Challenges to Performance Testing of Mobile Applications

A crucial component of the mobile app testing process is performance testing. You will be able to monitor and anticipate performance changes for peaks in connection quality (3G, 4G, 5G, LTE), the changing location of a user, higher traffic loads, and other circumstances.
When it comes to mobile apps, you should test the product across a variety of platforms to determine whether the change in screen size has an impact on performance. A mobile application is a category of software that is, by definition, created to run on a mobile device, such as a tablet or a smartphone. They may be independent or web-based. Due to their one-screen limitations, minimal software capacity, and poor comprehension, mobile apps rarely support multitasking. While transferring a PC app into a mobile-based project can be an option, developers typically create mobile software from scratch to fully utilize device-specific functionality.

What is Mobile Application Testing?

Mobile app testing is done to evaluate how well the application performs in one or more simulated environments to forecast what users will experience after the product is made available to the general public. Performance evaluation for testers typically entails running concurrent tests of the system response on a variety of devices, monitoring the app’s performance during periods of high traffic loads, and making sure the app is stable during periods of unstable internet connectivity and supports device-specific transactions. The following phases make up the mobile app testing process as a whole: 1. Testing for connectivity –  Since the majority of mobile apps need internet access, a developer must make sure the tool works even if there isn’t any. This entails creating scenarios for users who are offline or in flight mode, testing connections with varying bandwidth, and so forth. 2. Recognizing features unique to devices – In contrast to PCs, mobile devices’ screens can range in size from 5-inch smartphones to 13-inch tablets. Other technical specifications to consider are the camera, GPS, touchscreen functionality, and the variety of supported gestures, among others. A tester should have a deeper awareness of these traits as well as how they affect the app-using experience. 3. Location stimulation – This step is essential for apps that rely on GPS. A tester must make sure that when a user changes locations, the performance of the product does not significantly change. Location simulators can be used to accomplish this. 4. UX Testing – The ability to navigate, an intuitive user interface, the appearance and feel of the app layout, error messages, and their management are essential elements of the user experience. To ensure that the software is accepted by the app store, UX testing is necessary. 5. End-to-end integration testing – System integration testing is designed to verify that the solution performs as expected in comparison to the key components of Mobile Device Management (MDM, for short) systems. 6. Security TestingMost mobile applications process user data and store it on servers. To guarantee that a user’s privacy is not compromised if a phone is lost or stolen, testers must set up a secure authorization system, design a system for keeping track of all the activities that take place within the app, and maintain data confidentiality.

Performance indicators for testing mobile applications

The tester must establish benchmarks, also known as key performance indicators, to evaluate an application’s performance during the testing process (KPIs). While many different factors are taken into account while testing mobile applications, in general, the performance of the application is gauged using the primary metrics listed below: Latency/Response Time – Latency, often known as reaction time, is the amount of time between when a user submits a request and when the application responds. The response time is the amount of time it takes from when a user first verifies their payment to when their request is submitted, and processed, and a complete confirmation is given to their device, for instance, if they are making an in-app purchase and completing it. Above a certain number of concurrent users, response time increases; depending on how severe this is, you may or may not want to address this problem. Due to the unpleasant user experience caused by a slow response time, which causes customers to switch to competitors, response time is one of the most important metrics to test. Ensure that your app responds in no more than two to three seconds.  Load Speed – The client user interface’s initialization and loading times, measured in seconds, are known as load speed and should be monitored under the situations listed below:
  • Expected Usage – Performance testing must replicate the real-time circumstances that the application is subjected to. The application’s load speed should be checked as a starting point at the predicted number of users or requests.
  • Max number of concurrent users – The maximum number of concurrent users or requests that can be made at once and the resulting load speed of the program. Keep in mind that concurrent users aren’t all accessing the same data; instead, they’re each using a different part of the application.
  • Critical conditions – The load speed must also be monitored when the application is anticipated to receive a peak number of simultaneous requests. Similar to stress testing an application where its boundaries are reached, testing for critical situations involves pushing the application to its breaking point.
Screen Rendering – The time it takes for the program to load the material to the interface and be usable is referred to as screen rendering time, also known as page-ready time. This frontend measurement spans the period from when a user’s browser initially starts downloading content from a server until all elements on the web page are not only visible but also interactive. Throughput – The amount of transactions or requests that an application can easily process without queuing up requests is referred to as throughput. Known as “transactions per second” or TPS, this fixed amount can be confirmed by performance testing. The end-user might have to wait for the application to reply if the volume of requests is greater than the TPS that is established for the application. Error Rate – The error rate can be calculated as the proportion of communicated requests that resulted in errors, or it can simply be the calculated number of errors per second. An important indicator for assessing performance is the mistake rate. Tracking an application’s error rates can reveal areas for improvement that affect overall performance and, in turn, user happiness. Error handling procedures can be utilized to reduce the impact of some failures.  After all, customers are likely to uninstall an app if it performs poorly or slowly.  App Crashes – The frequency with which an application crashes after being loaded is another crucial KPI. Applications are anticipated to crash under some circumstances. However, the frequency of crashes might negatively impact user experience and result in app uninstalling. The average user anticipates an accident rate of 1-2 percent. To forecast user experience and further enhance applications, performance testing should keep an eye on the frequency of app crashes.  Device Performance – When assessing device performance, it’s crucial to consider the battery life, CPU, and memory utilization of the device as a whole. Because there is such a wide range of device capabilities, this part of client-side performance testing can be difficult. Having said that, high CPU consumption and battery drain, for instance, can be signs of a program that uses the screen excessively. In the end, excessive CPU utilization that slows the device or excessive battery use may have a negative effect on the user’s experience and cause the program to be uninstalled.

