Strategies for Effective Cross-Device Testing

Strategies for Effective Cross-Device Testing

Cross-device testing systematically evaluates the usability, functionality, and visual consistency of software applications or websites on various devices. The objective is to ensure a consistent user experience irrespective of the device used. This process includes evaluating differences in screen sizes, input mechanisms, browsers, operating systems, and display resolutions, among other relevant variables. Considering these variables in the test process is necessary to ensure a seamless user experience across various devices in the market. 

However, these mobile devices support diverse operating systems, including iOS, Android, and more, contributing to the assortment of the digital landscape. Adapting how users behave and their device preferences presents a major challenge for organizations. This highlights the need for cross-device testing to provide user satisfaction, optimal performance, and engaging experience across various devices.

This article will explore various strategies for efficient cross-device testing. 

What is Cross-Device Testing?

Cross-device testing is the approach that validates the functionality and performance of software applications and websites across different devices like tablets and smartphones. It ensures optimal user experiences for software applications, regardless of the device used. Cross-device testing assesses different factors, such as variations in screen size, device type, resolution, operating systems, and the OS version. Furthermore, cross-device testing authorizes identifying compatibility issues during the initial phase of software development, providing swift fixes.

A few key aspects of cross-device testing are:

  • Cross-device testing involves evaluating software application performance on different devices. It incorporates considerations for memory, processing power, and network conditions.
  • Cross-device testing confirms that application layout and content are depicted accurately on screens of various resolutions and sizes.
  • Various input methods are utilized for touchscreens, keyboards, and others. Cross-device testing involves considering these input methods to ensure that the software application under evaluation functions accurately with various input methods.
  • Cross-device testing is a process that evaluates the compatibility of a software application across various operating systems, including iOS and Android.

Why is Cross-Device Testing required?

Given the rapid expansion of the global smartphone market, thorough testing of web applications on popular devices before production release is imperative. Device fragmentation has led to a diverse array of mobile devices available in the market, varying in screen size, operating systems, resolution, OS versions, browsers, processors, memory capacities, and other specifications.

Testing web applications under such a giant umbrella of devices is quite tedious. Nevertheless, cross-platform compatibility is a pressing priority for any organization that desires to produce a promising software application to expand its customer base. 

Any website or mobile application is created and unit-tested by developers on a limited number of devices. Nonetheless, the tester’s responsibility is to ensure that the software application functions as expected on the widespread and widely utilized devices available in the market. Therefore, testing on the suited mobile devices is paramount for the cross-device-compatible website.

How to achieve Cross-Device Testing?

There are multiple combinations of screen size, OS type, OS version, browser type, resolution, and browser versions available in the market. For optimal test coverage, one has to create a fully equipped digital lab with all the latest and older devices across various platforms for cross-device testing. 

Nonetheless, it is almost impossible for an organization to purchase and maintain devices as it will need massive infrastructure and funds to store and maintain them. Even when an organization acquires the most current devices, it is essential to regularly update its inventory to include upcoming models in the market and maintain a record of legacy devices currently in use. 

This is where one must decide between creating or purchasing, that is, whether to develop in-house device infrastructure or purchase a subscription to a real device cloud.

Techniques to achieve cross-device testing:

Emulators and Simulators

The testing team can utilize Android emulators and iOS simulators to evaluate software performance on virtual devices. It assists in running tests more swiftly and efficiently than configuring real hardware devices. 

An emulator is a hardware device that facilitates one computer system (host) to act like another computer system (guest). It allows the host system to execute software or utilize peripheral devices developed for the guest system. It can replicate Android devices’ operating system, software, and hardware functionalities. It uses virtual device illustrations with near-native abilities and controls to alter the target device’s settings, like geolocation, battery state, etc.

Testing iOS applications is difficult if you do not have a Mac machine, iPhone, or iPad. Thus, simulators are utilized to create an environment that mimics the configurations and behavior of an actual iOS device. A simulator operates on the Mac and acts like a Mac app while simulating iOS devices. 

Emulator and simulator devices do not consider real user conditions while testing. That is the reason why there could be some scenarios that might get overlooked during the testing.

Using Physical Devices

By selecting the suited device, screen size combination, and operating system considering target users, organizations can develop a device lab with physical devices to execute cross-device testing. With the numerous available device models in the current market, selecting the latest or most prevalent devices to test the app is not always a good idea. 

Samsung and Google Pixel Android-based mobile devices have gained significant popularity in the market. In addition, Xiaomi and Oppo devices have a strong market presence, largely attributed to their competitive pricing strategies. It is worth noting that mobile device usage patterns may vary in response to evolving market trends.

