We’ve spent the last year (253 posts for those keeping score) explaining to the world that mobile app testing is an entirely different animal than its web and desktop cousins. Whether the differences be in terms of OS, browser, screen size or GUI – you name it, we’ve covered it.
Yet this concept is….well, just a concept…until it’s experienced first-hand. Matt Heusser, one of the very best testing writers out there, recently wrote about his experience with mobile app testing for SearchSoftwareQuality, where he covers screen-size discrepancy, the device matrix, GUI and other areas we all know and love.
I was particularly drawn to the “ah-ha” moment in the second paragraph (emphasis added). Take a look:
So there I was, on my iPod Touch, trying to get to a list of users whose name started with the letter “I.” It worked great on the simulator with a mouse, but with the actual iPod, my finger was too fat to click the single line of pixels.
Suddenly it hit me: This is different. Sure, all of the old GUI rules apply, but suddenly we have a new set of ways the application can fail. This tip provides a quick set of guidelines to consider, primarily for Web-based mobile applications, but much of it applies to native applications as well.
Screen real estate
You might use a mobile device just like a regular 1024×768 pixel application, but your users probably won’t. Try to actually use the application on a number of devices — just use it. You’ll likely come away suggesting a mobile interface, perhaps an automatic re-direct on login when your application senses a mobile device. Even then, you’ll want to explore the application in a number of devices, looking for usability problems.