Challenges in Conducting Mobile App Testing

The entire end-user experience must be taken into account while testing mobile applications. Therefore, testing needs to carefully reflect any circumstances that the user might encounter. Testing must take into account how an application performs on various mobile devices, with various network connectivity, and with various application types. The complexity of testing the performance of mobile apps is increased by these factors. Range of Mobile Devices – Mobile devices are available in a wide range of screen resolutions, software versions, operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.), and hardware specs (RAM, CPU, processors). The performance of the program must be evaluated across a range of mobile platforms to ensure, for instance, that it functions consistently for users of Android and iPhone devices. Screen sizes and resolutions range among different devices. Performance testing must be done to ensure that an app can be successfully loaded on a mobile device and that it can adjust to different screen sizes. Within iOS operating system, where iPhones come in various sizes with each iteration, is a clear illustration. The application must run smoothly on all screen sizes without compromising its usability, graphics quality, or other visual performance elements. Screen sizes and resolutions range among different devices. Performance testing must be done to ensure that an app can be successfully loaded on a mobile device and that it can adjust to different screen sizes. Within the iOS operating system, where iPhones come in various sizes with each iteration, is a clear illustration. The application must run smoothly on all screen sizes without compromising its usability, graphics quality, or other visual performance elements. Performance testing on actual hardware, however, could take a while and be expensive. To reduce the number of mobile devices evaluated, the tester may instead indicate the minimal hardware requirements for the application to execute. Testing Different Application Types – Testing the performance across different application platforms is another factor that is unique to mobile devices. Mobile web applications and native apps must undergo separate testing. In contrast to mobile browser-based applications, native applications operate on a platform that is installed directly on the device and has different behavior. When testing the performance of a browser-server application, which depends on a server and network connection, different mobile browser types must also be taken into account. Browser-based applications rely on connectivity while native programs save data locally on the device. On the other hand, if the device is running numerous programs simultaneously, the type of application will behave differently. It will be necessary to test various client-server response times, device consumption, and overall performance. Addressing Different Networks and Connectivities- A handheld device’s portability makes it easy to obtain information quickly, however, network circumstances can differ depending on the service provider, speed (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, LTE), bandwidth, and reliability. To ascertain the load and response time under various network scenarios, the mobile application must be tested. Additionally, mobile devices may operate some programs with sporadic connections or even offline, particularly when traveling. Here, the reliability of network connections will have an impact on client-server communication, which will have an impact on data transmission and application performance as a whole. Applications must be tested across a range of network scenarios to ensure that the latency they encounter is acceptable.

Mobile Testing with NetStorm

RDT (Real Device Testing ) is a mobile app and web testing service within NetStorm that enables developers to run their tests on real, physical Android, and iOS devices that are hosted on secure premises. NetStorm / RDT can automate performance, stress, and stability testing of Android & iOS apps and associated services. With RDT, you can easily test native and mobile web applications and capture integral device and application level metrics to identify erroneous or slow components and fix them before going live. Testing the performance of mobile applications helps maintain a uniform and positive user experience across all platforms, devices, and networks used to access the application. Performance testing is more important than ever to guarantee the success of an application because mobile apps for important industries, commerce applications, and service providers are becoming more and more popular.  Contact us today to start your Mobile Testing journey with Cavisson Systems. (Watch out for our next blog that delves into the extensive capabilities of carrying out mobile app testing through NetStorm)

About the author: Parul Prajapati