Another option is cloud-based private device farms, where you strategically procure your own devices and either house them in your own data centre within the business, or with an outsourced provider. Either way, you have 100% access to the devices at any time, without having to pay a rental fee. ‘Strategically procure’ means you buy certain models within a brand, as testing on one device will give you similar screen real estate on four or five other devices. “This option is good for high-volume device users requiring stringent levels of security, such as companies in the financial technology space,” says Fouché. Companies that strive to achieve a high frequency of continuous integration and deployment would also do well to consider a private device farm, as this will give them unrestricted access to the devices.
Houston, we have lift-off… or not
Once the challenge of how to access devices for testing purposes has been solved, the process of testing begins. This is where companies can really come unstuck, says Lloyd Dignan, Director: New Business, Inspired Testing. “Whether it’s a new release or an update, a complete retest is the only solution. There is a perception that once you have released your app or launched your Web site, any subsequent updates will not be as critical. Many big players have discovered the hard way that this is not the case. No company is immune to crashes and errors. To avoid this, testing should be viewed not as a ‘quick fix’, but an integral part of the DevOps process,” he explains.
Understanding which devices your market uses is also critical to the testing process. Tapping into the information streams available, such as market research, Google Analytics and your marketing engine will provide insights into the make and model of devices accessing your site or app, from which you can extrapolate technical data. Also bear in mind that device usage differs significantly from country to country. For example, in the UK, the majority of 18-35-year-olds have the latest iPhone. In Romania, the Samsung Galaxy J5 is the most popular phone, while Chinese brands Tecno and Infinix are big brands in Nigeria. “Keeping current with devices and operating system updates is one of the main challenges facing companies,” says Dignan.