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How Can You Overcome The Problems Testing Wearable Apps?

Testing engineers and those who perform similar functions are facing new and different challenges with the variety of fun and exciting options in wearable tech now available, which leads us to the question of how can you overcome the problems testing wearable apps?

Connectivity and communication is one difficult area to work with and the functional use of wearable tech while you are out and about is another. With sensors, hardware and software components to consider, and trying to ensure that wearable apps can easily be used in a moving environment, testing this type of tech is a whole new field of play compared to testing phone or tablet apps.

So what are some of the top challenges?

Top problems testers face

User Interface – Rather obvious, yet some testers might not realize how important it is to have a highly functional or usable interface on a wearable device. While things might work in theory, or in an ideal situation, how do they work in the real world? Screen size and resolution presents one challenge as you are dealing with a smaller space and want the end result so be smooth rather than clunky.

That means you need to take things a step further and test the app on the device how it would be actually used. Considerations need to be made for body positioning and movement. For example, a fitness app for the Apple Watch should be tested while engaged in biking, running, hiking or at the gym. How hard is it to perform an expected action while in motion? Will the idea of being in motion affect the ability of the sensors to work as intended?

Data Sync – This is a big issue. Without proper data sync the wearable app can be rendered useless. So where do you need to focus? Proper testing needs to include testing the connectivity of the device via Bluetooth for range, what happens when the connectivity is lost, what happens if the device disconnects and reconnects singularly or repeatedly and what happens if the device is simply shut off (in case of low power for example).

So along with testing in a normal office environment, you need to test your app in live environments that include simulating range issues, low battery and the like.

The end result of the testing should result in crafting a wearable app that can perform under any of these circumstances without the user needing to waste time or energy syncing or re-syncing and that there will not be any technical issues from loss of connections and re-connections. Ideally the user would not notice anything.

Battery Life – Users hate short battery life because it is limiting. This is another big challenge in the wearable world where smaller devices not only rely on their own battery but also the batter of the smartphone they are effectively tethered to.

You need to test functions while smartphones are both off and on to better determine how the wearable will function when it is forced to save data, when it needs to send and receive data and when it is just idle but still staying connected. Things need to be tested with no other apps running and multiple apps running to compare drain.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that wearable tech and the associated apps open up both users and developers to a whole new world of exciting possibilities. Taking advantage of the world is critical when you test as you need to get out of the lab and in the world with real devices to truly test them properly. How can you overcome the problems testing wearable apps has a simple answer; start with emulators in the lab and then move to real devices in the real world to ensure that the final product will succeed as planned for the end user.

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