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GUI Testing For Mobile App Development

Author: Melissa Crooks
by Melissa Crooks
Posted: May 17, 2017

To begin with, what’s GUI?

GUI is an acronym for Graphical User Interface. This is where mobile users interact with their devices through the use of images rather than employing text, as is the case with the Command Line Interface. Users can interact with an application through the use of a variety of GUI elements, such as List Boxes, Text Boxes, Check Boxes, and Radio Buttons.

The Concept of GUI Testing

GUI Testing, on the other hand, refers to the systematic validation of these elements. This process is majorly concerned with the testing of the system’s GUI particularly that of the app under test. It involves testing the various types of bars in an app – dialog boxes and windows, menu bar, toolbar, etc. – and the screens with the controls like icons, buttons, menus, and so on.

"Whether you are testing manually or automatically, GIU testing can be time-consuming as it requires quite a lot of programming. This is because it basically has to do with the testing of every visible component of an app. The process is primarily focused on the design structure of the mobile app. As a point note, app developers are fully aware that there is no much difference between the process involved in developing an automated functional test solution for a specific application and the process of developing the same application.

The Importance of GUI Testing

Users may not fully understand the concept of GUI talk more of its importance, as developers do. Sometimes, they may be tempted to ask; "of what importance is it?" it is important to know that without a User Interface (UI), a user will find it extremely difficult to use an app. This is the main determinant factor of how a user is going to use an app.

If a user finds an app’s interface to be very difficult or complex to understand, such a user will feel uncomfortable using it. So, as a matter of fact, the role of GUI testing cannot be underestimated as it helps to ensure that and app’s GUI is free from bugs.

The Need for GUI Testing in App Development Projects

As earlier mentioned, this is an essential process of app testing that helps to ensure effective functionality of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) for a specific app. It also helps to ensure that the application itself adheres to the laid down specifications outlined during the app development phase.

As touching functionality, testing for graphical user interface also goes a long way in helping to evaluate the various design elements of an app, such as content, links, icons, lists, buttons, captions, text formatting, text boxes, labels, font sizes, fonts, colors, and layout. Due to the complexity of this process, mobile app developers and end users are not often involved in the testing processes. Rather, they are mostly performed by third-party companies.

App development companies can either choose to carry out GUI testing processes automatically or manually. Usually, the intended function of a graphical or menu button is written out by the software author for the sake of clarity. This helps to guide the tester, so as not to experience any form of confusion as to the expected outcome.

Just like an hourglass, GUI testing can also be useful in testing certain behaviors of an app that are commonly expected, particularly when the app is busy.

Features to Be Mindful of During GUI Testing

In order to ensure a detailed GUI testing, here are certain things to consider

  • The position of GUI elements for a range of screen resolutions should be checked.
  • Ensure that every image used in the app is well aligned.
  • Be sure to use images with good clarity.
  • Create aesthetically pleasing warning messages and ensure that the color of the font used is clear.
  • Ensure proper alignment of the text.
  • Make sure that the font used in the app is not fuzzy but also readable.
  • The demarcation on every section of the screen should be well checked.
  • Check for error messages that aren’t displaying properly.
  • Check if you can use the GUI to execute the intended functionality of the app.
  • Ensure to check every GUI element for length, width, position, and size, as well as for acceptance of numbers or characters. For instance, inputs to the input fields should be provided.

Methods of GUI Testing

Basically, there are 3 major ways of performing GUI Testing. They include

  • Record and replay
  • Manual-based testing
  • Model-based testing

The Record and Replay Method

It is interesting to note that GUI testing can be performed through the use of automation tools. Usually, this method of testing is carried out in two phases – record and playback. During the Record phase, the automation tool is used to capture every test step. Then, every step recorded during the test will be executed on the Application Under Test during the Playback phase. QTP is a typical example of an automation tool commonly used for GUI testing.

The Manual-Based Testing Method

Here, testers try to perform manual checks on graphical screens in consonance with the stated requirements in the business document. Under this approach, testers can manually check for the use of numbers, tests, fonts, images etc.

The Model-Based Testing Method

You can hardly predict a system’s behavior if you do not have a model of it. It helps to provide testers with a graphical description or representation of the system’s behavior. Through the use of the system’s requirements, models can be of great help in handling a generation of test cases. There are certain steps to follow during this testing phase. They are

  • Develop a workable model
  • Identify the required inputs for the model
  • Work out the anticipated output for the model
  • Perform the tests
  • Run a comparison between the expected output and the actual output
  • Decide on the next action to take on the model

Test cases can be derived from a range of modeling techniques, including

  • Decision tables - these are tables used to determine results for every applied input.
  • Charts – these are used to check the state of a system after it has been depicted

When it comes to generating test cases from the stipulated requirements, most top app development companies are fond of using this method of testing. Compared to other testing techniques, this evolving method of GUI testing has proven to be very efficient at determining those undesirable states can be attained by an app’s GUI.

Any of these open source tools below can be used to perform GUI testing.

  • Dojo Toolkit
  • Water
  • Robot Framework
  • Sikuli
  • Selenium
  • AutoHotkey
About the Author

Melissa Crooks is Content Writer who writes for Hyperlink Infosystem, a mobile app development company in India as well as California and New York, USA.

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Author: Melissa Crooks

Melissa Crooks

Member since: Feb 28, 2017
Published articles: 2

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