy is to maintain comprehensive documentation. With this documentation, the developers must include all the important information like devices covered, test cases, and test results.
It is also important to include details about all the bugs that have been encountered in the testing process so that the developers can use this information as a reference point for avoiding any known issues in future iterations. This documentation will also help the developers and testers when they are rolling out any future updates to the application.
By incorporating all the above elements, modern testers can create a robust real device testing strategy that enhances not only the app’s reliability but also user satisfaction.
The Bottom Line
Conclusively, the developers and testers must remember the exact strategy for implementing real device testing will vary depending on the project requirements, target audience, and intentions for the application. It is also important to understand the requirements of the target audience for customizing the application parameters. This is an essential parameter for expanding the target audience of the company.
Developers should also be cautious about the huge expenses that come with setting up and maintaining a real device testing lab. While implementing automation testing with real device testing, the developer should not only consider the project requirements but also their preferences for choosing the perfect automation testing tool.