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The Importance of “Hands-On” Mobile App Testing

On a simulator, you still use a mouse to 'touch' the screen and simulate gestures. You also have a full-sized keyboard for data entry. Of course, this is very different from using a mobile device, wouldn't you say?

First, a mobile device sits in your hand. Each of us likely has slightly different ways of holding and operating the device. For some, it's done with one-hand using your thumb or a finger. For others, it might be two hands using both thumbs.

Second, there's the act of touching various screen elements like buttons and controls. This is much easier to do with a mouse pointer than a pudgy finger.

Based on the prior experience of many mobile testers, this difference is a critical one, and the biggest, for testing application design and function. Using a mouse with the simulator, you do not get the full effect of having to scroll through a large list view of items or having to play 'whack-a-mole' on the screen with your thumb because button placement for navigating multiple screens is inconsistent.

Mobile developers are strongly encouraged to ensure that application testing begins early, and happens often, on the mobile device itself rather than on a simulator. The same holds true for tablet devices.

From Web Trends, Mobile Analytics: "Even on the same mobile platform, screen sizes and resolutions can vary based on device type. For instance, the screen size and resolution on the HTC Incredible is different than that on the HTC EVO 4G. Consequently, for an application to have a consistent look and feel across both devices and across a variety of other devices, user interface elements and graphics need to be scalable."

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