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Posted June 10, 2016

7 Golden Rules for Manual Mobile Testing


Manual mobile testing is still a very commonly used testing practice exercised by most of QA engineers and testers. To make your manual mobile testing as effective as possible you need a testing structure. Without a structure you’ll be just clicking around, hoping to find a bug. With structured tests, you will be able to find bugs and flaws methodically and you’ll be able to repeat the same test on multiple devices and to reproduce bugs if needed. That’s why we put together an ultimate checklist that will help you structure your tests and make your manual mobile testing nearly infallible.

This guide will make you a perfect mobile manual tester to deliver flawless mobile apps.

Download the free cheatsheet to organize your mobile testing at the end of the article!

Manual Mobile Testing: The 7 golden rules!

Rule #1 – Make a plan!

When starting a new testing project there are many different things that need to be sorted out. First of all, decide which test cases should be tested manually and which one you better use test automation for. Many test cases that you still test manually, can probably be automated, which can save you a lot of time.

Once you have decided which use case you’ll be performing manually you should decide when to test what, for example: grouping use cases based on what is being tested (screen, login/logout, navigation etc.).

Rule #2 – Define your click path!

Go through all the use cases you have decided upon and write down a click path for each one of them. Make sure you don’t forget any steps, even the most obvious ones, or you won’t be able to reproduce a bug and to repeat the exact same test on different devices.

How can you otherwise know, if an an issues appears only on one device, if every time you make the “same” test slightly different?

Rule #3 – Research the market!

When an app is released, it should flawlessly work on the most sold devices in the primary target market. The app should be tested on at least on 5 to 10 devices, depending on the size of the target market. There are many different tools to help you create your device pool, like google developer console that can help you narrow down the devices to choose from. An app that works perfectly on a device that no one uses, will not drive your revenues!

Rule #4 – Look for the right characteristics!

Choose devices with different characteristics, try to have as different devices as possible, from hardware to software, from screen sizes to manufacturers.

Checking these things is very important: not everyone has the latest device or the latest software update.

Screens have many different screen sizes pixel resolutions, check if everything is displaying in the right place and correctly.

Apart from many different Android OS versions, many manufacturers also make changes in the UI and some functionalities, so make sure that your app is not affected by them!

The hardware characteristics are crucial when testing an app, so consider adding more use cases if you notice that you’re missing out on some things.

Rule #5 – Keep your sessions short!

Try to organise your use cases so you can keep test sessions as short as possible; test exclusively what you decided to test beforehand. If you think of other things to test, just add them to the use cases list, don’t test them instinctively on the spot. When performing long sessions, you may lose yourself in the app, make mistakes and invalidate the test.

Furthermore, if you start testing without a plan, you may forget to add all the steps to your click path plan and you won’t be able to repeat the same test on another device.

Rule #6 – Repeat

Perform the same exact test on all of the devices you chose for your manual mobile testing. You’ll see how easy it is to just follow the same steps all over again. It will minimize the possibility of the “human error”.

Remember to repeat the same tests after any code modification (something else might get broken while fixing)!

Rule #7 – Document your bugs!

To track your bugs efficiently, when you find one, make sure to write down all the information you have gained and the exact thing you were doing when you detected the malfunction. Only so you can easily test that part again after a bug has been fixed, instead of trying each and every test again.

Documenting a bug will not only help you keep track of the bugs but it will also make it easier to reproduce it. You can show the bug to your developers as many times as they need to understand where the problem lies, helping them to fix it and accelerating the whole process.


These 7 rules are more than just a checklist, they are meant to be a starting point of any new testing project, helping to structure your thoughts and testing ideas. Structure is what helps you to keep everything under control at all times and to outline a clear testing pattern, focussing only on the goals. With manual mobile testing those goals are: testing on the most suitable devices for your target market, choosing the right cases and repeat the exact same tests on all of the chosen devices to find bugs.

Based on our research this is a testing structure that helps achieving better results faster. You are probably already doing some or many of those things, but revising your structure is always a good idea. We get used to do some things in a certain way and we lose sight of the bigger picture. Taking a step back and reorganise your structure, adding the steps you realized were missing from your routine can give your mobile manual tests a clearer testing pattern, helping you to become a better tester. 

We have put together a cheat-sheet to help you get started with your manual testing and keep your research as well as your test results well organised. In this spreadsheet you will find three sheets: one contains the instruction on how to use the other two sheets; the second sheet “Research” is where you decide which use cases you want to test and define your click path for each use case. You will also have pie charts where you can input specific data based on your target market and make a list of devices based on the data in the previous section. The third sheet “Testing & Tracking” should be used during your testing sessions. The data will be pulled in from the previous sheet and the rest of the tables are for you to fill out click by click during your testing.

Download this free cheat-sheet and start with your manual mobile testing today!

Jun 10, 2016
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