8-Step Mobile App Performance Testing Checklist
By Shreya Bose, Community Contributor - September 20, 2022
No matter the purpose, target audience and nature of a mobile app, it must perform well enough to provide flawless user experiences.
The key word is perform. All the new-age aesthetics, images, video, dynamic fonts, variable fonts and the like are powerless to help an app if it does not provide robust functionality. It must perform, and perform well in a variety of platforms, technical environments, and slow network conditions.
And how do you ensure acceptable levels of mobile app performance? By following the checklist, this article will lay out below.
Mobile App Performance Testing Checklist
1. Cross Platform Compatibility
If you expect your app to be used internationally or even nationally, it must be optimized for perfect compatibility with different mobile platforms and operating systems. Just because the app works perfectly on Android 5.0 Lollipop does not mean it will work just as well on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich – not by default, at least.
- You must put your app through comprehensive tests while it runs on multiple versions of mobile operating systems – Android, iOS, Windows, etc.
- If you’re trying to find an easy way to test on multiple OSes (including different versions) without having to download, install and configure them, you might try the BrowserStack cloud.
2. Cross Device Compatibility
As with mobile OSes, your device must render and perform perfectly on thousands of mobile devices with varying screen sizes, resolutions, settings and configurations for hardware and software. Again, your app’s behavior must be verified through mobile app testing on real mobile devices – phones and tablets.
Don’t forget to verify the app’s responsive design as you upload and operate it on multiple devices. The big advantage of BrowserStack App Live is that you can upload your app once and then simply switch between different devices without re-installing the app under test.
3. Average Load Speed
Much like websites, mobile apps too must load within seconds to retain user interest. According to freecodecamp, the ideal loading time for a mobile app is about two seconds.
Naturally, an app only performs well if it is loading within a couple of seconds or whatever device or OS is used to access it. As with the above two points, the best way to gauge current load speed is to check how your app loads on different real devices.
- Don’t forget that your app will probably work under varied network conditions.
- Your test infrastructure should allow you to perform network throttling to monitor app performance at lower network strengths like 2G or Edge.
Read More: Performance Testing: A Detailed Guide
4. Load Bearing Capability
Mobile apps should be able to function even when they are bombarded by an unusually high number of user requests.
For example, let’s say that an airline booking app has to deal with millions of people trying to change or cancel their flights due to a natural disaster that occurred recently. With thousands or perhaps millions of users trying to operate the app simultaneously, does it still work as expected? Or does it crash?
- Load Testing answers these questions after which developers identify optimization opportunities to deal with expected load, and perhaps even a little higher just to be safe.
- With every iteration, load tests identify and remove performance bottlenecks under specific user volumes, leading to greater stability and functionality under stress.
5. Stress Testing
Stress tests usually go in tandem with load tests. In this case, the app will be inundated with simulated user requests until it breaks. The point of such a test is to identify the app’s breakpoint so that it can be optimized to accommodate more requests.
For example, let’s say that the aforementioned airline app needs an upgrade after a natural disaster incident. The dev team wants to check exactly at what number of user requests it finally stopped functioning, how app function slowed down, and at what number the app performed so badly that users started to bounce.
This is accomplished through Stress Testing.
Read More: What is Monkey Testing
6. Spike Testing
These tests are similar to stress and load testing, but the scenario is different. Spike tests check if the app can handle a sudden increase in user requests for a particular duration.
For example, if you’re releasing an e-commerce app, you can safely predict that there will be a sharp rise in online shoppers during Black Friday. Spike tests help you monitor how the app would deal with that rise.
You may ask “Why run spike tests when I’ve already run load and stress tests?”
- That’s because optimizing an app for consistently handling high loads is more expensive and effort-intensive than doing it for a short while.
- If your app won’t get consistently high visitor traffic, buying a couple of dedicated servers for a week rather than for years makes sense.
7. Interruption Handling
In the real user conditions, mobile apps have to deal with numerous interruptions – incoming calls, messages & notifications from other apps, to name a few. To verify how an app works when dealing with such interruptions, you must test them in those specific conditions.
Remember that each interruption scenario while testing native apps must be checked across devices, OSes, and network conditions. Ideally the app should work well even when a call comes in when network conditions are less than perfect.
8. Reliability Testing
Reliability tests check if an app fulfills its intended purpose in different environments. It encompasses most of the other pointers, but it also requires a few more tests. Common reliability tests include:
- Security Testing
- Functional Testing
- Regression Testing
- Testing integration with third-party sites and apps
- Regulatory Testing
Essentially, reliability tests check how dependable the app is in varied real user conditions. Are its security mechanisms fool-proof when deployed in a location where they’re likely to deal with more hacking attempts? When used in a country with tighter data privacy regulations, does the app actually protect user data as required by local legislation? Your answers lie with reliability testing.
Read More: How to test Banking Apps?
Thanks to vehement competition among brands to attract and retain app users, development teams can’t afford to allow major bugs to disrupt UX. Performance bugs are among the most visible and troublesome, so removing as many of them as possible has to be among the key priorities for any test cycle.
The tests described in the checklist above must create the foundation of your performance tests. Other tests may be required based on circumstance, user scenarios and use cases. But the list here comprises a bare minimum of testing that QA teams must necessarily execute for faster release cycles.