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Today’s web development is rightly focusing in on mobile-first design because of the rise in the number of devices being produced and the quantity of mobile internet browsers. As smartphone technology has improved over the past few years so have end-user’s expectations about what they can accomplish while using their mobile device, from completing e-commerce transactions to collaborating on shared files. Expect mobile browsing and buying trends to thrive over the next decade as decision makers begin to place a high priority on this form of internet traffic (and revenue). With the number of mobile users rising each day mobile development, and more accurately responsive design, has become an integral part of today’s development practices.

When creating a deliverable optimized for mobile devices quality assurance (QA) becomes a necessity to ensure projects look good and function well across the numerous devices available to end-users. Read on to learn about three key pain points of mobile user testing that QA must account for, and test exhaustively, before releasing a mobile ready project.

Mobile QA Testing

There Are More Mobile Devices Than You Can Count

Find a good emulator to allow your testing team to view the project across numerous devices. At Unleashed Technologies we have a subscription to BrowserStack, the popular Virtual Machine service, but we also use Genymotion and iOS Simulator for additional mobile testing. By having multiple emulation tools available during QA your development can be tested, and its results cross-referenced, which promotes greater confidence in the final product. While testing your deliverable on a physical device is the only way to assuredly confirm how it will perform for end-users, using at least two different emulators will shed light on any substantial development issues on a given platform.

Legacy Operating Systems

With some early internet enabled mobile devices turning ten years old it is important to remember the mobile operating systems (OS) of yesterday and the end-users still using them to connect to our development. Apple released iOS 8, their newest mobile OS, this past September, less than seven years after their original - iPhone OS. Android’s first version, Android 1.0, was released three months later in September of 2008. Because of these OSs’ quick lifecycles developers must remain aware of end-users running legacy versions. Not every smartphone user updates their software and there are plenty of older smartphone devices, oftentimes incapable of upgrading to the newest software, still being used worldwide. QA must factor these legacy end-users into testing if a deliverable is expected to be available for all to access.

Bandwidth Throttling

Use a network throttling tool to simulate your product’s user experience (UX) over a wide range of internet speeds. We employ Sloppy to test projects across numerous connectivities. Responsive design, and the myriad of devices it needs to account for, can create heavy web files whose load time will drag down the UX across mobile networks. Knowing that delayed page loads directly reduce conversion rates it’s important to understand how an end-user browsing on a weak connection will have a deteriorated UX. By identifying files like these during QA the development team can spend time optimizing the product for less than ideal conditions before delivery.

In order to avoid most of the issues many have when QAing mobile, remember to design for the mobile experience first - responsive design dilates onto larger screens much better than fixed-width styling shrinks. Mobile is the future (really, the now) of internet traffic - is your website ready? If not, contact us today.

 

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