Devices should be determined considering the demographics of the target user and the type of device they prefer. When selecting devices for testing, it is imperative to consider the mobile operating system, screen resolution, and screen size. Choosing a set of devices encompassing popular OS platforms, screen resolutions, and prevalent screen sizes is advisable to ensure thorough testing coverage. Nonetheless, it is pricey and time-consuming in terms of developing and maintaining the devices.

Real Device Cloud 

The above-given approaches can be high on budget, time-consuming, non-reliable, or sometimes ineffective. To confirm that the software application or website application under test functions consistently across different devices, such as Windows devices, desktop screen sizes, Android tablets, Android mobiles, iOS tablets, and iOS mobiles, and investing in a real device cloud platform is the best approach. 

Issues to Identify in Cross-Device Testing

It is essential to be aware of potential issues when testing across multiple devices to facilitate a comprehensive and effective testing procedure. Here are a few of those issues:

  • Security vulnerabilities stem from code compatible only with specific devices or from utilizing external libraries.
  • The user interface and design may vary across different devices or mobile platforms, potentially influencing the user experience.
  • Varying resolutions, screen sizes, and hardware capabilities.
  • Integration challenges are encountered concerning services offering functionalities such as push notifications and in-app purchases.
  • Device-specific features, like notifications and touch gestures.

Utilize Cloud-Based Testing Platforms

Cloud-based testing platforms offer a valuable solution for effective cross-device testing. These platforms offer a centralized and scalable infrastructure for conducting tests on various devices and operating systems. By utilizing cloud technology, testing teams gain access to an extensive virtual device library, eliminating the requirement to acquire and manage many physical devices. 

Moreover, cloud-based platforms provide the capability to run tests concurrently, facilitating expedited testing processes and prompt insights into the compatibility of an application across diverse devices. This approach enhances efficiency by saving time and ensuring thorough coverage while mitigating the likelihood of overlooking any potential issues on specific devices. Besides, cloud-based testing platforms typically offer advanced reporting and debugging features, facilitating identifying and resolving device-specific compatibility issues.

Essential Considerations for Cross-Device Testing

There are numerous things to consider while performing cross-device testing. Here are a few pivotal things to consider while performing cross-device testing:

  • It is essential to note that the mobile application under evaluation incorporates responsive design principles. This approach allows for adjusting the layout and content on mobile applications to suit various device screen sizes.
  • Identify the devices most utilized and prevalent by the target audience. This will assist in eliminating blockers when determining the devices to test the mobile app.
  • Evaluate the performance of your mobile application across a range of devices by assessing its load and response times.
  • Evaluate the functionality of your application across various devices, emphasizing interactive elements such as buttons and forms. It is also advisable to thoroughly test touch interactions to ensure optimal user experience.

Cross Devices Testing Tools

To effectively conduct cross-device testing, it is essential to leverage automation testing tools that guarantee the high-quality development of software applications. However, identifying the most suitable tool can present a significant challenge. 

Here are a few popular cross-device testing tools:

LambdaTest

It is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that lets you run manual and automated tests at scale with over 3000+ real devices, browsers, and OS combinations. With this platform, you can efficiently test your mobile applications on various devices and web applications on different desktop and mobile browsers without needing virtual machine configuration.

LambdaTest is an AI-driven test orchestration and execution platform to test website and mobile applications across browsers, real devices, and platform combinations. It permits developers and testers to execute manual and automation testing for website and mobile applications on a scalable and flexible cloud grid. It supports test script automation through different testing frameworks like Appium, Playwright, XCUITest, Espresso, and more.

It extends its testing capabilities to real mobile devices, providing a realistic environment for testing mobile applications. This includes testing on various devices, operating systems, and screen sizes, addressing the complexities associated with mobile app development.

The platform facilitates collaboration among team members by providing features for sharing test sessions, collaborating on debugging efforts, and communicating effectively during the testing process. This promotes teamwork and accelerates issue resolution.

Appium

Appium is a widely used open-source automation testing tool for assessing Android and iOS applications. It is a robust web and mobile application testing solution, particularly for hybrid apps. Appium is instrumental in automating functional testing and enhancing the performance and functionality of mobile applications.

Conclusion

Cross-device testing is a noteworthy part of the STLC. It ensures the application functions accurately across all devices. By leveraging cross-device testing, businesses can streamline their operations and allocate resources more efficiently, all while maintaining a consistent and optimal user experience. The methodologies detailed in this publication offer web developers and testers the means to comprehensively assess their applications across various devices, ultimately ensuring a successful and user-centric outcome.

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