I get to test a lot of apps on a daily basis in order to see what to recommend on AndroidB. Thus, I’ve seen many that are poorly tested and released out there just to see if the “app will go viral”, with the idea that if it does, the app will be improved later. Wrong. Releasing a poorly tested app reduces your chances of achieving success, even if the app could have the potential to become a hit. I’m not saying that you should invest thousands in having your app professionally tested on hundreds of devices, but you should at least have a minimum app testing strategy in place.
What are the main problems I encounter in apps? Here’s a few of them:
- Typos, typos everywhere. Before releasing your app make sure the text is typo-free and reads correctly. If you don’t have the money to hire a copywriter, the least you can do is to pull all the text your app shows in an editor that has a spellchecker (i.e. Word, Notepad++). This will help at least reduce the most obvious typos. If you’re not a native speaker make sure you share that text with a friend that is to help you with the expression part. Obviously, the best option would be to hire a copywriter and if you don’t want to break the bank you can hire an affordable one on sites such as freelancer.com.
- Crashes. The main problem with Android in comparison with the competition (i.e. iOS) is fragmentation. Thousands of different devices with various versions of the Android OS make it a challenge for developers to release a stable version. Sure, you have the emulators that offer some basic testing, but nothing beats real tests. Another tip for you (not the “just the tip” kind): tell your friends. That’s right, with mobile devices so popular now, the least you can do is ask your closest friends to simply install the app on their device and see how and if it works. Not to mention that you could gain valuable feedback from users that don’t think the way you do. The professional alternative here would be to rent devices from cloud testing services, but that’s expensive.
- Poor graphics. You optimize your app for a particular screen size but not all devices are born equal. Obviously some have larger screen sizes and you must do a bit of testing to see how it looks on those. If your app is only targeted towards phones, make sure you disallow users to install it on tablets. If your app is for general purpose (i.e. can be installed on all sizes) make sure you test the app on at least 3 devices that fit into this category: small, medium, large. Another source for poor graphics is … poor graphics, meaning having the original image look non-intentionally blurry. In this case the solution is to purchase professionally designed images and there are lots of sites that offer royalty free images.
- Poor usability. In your head you know exactly how your app should be used. You know what to press and when, how to achieve a particular functionality and so on. You wrongfully think that your users will understand as fast as you how to use the app. In practice though, users behave differently and the best way to figure that out is to allow others to look at your app and understand how they can use it – based on that you can make the appropriate adjustments. It helps to write down some usability scenarios and test those, but helps even more to see someone actually use it. Surely you have in your family a member that’s not as knowledgeable as you (assuming your app is not for a tech niche) that you can share the app with and see how exactly they use it.
Having seen so many apps and games I already have an eye for spotting problems during app testing. So if you want I can test your app and provide a report on what problems I’ve found or suggestion I have for improving it. Just use the form below to get in touch and I’ll follow-up quickly (price for this app testing service is $100 for regular apps, if you are a big studio with multiple apps let’s discuss first about a possible monthly deal):
Single App Testing Price
Static HTML Website
$100 for testing 1 APP
2-3 days delivery time
Detailed test report
Continous APP Testing Price
Dynamic WordPress Website
$1000 for 1 month of testing
Detailed test report
How do I test the app? Well, first of all by default I run my tests in 4 different environments: a small smartphone (3 inches screen size), a medium-sized smartphone (5 inches screen), a large tablet (10.1 inches) and an emulator. All running Android.
Here are some of the things I evaluate when doing the app testing service:
- Graphics. All the graphics must be clear, displayed without unusual stretching, cutoffs or unwanted pixelation. The text must be readable, clear and in the language the app is in without any cutoffs or overlapping.
- Usability. Your app should have a consistent user interface that gives clear access to its most important feature without unnecessary extra steps. The learning curve for using the app should be as short as possible for first time users. When rotating the display, the app should also detect and change its layout. No unnecessary features or graphic elements that don’t do anything (i.e. buttons that don’t point anywhere).
- Spelling. The bits of text included in the app should be spelled correctly without any typos or expression errors. I currently verify only the text displayed in English, but the same principle (of typo-free text) should be used for all supported languages.
- Help. No matter how easy the app is, a help section should be displayed. This is the area where an user should find anything needed to understand how to use the app, even if maybe your app previously showed the user a quick tutorial. If you have a game with lots of items, those should be explained as well.
- Crashes. This is the most important part, the app should not crash. Crashes are one of the main reasons for most of the poor Google Play ratings. That’s why the app should be thoroughly tested on the supported devices to ensure that it works correctly. Also, the app should display informative errors if it encounters a problem with the system it’s installed on. For instance if there’s no more storage, memory, a connection drops or is delayed the app should be able to handle these situations correctly.
- Entry Forms. If the app included registration/login fields, search fields or any other type of data entry it should support special characters too (i.e. Unicode). Also, the app should handle the situation when long strings are being entered in a particular field and preferably display the allowed length.
- Tap Actions. Every screen of your app is tested with simple taps or long tap & hold actions. Special emphasis is given to menu items since users interact with the menu first. Aside being accessible, the menu items should be intuitive no matter the size of the screen.
- Additional Functionality. The app should function correctly when additional functionality is accessed too, from scrolling, text selection, hitting the back button to using the virtual keyboard (that shouldn’t distort the way the app looks).
- Test Options. Most apps offer various settings and those should be tested as well. Each setting should preserve the check status even when restarting the app. Furthermore, each of those options should apply when the options panel is closed.
- Unexpected Behavior. Your app should handle interruptions such as the situation when the battery runs out, or if the user gets a call or a text message.
If you have any questions feel free to send me an email, below are a few frequent ones.
What information do I need to provide you for testing the app?
I need an .apk file if your app isn’t already published on Google Play or a link to your listing if the app is already live. If you have any special instructions (i.e. a particular thing tested) just let me know. I don’t need test cases as I create my own, but if you want me to use them of course it is possible.
What tests do you do?
I mentioned a few things I test above, basically I focus on functionality, usability and GUI. I keep track of the discovered issues and send those in a report to you, subsequently I can also test future builds to see if bugs were fixed.
What apps do you test?
I can test only Android apps. I do not test apps that don’t have the interface translated in English or those that require particular accessories (i.e. Wear apps, unless you provide the hardware too). I do test Android games but only to a point (i.e. if your game has 100 levels I will only test a few representative ones).
How long does a test take?
It depends on the complexity of the app, but usually delivery is 2-3 days.
How much is the cost for app testing?
I can test 1 app for $100 and unfortunately I cannot offer volume discounts. If you’d like continuous testing though for multiple apps I can do that for a fee of $1,000/month (which usually means around 40-50 hours of testing in total).
To get started I need to see first what the app you want tested is about so just use the form above to drop me an email and I’ll reply promptly.