Mobile Application Performance Testing

August 23, 2021
Prathitha Iyengar

Mobile applications are software programs that are designed specifically for your smartphone or tablet. It can be independent or web-based. As regards mobile apps, performance testing is a key element.

This blog post will discuss mobile app performance testing, the performance metrics that need to be considered, and the key challenges experienced during performance testing.

In today’s tech world, the number of mobile application users has increased rapidly due to the widespread popularity of smartphones. More than 5 billion people now operate mobile devices; among them, over half use smartphones. This is also why end-users expect a good response from the applications they are using.

Performance testing has now become critical for mobile applications. Suppose an application goes live without being tested for performance. In that case, the end-user may face issues such as slow responses, low speed, less stability, scalability and reliability, and resource usage under a workload. Performance testing helps mitigate such issues in production by testing the application throughout.

Performance testers need to run parallel tests of the system response on a range of devices, check an app’s performance at peak traffic loads, and ensure it is stable even with a poor internet connection.

Performance Testing Strategy

Here is a comprehensive explanation of the testing process related to mobile app testing:

  • 1. Align the Test Objectives with Business Requirements
  • Ensuring that the test objectives correspond to the business scope of building an app is important to know the product architecture. The priority is to evaluate crucial app functions for generating leads, such as an e-commerce shopping cart and contact and registration forms.
  • 2. Consider the Key Performance Identifiers and Matrices
  • You can determine the success or failure of test execution by setting testing benchmarks. Here are the KPIs to consider for application testing:
  • Average and maximum response time
  • Error rate
  • The highest volume of requests
  • Average output and users who are active at the same time per device as well as the operating system
  • Time-to-interactivity: The time an app takes to become usable after launch
  • Blank screen time during a user session
  • Loading animations time during a user session
  • Video quality
  • Time taken to fully load applications
  • 3. Create a Testing Environment
  • Before setting up the testing environment, you need to understand a mobile application, operating systems or devices, and the geographic location where they will be tested. Thus, first, you need to create an environment with emulators and real devices. An emulator is a piece of software installed on the desktop that acts as a mobile device. Emulators are best for load-testing any mobile application and getting a prior sense of the look and feel of the interface.
  • After analyzing everything, select the load-testing tool to conduct performance tests. Quality assurance (QA) specialists use system emulators to understand the app-user experience.
  • 4. Streamline the Testing Method with the Organization’s Development Framework
  • The testing method you opt for must fit into an organization’s development structure. In the agile method, a tester implements continuous integration, and for the waterfall method, the tester should report bugs regularly and perform regression tests. Aligning the testing methodology improves communication and speeds up decision-making.
  • 5. Fragmentation Testing
  • A development team must ensure that their app supports varied operating system versions. Outline the types of devices to support and run tests for those systems.
  • 6. UX Testing
  • Prior UX testing is necessary for an app to be acceptable by an app store. A tester needs to look for an intuitive interface, clear navigation, app layout, and error handling.
  • 7. Checking the App’s Performance under Different Conditions
  • Performance quality varies for high- and low-end devices. Applications must be able to perform consistently on different lower-capacity devices. They should also be able to handle high server loads and be immune to bandwidth and latency changes. A tester also needs to check the application’s response stability when the incoming traffic volume increases during load testing.

Challenges Faced during Performance Testing of Mobile Apps

Performance testing for mobile apps is challenging due to the variety of devices available, user mobility, and differences between device-based features. Here, we have listed the most common challenges testers face while performance testing mobile apps:

  1. Exorbitant Pricing: Many apps use mobile features, viz. camera, GPS, and microphone, making it difficult to test using an emulator. The market for mobiles is fragmented in capacity, screen dimensions, and in-built mobile features. Testing an app across multiple devices demands that a developer deploy more hardware, thus increasing the test budget.
  2. Network and Location: For efficient testing, a QA takes network quality and user location into account. It is helpful to simulate networks like edge, 2G, 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. With more mobile app use cases, performance testing becomes costly and time-consuming too.
  3. Touch-screen Testing: Testing on physical hardware is difficult to automate as translating the entire range of touch-screen movements on a PC emulator is challenging.
  4. Organization: Testing a mobile application on different mobile devices needs the organization of all devices, such as Android, iOS, and Windows, based on their operating systems, resource consumption, available memory for test runs, and battery life.
  5. Customer Protocols: A tester has to consider customer protocols.

Other Challenges:

  1. Rapid scalability
  2. Lack of diagnostic tools
  3. Lack of mobile monitoring solutions
  4. Time to market
  5. Load-testing tool selection
  6. Testing environment
  7. High concurrency

Making Your Mobile App’s Performance Testing Easy with HeadSpin

At HeadSpin, we offer testing services of mobile applications on thousands of devices connected to carrier networks across the world. The extensive list of devices that we perform the tests on is listed here. We offer testing on several concurrent Android and iOS devices without any slowdown so that you can run the tests at your convenience.

Our QA team of certified professionals aims to optimize your digital experience by identifying and resolving performance issues across mobile applications.

Our team makes every effort to reduce testing costs and the time taken to market an app.

Learn more about mobile app performance testing here.