What are the Key Challenges of Mobile Application Quality Assurance?
In a study from ABI Research (June 2011), users of enterprise B2E (business-to-employee) and B2C (business-to-customer) smartphone and media tablet mobile applications are forecast to grow at a rate of nearly 90% and exceed 830 million active users by 2016. Another study by Gartner Group indicates that 428 million mobile devices were sold worldwide in 2011 Q1, a 19% increase from the previous year. In addition, more manufacturers, carriers, and other third-party application aggregators are or will come up with their own mobile application stores to compete with Apple. These opportunities are greater, but so is the competition and the importance of quality. With increasing users and applications, new tablets and
smartphones are released on a weekly basis with differing form factors, features, and screen resolutions. Combined with different operating systems, versions, models, and network infrastructures, keeping up with changing market needs can be daunting. Below is a summary of some of the major issues:
- Limited (though increasing) display areas, miniature keyboards, and less processing power and memory capacity than PC devices lead to a myriad of user interface issues combined with difficulty in meeting user performance expectations.
- Lower bandwidth of mobile connections that result in higher latency which can impact not only the performance but also the functionality of the mobile application.
- Mobile UIs that are still evolving with unique UI layouts and are different from what a user expects or different from the OS’s underlying platform’s visual capabilities. This results in applications that work as designed but might not meet user expectations and are then viewed as poor quality.
- Mobile handset proliferation that leads to a need for targeting development and testing because it’s not possible to develop and test on every device.
- Different mobile platforms/OS
[Android, IOS, BREW, BREWMP, Symbian, Windows 7, Blackberry (RIM)] and so on combined with different OS versions and platform limitations lead to possible functional inconsistencies.
Make sure that when your product management team is assembling their mobile application strategy and rollout plans for porting applications to mobile platforms, raise your hand! Don’t be afraid to bring up some of these issues so they can be integral to the implementation plan.