With the increased use of technology and mobile, the number of internet users has increased tremendously, about 4 billion active users have been recorded recently. The more the number of internet users, the more is the demand for websites and mobile apps. But to ensure every website or mobile app offers great experience and performance to the audience, rigorous testing needs to be performed. It should pass through quality standards and meet the user requirements. But it is not easy to test the website or application for each and every browser or platform because any website or app working perfectly on one browser may not work well on the other. Hence, cross-browser testing plays a crucial role in such cases. It allows us to test the compatibility of the website or app on different browser. Test for fragmentation is one such strategy to perform cross-browser testing. In this article, learn more about the cross-device test strategy for fragmented systems.
What is Fragmentation? Why is it a serious challenge?
Fragmentation refers to the differences between operating systems, devices, browsers, and network types across different devices. In the context of software development, fragmentation does not support the code development and does not run on every browser or platform. Cross-browser testing may become difficult for the developers as they experience the infinite load by cross-browsers and numerous bugs on cross-platforms, along with the difficulty to cope up with version upgrades and hardware integrations.
Fragmentation is challenging because currently, more than 24,000 Android devices are already in use. However, this number is small in the case of iOS devices. This number keeps on increasing, which makes platform fragmentation a serious issue. The diverse availability of platforms, devices, memory sizes, connectivity options, and screen resolutions may make it even more challenging. It becomes the responsibility of the testers to ensure the proper working of the application across multi-platforms, multi-devices, multiple operating systems, and app compatibility.
What can one do to address the issues of fragmentation?
With the increasing issues of fragmentation due to the availability of a wide range of devices, organizations are rethinking their existing strategy and adapting to cross-platform testing. The market is dynamic with numerous devices being launched frequently with more than 10 million hand-held devices reported in 2019. Hence, there is a continuous periodic update in the operating systems and browsers; and the impact of unexpected bugs on different platforms can impact the traffic on the website. Thus, while targeting multiple markets, chances of getting stumbled on these unexpected bugs might increase. It will then have an impact on the production environment. Therefore, you should have the strategy in mind that your website should work perfectly irrespective of the browser your end-users are using. Hence, the cross-device test strategy is always necessary.
Here are few things to keep in mind that makes testing for fragmentation a success and the best cross-device test strategy:
Define the Product Availability Matrix (PAM)
It is necessary to define the devices in terms of screen resolution, Android version, Bluetooth version, and other crucial parameters relevant to the application. For this, you can start with the minimal device range requirements called the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) for product availability matrix. Test the website or application thoroughly on the devices present in a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) list. Once the testing is complete, increase the range based on the feedback and let the app stabilize and mature.
Using responsive design
Mobile testing strategy using fragmentation testing starts well before the app reaches the testers for testing. There are many factors to consider that are involved in responsive design. Screen resolution is one such primary factor. Start with the screen resolution that best suits the target market and ensure the app works best on chosen resolution. After that, test by adjusting the resolution to make it work on different resolutions.
Automate with discretion
Automation testing has grown a lot and has become a necessary part of testing as it reduces manual effort and saves time. But automation testing might not be possible because it might prove expensive to maintain and implement. On one hand, automation testing has come a long way, but mobile automation testing is yet to grow to the same extent. Hence, you need to decide which user flow can get tested using automation and which device to use for testing.
The pace at which the new Android devices get introduced in the market is another reason to use the mobile testing strategy for fragmentation testing. The devices that fall under the product availability matrix might not be available for the QA teams. Once the app gets stabilized the range of supporting devices can be increased but increasing the number of devices to test might become a problem; here comes the role of Cloud testing services. Cloud testing services let users access the latest and older devices. It will cover all the devices defined under the product accessibility matrix. The use of automation scripts on the Cloud can make these services more cost-effective.
Identify the minimum devices to support the website or mobile application
One easy way to cut the testing load is by reducing the number of devices supporting the website to test. It may make you lose a few users, but it will surely save on the sales, development, costs, marketing, and help to focus on primary markets. In addition to this, understand the type of users. It is necessary to define the target market, characterize the majority of users, and determine the leading brands in the target market. Once the supporting devices list gets established and you start getting positive feedback on them, you can try finding more target layers from the perspective of resources.
As we know, the market is evolving very fast, and the number of browsers is constantly increasing. The use of multiple devices and different platforms gets difficult to test on mobiles, but test for fragmentation is a perfect cross-device test strategy that you can follow. Test for fragmentation has proved to be the best and most reliable strategy to test and achieve the most impactful browser compatibility. The future of software testing looks quite promising with the increasing focus on AI, ML, and predictive learning. The increasing emphasize on the testing will help organizations to create products/services of higher quality, thereby, ensuring a seamless customer experience.