Testing is a fast-paced industry that is constantly changing. Not too many years ago, it was possible to see the lists of test-cases, printing techniques or advices how to continuously back-up the apps on a 3.5” floppy.
Around ten years ago mobile devices have brought a completely different set of challenges to the testing world.
We started to use new testing scenarios and technologies to make our apps rock solid before they are released to the market. And now, when the smartphone market shows slight growth and different tools of IoT are being developed, testing techniques for wearables require an absolutely new and different approach from the one we used to have.
If you want to launch a new complimentary app or to create a new project based on IoT only, you should take into account all issues related to this area.
Here are 7 main issues that star-up owners, app developers and QA managers are facing during wearables app launches.
1. Screen size
With the launch of iPhone 6, Apple brought new screen sizes to the iOS world as well as it made the new standard for the market: all gadgets must have 5’’+ screens.
But the screens on wearables are small… really small.
If we were to check all popular bands and smartwatches in 2016, their screens would be even smaller. Users want to see a tiny low-energy screen with but one control button for all actions.
It means that wearable screens are forcing designers and developers not just to update various app elements, but also to redefine the whole app idea. User experience is created from scratch. We haven’t faced such huge challenge in the app world since the Palm era.
2. Connection types
There are different standards of mobile data connections worldwide, like EDGE, 3G, LTE, etc. But mainly, wearables are connected to 3rd-party gadgets via Bluetooth and WiFi. It requires to make an approach that helps to:
- establish the permanent connection that does not consume too much energy from both devices;
- give a chance to use both devices at least 24 hours without charging;
- provide in-app data only when a user needs it.
This approach also requires new test cases and use cases for that. Every single interaction could be presented in hundreds cases by itself.
3. Battery life
Around 15 years ago the standard battery size was like 600 mAh. It was more than enough for 4-5h talking time and nobody complained about that (in fact, these 4-5 hours costed for users 3-4 times higher than a phone price).
Time is looping and we have almost in the same situation now, but with one slight difference – wearable must work continuously. 600-800 mAh battery is enough to display some messages and remote audio tracks from time to time but not enough to do it without a phone 24/7.
4. Apps Localization
Most of the apps worldwide are designed to be used on the international markets. Startup owners should take into account that despite of the fact of reverse information displaying that we are used to see in sites and mobile apps for East markets, wearables can be used for that not so often. Right-to-left languages have always kept users puzzled.
A lot of designs that work in the western world might not work in the east and vice-versa.
A very separate issue that put in this list is the local fonts. It is a very common situation when the local popular fonts cannot be used in the small screens. A great example is a translation from English to Japanese or to some Cyrillic languages.
5. Testing types
Due to the fact that all testing types are not free of charge, a lot of companies do the following: they launch a new app then, collect feedbacks and make patches. It is not a bad approach if you only have a mobile app.
But what should you do if your app couldn’t be connected to the device or it requires wearables software over-the-air update that is blocked due to the inner app error? The brilliant example of such situation is Mi Band update error that was this year. In this case all types of testing are critical.
We suggest the following list of testing approaches that are must if you want to launch an app for wearables:
- Localization testing;
- Usability testing;
- Functional testing;
- Loading testing;
- Interaction testing.
Optionally, it is necessary to launch testing scenarios for security testing if you are going to deal with personal data sharing or in-app payments that a user can do via his gadget.
We strongly recommend to test your app according to the following requirements:
- The process of determining that a requester is allowed to receive a service or perform an operation.
- A security measure which protects from the disclosure of information to parties other than the intended recipient is by no means the only way of ensuring the security.
- This might involve confirming the identity of a person, tracking the origins of an artifact, ensuring that a product is what its packaging and labeling claims to be, or assuring that a computer program is a trusted one.
6. Multi-platform issues
iOS is being known as the platform that has the quickly upgrading process. In controversy Android or Tizen has historically a very slow and fragmentation updates that depend on the hardware producer and market specifics.
This means that startup owners must have a clear blueprint of platform versions they are going to support gaining to the profit.
7. No virtual devices are useful
Due to wearables specificity, the apps distribution for such devices with emulators or remote gadgets access would be near impossible. It is related to the fact that they do not represent all scenarios of the app using when the gadget is on a user hand.
In this case the main method for your app testing is to use crowdsourced testing services and check an app on real devices. Also the wide range of testing scenarios and requirements for results management should be prepared before.
Wearables are the new challenge for launching startups and apps testing. They have a huge way of new possibilities combining with smart-house techs, augmented reality and interaction with 3rd-party casual gadgets worldwide.
In fact, they require an absolutely different style of development, testing and promotion that are being hardly used in some markets.
What do you think on this case? Do you have another examples or wearables issues or benefits that startups can face with? Please leave your ideas below.