30 Days Of Mobile Testing, day 1: Take a photo of your mobile test lab
I don’t own a place or work anywhere with access to a fancy and up-to-date mobile test lab. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t do a lot of testing! My current lab consists of the following:
Samsung 6 smart phone (My own phone)
Samsung 4s (My partner’s phone)
iPod (that I got in a contest several years ago)
Samsung Galaxy tablet
Obviously this leaves a large gap for the Apple segment. Or any other segment other than Samsung and Android, really. So what do you do when your mobile test lab is not enough?
Emulate the devices
It’s possible to make a mobile test lab out of your laptop. There are countless of websites that let’s you paste in a web-address, and then displays how that website looks like on a certain device. There are also developer tools in your preferred browser that let’s you view a website in “Device Mode”.
Be aware that emulation is not a direct substitute for testing on an actual device. It can take you a long way, but it’s not the same experience. Emulation cannot mimic the way a device is used. It cannot emulate how different shapes of rain-soaked fingers taps on the screen. Or how an app is activated when rummaging around in a pocket.
Invite your friends
If the mobile test lab won’t come to me, then I must go to the mobile test lab. People in your network own many different kinds of devices. Dependent on your target group, they can be a good sample group for the devices used in the real world. Sometimes it’s even possible to let them do most of the testing. The times I’ve asked friends for help with testing, I’ve given them a small introduction to the project and their role in it, asked them to think out loud, and then sat back taking notes and observing their interaction with the devices.
…but plan it beforehand
You can give a lot, a little or no information about the app they are testing. It depends on how biased you want your testers. Make sure to choose your words carefully when introducing the task for your testers. If you tell them that their task is to trash the app and find as many problems as possible, they will do that. And more. To such a degree that their opinions are heavily exaggerated in a negative direction. If you tell them that you and your team spent several months working on this app, they might hold back on the negative feedback because you are their friend – and they don’t want to hurt you, knowing how hard you worked the last couple of months.
When inviting people to help you out with your testing, your most important task is to make them feel like you appreciate their effort. After all, the do take several hours out of their calendar to help you out. I usually either invite people over for dinner, invite people out for dinner, or visit them in their home bringing a little something.
Look for used devices
If you must test how a certain website or app functions on a very specific device, go out there and get your hands on it. I recommend asking if anyone in your social network (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.. whatever) has one lying around. You’ll be surprised at what people keep in their drawers.
You can also look for used devices on sales pages (In Denmark dba.dk and degulesider.dk are good places to go hunting).
The 30 Days Of Mobile Testing is the creative effort of Ministry of Testing, and anyone can join in. See more at https://dojo.ministryoftesting.com/lessons/30-days-of-mobile-testing
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