Testing On Mobile Devices

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    Part of a Technical Writers job is to create test plans and to communicate it to the Quality Assurance Team. The Technical Writer will be responsible for the standard test plan (see previous posts) for user acceptance testing to be performed, maintenance of an organized list of open issues, verification of resolved issues, and continuous communication with all stakeholders. Many Technical Writers can gather information and create test plans from working and collaborating with relevant stakeholders, managers, clients, etc. But with the popularity and reliance of mobile devices being a huge part of our industry now, how do we create independent test plans for applications loaded onto them? What should be in these quality check blueprints?

    Similar to application testing on a laptop or personal computer, the test plan will involve equipment, functionality, user acceptance testing, interface, data entry, validity, and regression testing. But this is not enough. The standard testing is not just the application any longer. It will also involve content (such as size, language, security), DRM (Digital Rights Management), data risks, the device location, mobile carriers, special features (i.e., screen orientation – rotational ability, voice activation, screen navigation, etc.), audio, the cloud, social media access, simultaneous application behavior, and as usual, various scenarios.

    Compatibility

    • Will it be able to coexist with other applications?
    • Will it work without interference or interruption if, e.g., a message or a call is received?
    • Will it work within any device and with any system version?
    • Will it work with any mobile carrier?

    Functionality

    • Will it work on touch-screen devices?
    • Will it provide user friendly functionality, e.g., scanning images?
    • Will it provide eye-pleasing displays, movement, and presentations?
    • Will it provide quick keys, menus?
    • Will it provide accurate swiping capabilities?
    • Will it be able to function via wireless technologies, i.e., Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.?
    • Will it function even when coexisting with the maximum uploading and downloading of various applications?
    • Will it be able to upload or download material and objects, i.e., revised content or images files?
    • Will it be able to download all or any entertainment items via the application links if needed, i.e., e book material, games, movies, etc. without conflict?

    Consequences

    • What are the effects of haste in jumping from one module or application to another?
    • What are the results of service disruption?
    • What are the outcomes of moving incompatible objects from one module to another?
    • What are the effects on battery power usage?
    • What are the effects of program errors on other applications?

    Testing mobile device applications is quite challenging as you are not working off of a network nor have access to any normal desktop features such as viewing via a large screen, nor be able to manipulate any hardware or software. You are solely dependent on your mobile carrier (i.e., cell phone carrier) and your mobile device.

    Testing therefore can be difficult. I do not have any experience in using specific testing tools to help as I have only tested my practical needs in determining whether or not a mobile device application works for me or not. But if you are familiar with some mobile application testing tools, please leave a comment.