It’s far from straightforward to release a software application in today’s varied, cross-platform device landscape. It may be expected to run on everything from a desktop PC to a smartwatch. Just looking at smartphones, you have a huge variety of different hardware specifications to deal with, and that’s before you even consider the software running on them.
When you put all the possible hardware combinations together with the operating systems, drivers, browsers, and other software that might go on top, you quickly realize that the number of possible permutations is enormous.
Here are five questions that will help you uncover any potential cross-platform issues:
Do all interactions and inputs work correctly?
When you test on different devices and platforms, you inevitably deal with a diverse range of possible controls. There may be physical buttons, touchscreen interfaces, or even voice or gesture controls. Every method of interaction must be properly tested to ensure that end users can achieve their goals, regardless of the device or platform. Consider also, accessibility support and regional differences in user interface conventions.
Is there a consistent User Interface?
Creating a brand or identity requires a consistent aesthetic. Even when your app is running on different devices or platforms, it should be recognizable as the same software. Ideally, your end users will be able to drop activity on one device and pick it up on another whenever they want. A seamless look, even across different display sizes and resolutions, is tough to achieve. Responsive design takes careful planning and it needs to be tested extensively.
Have you considered data and storage limitations?
Your app may have very different storage budgets on different devices. Using a lot of graphics may not be an issue on the desktop version, but on mobile devices there could be a serious negative impact on performance. Testers need to organize, input, and access data just as a heavy app user might to ensure that the software performs as it should.
Is your app secure and compliant?
If the software does handle data, then it’s essential to think about how that data will be transmitted and stored. Testers need to make sure that it’s always secure. Watch out for modes, exploits, or vulnerabilities that might circumvent your secure data gathering and processing. There are many regulations related to personal data that must be observed, as non-compliance is likely to prompt punitive fines.
Are you delivering on user expectations?
The app marketplace is incredibly competitive and the average end user is not forgiving about defects or disappointments. In fact, 23% of people abandon an app after one use, according to Localytics research. You must make sure that your features and functionality meet the needs of your users and extend across all platforms. The best way to do that is by testing your app on both simulators and real devices. Mobile device cloud platforms like Kobiton allow you to test your app on a variety of real devices for free.
It’s also important to consider the competition and the category your app falls into. Certain features are likely to be conspicuous by their absence, for example, a bank app without a fingerprint authentication option may worry some smartphone owners.
There are risks and pitfalls aplenty in the world of cross-platform testing. The more you prepare and plan, the better your apps’ chance of not falling prey to them.
Mush Honda is Vice President of Testing for KMS.