How to do Manual Mobile Application Testing Like a Pro

Mobile Application Testing

Manual mobile application testing is time-consuming for any QA specialist in test automation and, just like every other human task, prone to errors and mistakes.

It would be a misconception, though, to say that all the test cases/ scenarios can be completely automated through test case management tools or the automation system would be a worthy option every single time. Mobile usability tests, for example, and design testing are difficult to automate.

Manual mobile testing has its benefits in many use cases and even gives higher ROI in many scenarios. It goes hand and hand with automated testing and allows to fine-tune any part of the application if done correctly.

Lets dive into the reasons why manual mobile testing is important, including why and when to perform it. 

Manual mobile testing: why and when to perform?

When it comes to usability and first interactions, the manual evaluation method is irreplaceable. It gives you the sort of input/ feedback that the real users may expect from you. Versatility and emulation of actual user behavior are the most important merits of manual testing methods. But when is mobile manual testing appropriate, and when is it easier to choose automatic testing? Here is a list of types of testing which correlate with mobile manual testing.

Testing one-time

It is not at all economical to write a script if you ever need to test a particular functionality just once or twice. It’s easier to manually run the test and analyze the results of the activity/task that is not repetitive.

Testing for compatibility

It is possible to automate this form of mobile testing. Commonly, though, it is not a complicated task; it makes perfect sense to do it manually because manual app testing is more versatile and cost-effective. Checking if the software is sensitive on actual devices with various OS models, screen sizes, and displays is also critical.

Testing ad-hoc 

As there is no script or scenario that they will use, all of these forms of testing involve the knowledge, imagination, and creativity of testers. In these cases, a competent QA engineer will predict the potential actions an end-user may take to ensure that the software operates smoothly.

Testing for UI & Usability 

How user-friendly and handy the app is, can only be measured by humans. A skilled manual tester will quickly note even a small divergence between the real look and sound of the software and the specification decided upon in the specifications. It can’t be achieved by a computer.

Manual smartphone testing, on the flip side, is not the right option for: 

  • Testing for regression (whereas automated testing through test case automation tools works optimally for this scenario). 
  • Function testing for huge applications that need to be run regularly. 
  • Testing load and output. 

A comprehensive method to testing mobile apps manually

Testing manually is often considered to be merely clicking on the mobile app and reporting errors arbitrarily. However, if you don’t have a proper schedule or framework, then naturally just clicking around would consist of your manual mobile testing. However, not having a proper schedule will do you no good as your mobile application will have a lot of bugs when it is released in the market. So, you have to detail your action plan and identify the route for implementing it in order to keep it under check. 

When manually evaluating/testing an app, here are the 5 main steps you need to follow.

Make a plan

This could seem intuitive, but you need to know precisely what to test in advance and how to evaluate it. Anything else, it’s going to be like racing around trying to capture a bug in circles. A bug of several sorts. So, begin by reviewing your test plan and selecting the test cases that are best for manual testing. Then classify them according to what needs to be evaluated (navigation, UI elements, interruptions, etc.). This will help you maintain and keep your manual test sessions as brief as possible. 

Some more steps you can take in test planning include the identification of user stories that need more testing than others, increasing test coverage for high priority user stories, etc. You can also create modules and test suites to properly organize your test cases. All of this planning can be made easy with test case management tools.  

Highlight a click journey

Set down a comprehensive click path for every use scenario/ case. Performing exactly the same test on different machines will help you to maximize the time for each test session.

And once you find a flaw, you’ll be able to rapidly and accurately replicate it.

Testing on a variety of systems

On one smartphone/ device, an app will run flawlessly but fail on another. That’s why running the same test on multiple actual devices with different choices for OS, hardware, and applications are the key. In comparison, some manufacturers are making special UI modifications in the case of Android OS that can impact the application. Don’t panic, hundreds of mobile phones do not need to be stored in your office. Take full advantage of the cloud platform (AWS, GCP, etc.) where you can use actual virtual hardware and select the parameters you require to start manual testing.

Test again & again

In case the original bugs appear after code modification, perform all the steps in the very same series again. In order to make sure that solving one problem did not break anything else, it is essential to track all the manual testing evaluations.

Log every result

Be sure to write down all the information you’ve learned so that once the bug has been patched, you can quickly verify the part again. You can use test case management tools to link defects with requirements and test case execution will provide end-to-end visibility.

General Tips and Insights

  1. Quality and Speed Balance: Strive for equilibrium between quality and speed in mobile app testing. While manual testing offers unique insights and feedback, automation can significantly speed up the process for repetitive tasks.
  2. Usability and Interaction Testing: For aspects related to usability, user interaction, and overall experience, manual testing proves invaluable. It allows for the emulation of actual user behaviors and brings human intuition to uncover issues that automated testing might overlook.
  3. One-Time or Ad-Hoc Testing: If a specific functionality or feature requires testing only once or twice and doesn’t involve repetitive execution, manual testing might be more efficient than investing time in scripting and automation.
  4. Compatibility and UI Testing: Manual testing is ideal for compatibility checks across various devices, operating systems, and screen sizes. Additionally, for UI and usability testing, human testers can better assess the user-friendliness and adherence to design specifications.
  5. Test Planning: Develop a detailed test plan and categorize test cases for manual execution. Identifying which tests are suitable for manual processes is crucial to keeping the test sessions efficient.
  6. Defining Testing Path: Establish comprehensive test paths for use scenarios, ensuring consistency across different test sessions and allowing for easy bug replication when needed.
  7. Variety of System Testing: Run tests across a variety of actual devices or leverage cloud-based platforms to simulate diverse hardware and OS environments, ensuring app performance across multiple setups.
  8. Iterative Testing and Logging: Repeatedly test, log, and retest to ensure that issues are effectively resolved and that solving one problem doesn’t introduce new bugs.
  9. Documentation and Result Tracking: Document your test results diligently for future reference and as a point of comparison post-issue resolution. Leveraging test case management tools can provide comprehensive tracking and linkage between defects, test cases, and requirements, ensuring end-to-end visibility in the testing process.
  10. Maintain a Consistent Testing Approach: Organizing a clear, consistent, and planned testing approach helps mitigate risks and ensures comprehensive app testing.

Final words

Manual testing is very important when it relates to smartphone usability and functionality. Still, repetitive work can become mundane and result in missed bugs, particularly when the same tests need to be run over and over again. You need to organize the testing methodology and steps before you start manual testing. For any test case, getting a comprehensive plan and a detailed click path will assist you in performing the same test on different platforms and, if caught, replicate bugs. Act on these tips, and you will see the success of your attempts to boost mobile testing faster.