What Mobile Challenges Do Software Testers Face In 2016?

mobile challenges - Adventures in QALately I have been asked by Rosie Sherry the women behind Ministry of Testing, what are the main mobile challenges software testers need to face in 2016. Rosie asked me for only one testing challenge that we have to handle. In the first place the mobile device fragmentation came to my mind, but Rosie mentioned right from start, that this topic is already in the list. The next topic that came to my mind pretty quick is “In the Wild Testing”. And that is what I have written.


One of the biggest challenges software testers need to handle in 2016 is manual “In the wild testing”. The problem that I see, is that many software testers, test mobile applications in the same way as they would test web or desktop applications, always on the same place with the same Internet connection. But mobile apps are not the same like web or desktop applications. They are used in a total different environment with different Internet connections. If a mobile app is tested only with a fast and stable Internet connection lots of problems will not be covered during the testing and development phase.

Testing the app in the wild may find problems with:

  • The light situation because of sun or rain.
  • With the sensors because they are interfered by other elements such as buildings, cars or other obstacles.
  • With the Internet connection. Due to the movement, uses have not always the same Internet connection and this has an impact to the mobile app under test. For example, the network switch from LTE to Edge may influence the UI or the information that will be processed between the backend and the mobile app.

The listed points are just some of the problems that will not be found in a lab situation.


The solution for this problem is pretty easy. Software testers must test outside the office. Depending on the use case of the app, the environment may change. For example if you are testing a business app, the app is likely used when people are commuting to or from work by train or car. Or if you are testing a sports app, that is tracking your workouts and activities, then you must test during this situations, too.

It is key for every software tester to test in the environment where the customers will use the app. I recommend to every software tester, to pack some devices in a backpack and to leave the office to test the app in the wild.

When testing in the wild it is important that the app under test is using a crash reporting tool like HockeyApp or Crashlytics to record any kind of problems that may happen during the test scenarios. Besides that I recommend to have just a pen and a piece of paper with you to make notes when discovering a problem.

Next to me other mobile experts, from developers to testers have been asked what is and will be a main challenge for all of us.

What Mobile Challenges Do Software Testers Face In 2016?

You should definitely read the complete post from Rosie and the answers from the other experts. Here is the short list of the topics that have been mentioned:

  • Unexpected pop-ups
  • In The Wild Testing
  • Fragmentation
  • Native vs Webview
  • Mobile Test Automation
  • Commoditisation of Android
  • Slow Automation Tools
  • Mobile Last
  • Immature Automation Tools

What do you think about the challenges? Let me know in the comments section.