Cross-Platform Mobile App Testing 101 to Spread Your Apps Reach

Technology fans are constantly kept on their toes by a bucket-load of new inventions and innovations. Smart phones are coming out every month with newer features. New names as well as long time industry players are all in competition to roll out the fastest, thinnest or lightest device out there.

The story is the same when it comes to the software that runs these devices. Thanks to the rapid pace at which technology is growing things are easier now. The most important thing about this tech revolution is that it has made room for cross-platform apps. These are the kinds of apps that are accessible from all devices; they can run on android, windows or iOS platforms. For such apps to run on all devices without glitches they need cross platform testing.

About cross-platform testing

The apps that are coming out now can do virtually anything for you. As such they can only maximize on their purpose if you can have them on all your devices. Cross-platform testing is a specialized form of testing that checks for your app’s suitability to run across all of these platforms. Testing can be done in a lot of different ways which will vary with the developers needs. The two most common ways of doing it are;

  • Cross OS; this checks for the apps smooth running on different operating systems used by mobile devices.
  • Cross browser; here the app is tested to run on different browsers.

Both ways of testing can be carried out using whatever device is available to you, be it a PC, laptop or mobile gadget. The best way of testing would be to combine both methods so that you can test against multiple configurations. Having an app that functions just as well on a browser as it does on a mobile device is the cutting-edge you need to make it interactive.

Why you should to do it

Building your own app is a painstaking and immersive experience. It means a lot to the creator of the app when everyone is using their creation. Think about the person who calls shazam their brainchild, now everyone is using it to find music. If your app can be used across all platforms then it is paramount that you have it running as so.

It also has to do with client satisfaction. A lot of apps are installed in a rush of excitement used once and uninstalled just as fast. Apart from technical glitches the other thing that dampens the user’s moods is if the app is stuck on their iPod.

How do you go about it?

There is a lot to be done with cross platform testing. There is no way that you could possibly test the app for every single combination of platforms. However, don’t forget that the 80-20 rule is there. Count on it to work in your favor. For your app to keep its reputation as one that runs seamlessly across platforms here’s what to think about.

Know who the app is made for

This is the first step before you can get the app in the market. You need to know who it is designed for. Once you have your target audience worked out everything is pretty much done. It will guide you in the whole process of fine tuning the app.

Identify platforms you intend to support

Since your user base is already defined this part is made easier. The most favorable platforms are those that your users rely on heavily. When choosing the platform you know that it’s an informed decision since there is a user base to consider.

You cannot test for everything

Testing for multiple combinations is a strenuous, time consuming and expensive affair. The prospects may seem endless when you think of all you can do. Your ambition will, however, be cut short by limited resources. This too will influence the platforms you decide to test for. A heat map and a multi-dimensional matrix will help a lot with this. By doing this you will strike a balance between maximum users and minimum loss.

Try out some automation

Testing is not the most exciting thing to keep you rooted in one spot for the whole day. There are automations to help out with repetitive process. Minimizing the amount of manual work keeps your morale high and you are likely to notice the fishy stuff better.

Technology is a dynamic force. The future is promising and one of the things that are bound to change is the way web browsers render code. A standardized method of rendering web code will make it all even simpler. In the mean time we have to make do with cross-platform testing.