Written by Roman Zednik, Global Field CTO, Tricentis
Fifty percent of mobile users won’t consider using apps with a 3-star rating, while sixty-two percent say they will uninstall an app if it freezes, crashes, or has other errors. Customers across the board want more from their mobile applications, meaning apps must be functional, efficient and have limited performance issues to be successful. In the age of digital banking and finance, this is even more critical, as app glitches and clunky interfaces can cause all kinds of problems for the 50% of Brits using mobile banking apps regularly.
On-the-go banking is a growing demand, and customer experience is key – especially as more traditional retail banks and building societies seek to catch up with their neobank rivals. It is therefore incumbent on financial institutions to ensure that digital interfaces with their brand, such as mobile apps, are on point and meeting expectations.
Adequate testing to ensure a smooth, seamless experience can mean the difference between retaining or losing a customer for organisations in banking and finance. That means that mobile testing must be placed front and centre, achieving the same importance as web apps rather than being treated as an afterthought or a separate initiative, as has often been the case until now. Mobile needs to be incorporated into every business process, seamlessly ensuring quality across web, mobile and desktop applications.
Mobile app testing challenges
Although testing a mobile application has similar goals as web app testing – ensuring the application software for quality, functionality, and usability – mobile UI testing poses additional challenges. Unlike web browsers, phones and tablets can vary significantly in size, performance, operating system version, and more. To test mobile apps adequately, Agile development teams must verify that the features perform as expected across the most popular configurations.
Mobile devices are also expensive. To safeguard them, many quality assurance (QA) teams have asset control systems requiring check-out/in. Testing from remote locations can require shipping the physical device to testers, which incurs costs and delays. For efficient testing, quality-focused teams need ready access to physical and virtual devices. But authoring a mobile test on a physical device has historically required scripted or coded tests and specialised skills. QA teams need easier ways of composing and maintaining tests that don’t depend on scarce coding resources.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how mobile testing teams can overcome these challenges for mobile banking success.
Overcoming device sprawl with mobile test automation
There are numerous types of mobile devices, all with their own operating systems, versions, updates, and other distinctive permutations. If mobile testing teams were to test them, they would be working flat out, 365 days a year. But by not testing one segment of device or operating system, testing teams risk the mobile experience being less than perfect for certain end users. Quite a quandary!
What is required is an uncomplicated and painless approach for device management that works across multiple devices, operating systems and versions. Using a mobile test automation platform cuts down on the manual testing many teams rely on to test multiple mobile devices.
Reducing bottlenecks in the cloud
Management of in-house devices used for testing can be costly – up to $400k per year for a self-built lab – not to mention unreliable. Actual devices can therefore represent a rarity for testing teams, and can pose problems relating to proper performance and required operating system. This limited availability of real devices hinders teams’ ability to conduct consistent and continuous test automation. Without powerful and flexible app testing options, testing is slowed down and results in bottlenecks.
Testers can speed things up by using real devices, emulators, and simulators to achieve the best coverage across mobile devices. By testing thec with emulators and simulators, developers can deploy their apps in the early stages of development and examine the look and feel of the tested mobile app. Better still, by leveraging a cloud-enabled solution to expand access to testing on actual devices in the cloud, organisations can manage, create, execute, and analyse applications on the broadest possible range of physical mobile devices, at all stages of the development lifecycle. This eliminates the need to manage in-house devices, and enables the detection of critical mobile failures and performance issues to quickly fix defects and accelerate high-quality releases across CI/CD pipelines.
Going codeless to navigate fast changing development frameworks
There are copious changes that need to be made across multiple frameworks when conducting mobile testing. However, those frameworks change quickly and it’s hard to ensure this doesn’t negatively impact your existing app, while script changes and the maintenance of standards across current and emerging frameworks is time-consuming and inefficient – not to mention requiring specific skill sets.
Codeless testing solutions can abstract framework-specific changes in a way that reduces the need to modify tests between updates. That also enables the creation of mobile tests in the same way as UI and API tests are made — just drag and drop. No complex setup or scripting required to overcome the issue of skill shortages. Teams can gain the power of Appium without having to deal with Appium’s technical complexity.
Aligning localisation and internationalisation with global market needs
We live on a complex planet composed of 195 countries, about 6,500 languages, and an estimated 3,800 cultures. What works for an application in one area of the world will most likely not work in another. While this might not be an issue that affects smaller country-specific banks, it is certainly something that multi-national corporations need to factor in.
Many teams focus localisation and internationalisation testing towards the end of the testing process but it should be at the forefront – aligning with an organisation’s goals and strategies for the app. Who is the user? Where are they predominantly located? What language do they use? Time zone and time and date formats, keyboard layouts, address and telephone formats and – crucially in banking – currencies must all be taken into account.
Focusing on the importance of usability testing
Mobile users will only continue to use an app if it proves to be functional, efficient, with no performance issues. According to Google, only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs; this has obvious negative implications for loyalty and retention.
Mobile usability testing is therefore key. Teams need to be testing how real customers interact with the mobile app to remove issues before it hits the market, and ensure they can adapt to fulfill users’ needs, from text sizes and ergonomics to fast loading times and power usage. Approaching testing from the user side will offer helpful insights into an app’s ability to ensure a successful customer experience.
Delivering seamless digital banking experiences
By testing mobile early and thoroughly and as part of a holistic QA process, banks can innovate on high-quality mobile apps, faster, to ensure quality across all digital touchpoints on web, mobile and desktop applications. This will lead to higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, decrease churn, and foster a competitive and innovative image amidst a competitive, demanding and challenging business environment for banks.