Exploring something is the best way to learn more about it and understand all its features. Similarly, while testing an application, the testers need to navigate through all of its features. This will help them to understand its capabilities and the intended goals for the application. While performing software testing, the developers use some common terms like ad hoc testing, monkey testing, and exploratory testing.
However, it is important to remember that ad hoc and monkey testing are completely different from exploratory testing. The difference is similar to that of exploring and wandering. Even after multiple different test cases and rigorous testing cycles, the developers will always encounter some unforeseen errors or obstacles. These are the random scenarios that are not documented in the final Test suite.
From a developer’s point of view, it is almost impossible to cover all the scenarios while creating the test plan for the application. This is because there will be numerous differences in terms of the mobile specifications, operating system, physical hardware, or preferences of end users. Therefore, exploratory testing is the only logical way to solve all the errors that can rise due to these variations.
The Challenges of Mobile App Testing
The mobile application market is one of the most diverse software development segments that currently exist. For reference, we can consider that only in the Android segment more than a thousand different devices appear in the market every year. Each of these devices is different in terms of resolution, operating system skin, display size, and hardware specifications. Therefore, it becomes almost impossible for the developers to generalize the test cases for these devices. Moreover, there are also other popular platforms like iOS, windows, and blackberry. During the app development phase, the developers also have to consider certain undocumented changes like a fall in Internet bandwidth, low battery on the device, and custom interactions of multiple end users.
All the above points justify that it is almost impossible for software testers to completely depend on predetermined test cases for ensuring the optimal quality of a mobile application. In scenarios like this, exploratory testing can help the developers to better understand the application and create specific test cases simultaneously. This process will also help the application development companies to customize the end-user experience according to the target audience. Another factor that the developers can consider during the mobile app testing phase is the unavailability of a physical test bench. Maintaining a physical test page is not only an expensive process but also tiresome considering the variations that continue to increase with the passing years. The best way to solve this issue is to integrate cloud platforms into the test bench.
Using cloud platforms, the developers can access hundreds of real devices that are stored on multiple cloud servers. By simply paying a minimum license fee, the developers can conduct all their test cases on these servers. This process also eliminates the risk of releasing a faulty application due to only testing its performance on emulators and simulators. We can understand more about the influence of cloud platforms with the help of LambdaTest as a reference point
LambdaTest is a cloud-based testing platform that allows developers to perform manual and automated testing of web and mobile applications across 3000+ real browsers, devices and OS combinations. compatibility of modern web applications. Using LambdaTest, the developers can also validate the functioning of local web pages.
LambdaTest helps to improve the efficiency of the test cases by more than 10X with the help of parallel testing. Using parallel test cases, the developers can initiate different test configurations on multiple devices at the same time. Lastly, LambdaTest generates highly accurate test results by combining multiple reports from not only hundreds of emulators and simulators, but also multiple real devices stored on cloud servers.
The basics of Exploratory testing
We can define exploratory testing as the process of simultaneous learning, test design, and execution. It is one of the most unique and often regarded as the most effective way of testing the real-time performance of an application. This approach of software testing relies on the discovery and guidance of individual app testers. Using exploratory testing, the testers can find certain errors in the application that are not easily visible with other forms of testing like automation testing. This is one of the most important test cases that are highly dependent on the knowledge and experience of a human tester. Due to the complexity of modern applications, exploratory testing is starting to gain more popularity with time.
Modern app testers and quality assessment managers are starting to encourage the inclusion of exploratory testing as a part of a comprehensive app development strategy. During the early years of application development, exploratory testing was often referred to as ad hoc testing. Exploratory testing works on the principle that even with multiple pre-determined test cases, the developers will always encounter certain errors that are outside the reach of planned execution. Exploratory testing also plays a vital role in the proper implementation of continuous integration.
The Perfect Time to Implement Exploratory Testing
There are certain parameters that the developers must keep in mind before implementing exploratory testing. These parameters are highly critical to analyze the perfect time for the initiation of these test cases. So let us take a quick look at some of the major ones:
- Testers can initiate exploratory testing when they are beginning to learn about the product and the purpose that it is meant to serve.
- Exploratory testing is highly beneficial when the testing team will begin to frame the test cases for every element present on the mobile application. This is because it will help them to get a definite idea about all the interactive elements present in it.
- During certain test cases the developers do not have enough time to get proper feedback about the implementation of the test case. In such cases, exploratory testing can be used to get rapid feedback about the condition of the application.
- Exploratory testing is highly essential when the developers are trying to investigate an issue or a bug present in the mobile application.
- Regression testing consists of multiple repetitive test cases. Therefore, exploratory testing can utilize the experience of human developers to rapidly fix the defects present in these areas.
Skills Required to Implement Exploratory Testing on Mobile Apps
Now let us consider some of the major skills that are required to properly perform exploratory testing on mobile applications:
- The developers must have a good listening skills to implement exploratory testing.
- It is also very important for exploratory testers to be able to grasp things faster and gain new abilities.
- Possessing keen observation abilities will help the exploratory testers to analyze all the factors that might pose errors in a real-world scenario.
- Creativity is one of the important factors that drive the success of exploratory test cases. Therefore, the developers must possess the ability to think out-of-the-box.
- Reporting the results of exploratory testing is highly crucial to ensure that the test cases are framed in the proper time. Therefore, the developers must possess fast and accurate reporting abilities.
- Lastly, good communication skills allow the exploratory testers to coordinate and integrate better with each other. This process can help them to conclude all the exploratory test cases in a short period.
Pre-Requirements for Exploratory Testing
Before beginning exploratory testing of mobile applications, there are certain factors that the developers must keep in mind. So, let us take a quick look at some of the major pre-requirements for exploratory testing:
- It is important to have basic knowledge about the functioning of the application to begin exploratory testing.
- The developers should also have a clear idea about how their product is different from all the competitors that are currently available in the market.
- The exploratory testers should have a list of all the changes that have been recently implemented in the mobile application.
- It is very important to understand the target audience base and their usage behavior to ensure that the mobile application is suitable for them.
- The exploratory testers should have proper knowledge about all the risks and bugs that have been previously identified in the application.
- In case of a sequential update, it is important to know about all the critical errors that were present in the previous version of the mobile application.
The Process of Exploratory testing of Mobile Apps
There is indeed no definite process for implementing exploratory testing on mobile applications. However, we have tried to structure a possible path that will help to make it simple for the new exploratory testers. They are as follows:
- The first process is to understand the features of the products and design the use case scenarios according to them.
- After understanding all the functions and features of the application, the developers have to create test scenarios for testing all of these features.
- The next step in this process is to create a suitable app testing environment with the help of random data to analyze the behavior of the mobile application.
- The next step in this process is to execute all the individual test cases and carefully observe the results for any abnormalities.
- The developers have to finally document all the test results for future reference and debugging processes.
- The developers can also review the test results with different teams of the company.
So, we can conclude that the modern app developed industry is highly dependent on advanced and unique testing processes like exploratory testing and visual testing. These test cases ensure that all applications both mobile and desktop can survive the real-world use case scenario. Application development companies need to spread proper awareness regarding the importance and influence of these test cases. On the other hand, the developers should also consider these processes as one of the important building blocks for creating a better portfolio. One thing that every developing company and developer must remember is that their primary goal is to provide high-quality software in a short. Lastly, it is very important to acknowledge the role of multiple tools and platforms like LambdaTest in achieving this goal.