Software applications lie at the core of any IT infrastructure and help the latter to function as per expectations. These help organizations and enterprises to achieve their digital transformational goals including the delivery of superior customer experiences. To ensure such applications deliver value for money and do not run the risk of any failure, they are subjected to several rounds of testing. Importantly, the customers of today access applications on a plethora of device platforms, operating systems, databases, browsers, and networks, among others. They expect the applications to perform uniformly across platforms and can summarily discard them in the event of any malfunction or quality issue. Compatibility testing entails the testing of software applications across digital environments to validate their performance. It is a necessary cog in the wheel for digital transformation implementation.
Mobile applications have become a rage among people on-the-go. They have brought the fruits of digitization to the people at large and enabled them to buy products, access information, or avail services, quickly, securely, and conveniently. However, the biggest challenge testers face in validating any software is the multiplicity of devices. For example, the number of mobile devices is projected to touch a whopping 16.8 billion in 2023 (source: Statista.) These devices are of different brands, features, hardware configuration, software and firmware requirements, screen size, and network operators, among others.
So, not only the mobile devices have issues of compatibility with their competing brands but can have differences with their brand line as well. This is where a special type of testing called mobile compatibility testing comes into play. It focuses on testing the compatibility of mobile apps across device platforms, software, firmware, operating systems, browsers, databases, and networks, among others. An application compatibility testing process ensures the seamless performance of application across these digital elements.
Any device compatibility testing allows developers and testers to achieve improved application performance. It consists of two types:
Forward testing: The testing validates the compatibility of an application with newer versions of operating systems.
Backward testing: Here, the testing process validates the compatibility of the application designed with the latest environment version with that of its older version. For example, if the backward testing of an application is conducted for Windows operating system, its compatibility should be tested for both the latest Windows 10 version as well as the older ones like Windows XP, Windows 7 etc.
Customer experience has become the differentiator for software applications to be adopted or discarded. It is directly related to the performance of any digital company in the market. Simply put, if the customer experience offered by any product is below par, the company can lose its position in the market. And one of the prominent attributes leading to excellent customer experiences is the product’s compatibility across platforms. These platforms could be the operating systems, their newer versions, browsers, hardware configuration of devices, and mobile networks. If device compatibility testing is skipped, the results could be telling for the application and its brand:
Differences in UI: Each device has its configuration for the UI interface to run smoothly. However, it would require a particular look, feel, font size, resolution, and alignment for any application to work. In the absence of any compatibility testing exercise, this aspect of the application can remain unresolved for different devices.
Persistence of quality issues: Compatibility testing helps in identifying glitches in a software application, which otherwise can render it unsuitable to function across devices. Further, if such glitches are not fixed in time before delivery, the cost of fixing them later can be high. This can hit the profitability of any business big time.
Hits user expectations: The success of digital transformation solutions depends, to a large extent, to their compatibility across digital environments. Users are wont to expect applications that perform seamlessly on multiple platforms. If performance slackens due to issues of usability, stability, and scalability, then user expectations can take a massive hit. And in a world of tough competition where users look for fast loading, reasonably priced, feature-rich, and functional applications to meet their expectations, any lack of user experience can sound the death knell for that application.
Digital transformation has become the key enabler for enterprises to stay competitive and meet their objectives. However, the software applications at the core of such transformation need to be compatible across every digital environment. To ensure the same, digital compatibility testing needs to be pursued vigorously across the SDLC.
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