Tired of the lag? Speed up manual testing with a mobile device cloud.

Today’s manual testers have their hands full literally and figuratively. Daily, manual testers are on the front lines of QA teams bringing the delicate art of “people-testing” to mobile app and mobile website testing. But, in an industry that is constantly demanding faster, better and more dynamic mobile experiences, what exactly is the role of manual testing in modern enterprise mobility?

As all testers know there are simply some tests that are best left to manual testers. A good example of the type of work best left to manual testing often occurs during the development phase, when developers are coding new functionality into an app. Manual testing should also be utilized when testing any mobile app or device hardware features such as a barcode scanner that uses the device’s camera.

Although automated testing is often faster, especially for regression testing, manual testing is unique because it puts human judgment and creativity at the fore. Because human judgment and creativity cannot be automated, at least not yet, it is up to manual testers to answer important questions about a mobile app in the testing phase such as:

  • Does everything look right?
  • Are there new or non-obvious paths?
  • How might a user misunderstand what’s being presented?
  • Is there something a test script might know to do that some users will not find easy or intuitive?
  • What happens when the user makes a mistake or does the unexpected?
  • How does the app make a user feel?
  • Is the app design appealing?

In most modern mobile testing labs, manual testing is a crucial part of the testing process. But things really get interesting when you consider the implications of cloud-based mobile testing.

Utilizing a mobile device cloud solution enables testers to test a large variety of devices and OS versions quickly. But sometimes this cloud access comes with Internet lags that slow down the work or even cause some events to be missed. With smooth action, however, cloud-based manual testing can equal the speed and accuracy of having dozens of devices in-hand.

Just think of what you could accomplish with this power. The ability to supercharge manual testing lies in implementing real-time manual testing leveraging a high-performance mobile device cloud. A mobile device cloud will enable manual testers to thrive in three distinct areas: Device access, interactivity and productivity.

#1: Access & Share Devices 24/7, No Matter Where You Are

Take a moment and think about where your devices are. Where do you store the devices you use for manual testing? Do you share them with others? How often do they get lost? What shape are they in when they are returned to you? Clearly, managing mobile devices is a time-consuming process. And due to the ever-increasing number of smartphones and tablets, purchasing multiple devices for testing is expensive.

For mobile developers and testers that are located in different offices worldwide or on different floors of the same building, sharing devices in real time is virtually impossible. Without an organized and instantaneous means to share devices, valuable time that could be used for testing is wasted.

While the goal for modern mobile testing is to be exceedingly faster and more agile, waiting on devices to become available or to be located is a huge time constraint and leads to major delays.

Yes, multiple devices can be purchased, and devices can be shipped, but these solutions also cost a lot of money. Even if a device is located in a locked office down the hall, physical device sharing leads to huge strains on time, cost and productivity that enterprise mobility teams cannot afford to waste.

While many testing teams have attempted solutions like using personal devices, the only reasonable way to have sufficient coverage of form factors, models, and OS versions is to have a large pool of devices that everyone can share.

A mobile device cloud stores a shared device pool in one central location where the devices are always charged, accounted for, and are available to be reserved and scheduled by testers. With a mobile device cloud all devices are ready 24/7 for instant access anywhere in the enterprise.

#2: Device “In-Hand” vs. Interactivity

Take a moment and imagine what manual testing would look like without physical devices in testers’ hands?

A mobile device cloud with a shared pool of devices enables testers to login to a portal from a computer. Upon login, testers can see available devices and choose one for testing. The device’s display contents are shown in real time on the engineer’s monitor. A mobile device cloud offers the added benefits of allowing testers to reserve devices ahead of time, allowing devices to be used more efficiently.

While manual testing without a mobile device cloud requires testers to hold a device, accessing a device via a mobile device cloud makes the device appear on screen as if the physical device were in hand. All user interactions with the device are initiated with the workstation’s keyboard and mouse.

Have you ever felt like you’re “all thumbs” when manual testing? If typing on small keyboards on a physical device is a challenge, a mobile device cloud allows testers to use the workstation’s keyboard to type, copy, and paste information while testing.

By helping to streamline the process of device sharing and by making it easier to test on devices from one central location, manual testing is simply faster and more efficient.

#3: Get More Done with Productivity Gains

What is real-time manual testing? Testing in real-time occurs by ditching the lag and the factors that waste time and slow down testing. By taking devices out of testers’ hands, manual testers can test in real-time thanks to not having to wait for physical devices to become available. A smooth, high-performing device cloud replicates the results of in-hand physical devices and improves productivity in the following areas:

  • Testers can view multiple devices side-by-side for comparison and they can save multi-touch gestures
  • Reporting bugs is faster because a mobile device cloud enables manual testers to copy and paste text and add screenshots to a defect report with a physical keyboard
  • For apps that rely on geographical location, such as navigation, manual testers can rapidly test through location simulation by changing the GPS location of a device

In addition, when new apps are developed or when an updated app release is ready for testing, a mobile device cloud makes installing apps across devices faster. Apps can be installed in real time if the cloud is integrated with the build system so all new builds are installed automatically.

So where does the future of manual testing appear to be headed? The most effective enterprise mobility teams will embrace strategies that erase the challenges of manual testing, eliminate the lag, and transform manual testing into real-time testing, to stay competitive and to continue to deliver high-quality apps.

Ready to embrace both manual and automated testing? Check out Mobile Labs’ manual and automated testing strategy tips from our enterprise mobility blog.

Steve Orlando

Steve Orlando is a seasoned development and quality assurance professional with experience testing and developing mobile, Web, mainframe, CRM and desktop applications. In his role as director of product marketing for Mobile Labs, Steve drives the design and implementation of the company’s private mobile device clouds, GigaFox™ and deviceConnect™.

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