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Top 10 Best QA Practices to Evaluate the Mobile App Performance

QA Practices to Evaluate the Mobile App Performance

Customers are increasingly turning to tablets and smartphones for various purposes, including healthcare, business, social networking and entertainment. It has become business-critical for organizations to leverage mobile app performance testing before releasing mobile apps.


Suppose you aim to develop a faster web application or address user complaints about your mobile application being slow. In that case, robust mobile app testing can enable you to assess whether a system is capable of meeting certain acceptable standards for responsiveness and durability under reasonable load or not. However, executing flawless mobile testing requires precise planning and well-defined objectives.

What Is Performance Testing for Mobile Applications?

Mobile app testing evaluates an app’s performance in simulated (or multiple) environments to forecast a user’s experience after a software’s public release. For testers, performance assessment typically entails conducting parallel tests of the system’s response on various devices monitoring the app’s performance during peak traffic periods.

Assuring that the app performs well even when the internet is slow and supports device-specific transactions is common for performance testers. Mobile app performance testing provides information on an application’s speed, reliability, scalability, and dependability. 

When the application is subjected to performance testing, it is critical to ensure that it operates in compliance with the SLA (Service Level Agreement). In addition, the test should confirm that the app works in poor connectivity situations. 

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Mobile Application Performance Testing: Why Is It Required? 

Performance testing is a subset of ‘black box testing,’ in which testers build test scenarios to evaluate the software’s functional and non-functional features. Performance testing falls under the non-functional category of testing.

Mobile performance application testing measures the application’s overall performance, which is critical to your business. A performance test enables you to determine how an application performs in adverse conditions such as poor network strength, resource sharing with other applications, etc. 

mobile app performance testing is critical to avoiding such bottlenecks and promoting growth in your organization.

The Best Practices for Performance Testing: 

A project manager must formulate a plan to carry out performance testing effectively. A typical step-by-step performance test plan would include the following steps. 

  1. Plan for the test in advance. 
  2. Identifying the Test Environment 
  3. Define System Usage Display Formats 
  4. Choosing the tests to conduct first 
  5. Decide which information to use 
  6. Establish Baselines for Essential System Functions 
  7. Specify the assets to be tested. 
  8. Conduct performance tests after functional tests 
  9. Testing of mobile application execution occurs during the framework testing stage. 
  10. Tool identification should be very careful.

1. Plan for the Test in Advance 

Performance testing is only as effective as its objectives. When establishing goals for each scenario, be certain that they correspond to the business scopes for which the app is being developed. For example, the primary focus of a lead generation tester would be to evaluate the app’s cart functionality, registration form, and other lead-generating essentials. 

At this point, the testing team understands the product’s architecture on all levels: presentation, business, and data. 

2. Identifying the Testing Environment 

Having a good testing environment is essential to getting a clear picture of how people will interact with the app when it goes live. QA specialists commonly use system emulators to speed up testing. 

These tools effectively simulate the important features of an OS and allow testers to acquire a sense of the interface’s look and feel. However, it is preferable to use genuine hardware to evaluate the performance of functionalities that involve camera permissions, GPS, and some other device-specific functionality. 

3. Define System Usage Display Formats 

Defining performance testing KPIs in your test plan is the initial step. They can be based on the results of the application due diligence. For example, it may contain metrics related to CPU performance, speed of response, and volume. 

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Developing realistic performance objectives is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. Setting performance goals for multiple devices, platforms, and environments, requires a detailed approach. Once again, your application’s analysis will recommend which platforms, devices, and settings to consider. 

4. Choosing the Tests to Conduct First 

Performance testers frequently concentrate exclusively on their test settings. It comprises server responses, the number of transactions per second (TPS), and the maximum number of system users supported. However, they only reveal a portion of the overall picture. 

Without users actively involved in the testing process, performance testing is impossible. This will necessitate a proactive strategy in which users are engaged in performance testing at the earliest available. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) can incorporate performance test scenarios. Users can then identify issues that the tools may have missed. 

Users can be involved in the performance testing procedure in many ways: 

  • Make a public beta version available while the software is still under development.
  • Conduct a private beta where you invite a limited number of carefully selected intended users. When the user base is small, the process becomes more manageable. 
  • Running a survey is a fantastic option when your firm already has a new app. Before releasing the latest versions of your application, you can request your users to give their feedback. 

5. Decide Which Information to Use 

Measuring the performance of your application requires an awareness of your system’s capability. This includes determining the steady-state for concurrent users, concurrent requests, average user transactions, and server use throughout the day’s peak periods. In addition, the maximum response times, system scalability and marks for user satisfaction and acceptable performance metrics should all be specified and a maximum size for all these metrics. 

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It is critical to creating associated thresholds that will notify you of prospective performance problems as they are exceeded. Multiple risk thresholds must be defined at increasing risk levels. While the associated level of the alert system can be used to specify a response in the event of a potentially rising performance problem, they can also be utilized to collaborate with DevOps to fine-tune the environment and enhance your production process monitoring. 

6. Establish Baselines for Essential System Functions 

You may set reasonable test targets for each environment if you have a baseline performance measurement for each system. They provide a critical starting location for response time targets where no previous metrics exist, eliminating the need to assume or base assumptions on other applications. During baseline performance testing and measures, like single-user login times, the response time for screens, and so on, the system should be completely unloaded. 

7. Specify the Assets to Be Tested 

Performance testing is a careful process that takes time since there are numerous parameter combinations to test for various platforms, systems, etc. 

The Waterfall methodology was the accepted standard, making life easy for project managers because initiatives were long-term and predictable. However, now that Agile has gained popularity, projects are becoming shorter and more accelerated. So, depending on the project, the user must choose between Waterfall and Agile. 

8. Conduct Performance Tests after Functional Tests 

With creating and optimizing various operating systems, much effort must be paid to ensure that the app functions and performs properly on multiple devices and specifications. Processing power, storage capacity, battery life, and screen sizes are all elements that must be examined and verified to ensure that the app performs optimally on various devices.

The more you practice and adapt your app to various model specifications, the more likely it will succeed with multiple user profiles. Cross-device testing is particularly critical in the Android world. Consider the following techniques to achieve superior performance and device coverage: 

  • Make use of string resources to accommodate several languages. 
  • Layouts of various sizes and resolutions should be created. 
  • Use caching, polling, and prefetching to schedule and perform downloads to reduce rapid battery depletion on weaker/older devices. 

9. Testing of Mobile Application Execution Occurs During the Framework Testing Stage 

Contemporary applications are built of numerous sophisticated systems, such as databases, web applications, online services, and legacy systems. By establishing testing standards, you can determine whether the execution was successful or unsuccessful.  

The following KPIs should be considered when performance testing mobile applications

  • Rate of erroneous data 
  • Maximum response time 
  • Average response time 
  • The highest number of requests 
  • Average throughput and maximum concurrent active members per device and operating system. 

10. Extreme Caution Should Be Taken in Tool Identification 

When striving to improve long-term application performance and user retention, tools for monitoring and profiling crashes are a vital consideration. Whether they use an integrated development environment (IDE) or third-party tools, developers and app owners require a mechanism for tracking and resolving memory management issues, deploying efficient code, and reporting and monitoring app crashes. 

Crash detection and monitoring application are frequently used in combination with mobile performance optimization and monitoring tools. 

There are two ways to test mobile app performance: 

  • The first is to evaluate the product’s server-side performance. This enables the development team to validate the app’s logic and readiness. 
  • The second is to evaluate the app’s performance on a smartphone. This enables a tester to observe the final product through a user’s eyes. 

Factors Impacting the Performance of Mobile Applications: 

A mobile app’s performance can be affected by many factors, including: 

  • Client-side device: Different devices run on various operating systems, each of which renders specific apps differently. Interference from the user, screen touch, and RAM usage are additional reasons why a certain app looks differently. As a result, various tools should be considered when conducting tests. 
  • Backend/API: Response speed becomes critical when an application connects to servers via APIs. Numerous factors can impact response time, including network difficulties and API calls performed by the application. 
  • Network performance: A network issue can potentially impact the app’s version. Some users may be using 2G/3G networks or experiencing poor network access. Even in such circumstances, the app should provide the best possible results.

Challenges in the Mobile Apps Performance Testing 

Testing mobile applications are much more difficult and time-consuming than testing PC software. Numerous devices, increased user mobility, and device-specific functionality – all these factors might act as a bottleneck for a tester. 

Here are the most typical performance testing issues for mobile apps: 

  • A wide range of device-specific features: While many apps use GPS, a camera, and a microphone, matching these functionalities using an online tool is difficult. Therefore, a tester must acquire hardware, which adds to the test budget. 
  • Numerous UI options: Each operating system has multiple ways of laying out pages and different system fonts. If you do not adhere to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store criteria, the app’s publishing process may be interrupted or delayed. 
  • A tester must acquire or install several devices or emulators: The smartphone market is highly fragmented; capacity, screen size, and built-in functions vary significantly. A developer must acquire as much hardware as feasible to test an application across the broadest possible range of devices. 
  • Contextual issues: A QA must consider both the network’s quality and the user’s location to test an app effectively. There are more use cases and patterns to consider when performing performance testing on mobile apps than when executing performance testing on PC software. Because of all this information, the procedure can be more time-consuming and costly. 
  • Touchscreen testing complications: When using a PC emulator, it cannot be easy to emulate the full range of movements available on a touchscreen. Even the physical hardware testing procedure is more complicated to automate. 
Wrapping Up

After the performance testing is complete, we must analyze the overview and test results. Once the fixes are made, the tests should be repeated, and the final report should be taken. With the number of perspectives and mobile application performance testing tools increasing regularly, testers must rely on this system to provide mobile application testing facilities. A mobile app performance testing can monitor many factors, including the average crash time, the app’s reaction time, and network issues to help launch a reliable, secure, user-friendly and scalable app.

The Author

Erna Clayton, a Qualitest employee, is a tech enthusiast and loves researching and writing on topics related to software development and software quality assurance. She explores new and upcoming in emerging tech. Also, she writes down interesting pieces on how they will impact every industry.

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