3 Actionable Ways to Expand Mobile Device Test Coverage for Hospitality Apps
January 24, 2023

Frank Moyer
Kobiton

When it comes to mobile software testing, expanding device coverage by running software tests on as many devices as possible is important in virtually every context. The more devices you test your software on, the higher the degree of confidence you can have that your software will work as required for all of your users.

But broad device coverage is especially critical in sectors like hospitality. As hotels, restaurants and other hospitality businesses continue to increase their deployment of mobile apps to serve customers, the ability to ensure that mobile apps work as intended across any type of device is becoming critical for delivering positive guest experiences. In hospitality, guests aren't just playing games or viewing websites with mobile apps. They rely on mobile software to open doors to hotel rooms or order food, meaning that software bugs or performance issues can create several problems. No one wants to be locked out of a hotel room because a mobile app isn't compatible with a specific type of smartphone, for example.

At the same time, the importance of expansive device coverage in hospitality is especially great due to the fact that software developers in the hospitality industry often have little control over the devices that their apps run on. Unlike other sectors — such as logistics, where companies often distribute specific devices to their workforces for use in the field — hospitality businesses can't force their guests to deploy only certain types of devices. Instead, they need to create software that works reliably across any type of mobile phone or tablet — not to mention any mobile operating system or browser configuration — that customers bring into a hotel or restaurant.

The Challenge of Broad Device Coverage

The key challenge businesses face when trying to expand device coverage is that it's just not practical to run tests on every device out there. There are tens of thousands of unique devices in the world, and the time and personnel required to test software on every single one would far exceed the resources of even very large hospitality businesses.

On top of that, most businesses simply don't have access to every device their customers could potentially use. Hotels and restaurants don't have closets full of phones and tablets that their developers can use for testing purposes, after all.

What hospitality companies need to do, then, is devise strategies for running tests that maximize their ability to detect software problems while making efficient use of the testing resources available to them. Smart hospitality businesses recognize that they can't test on every device, so they need to be strategic about where they do run tests in order to make the most of the tests they execute.

There are three main ways they can go about this.

1. Use a device testing platform

A device testing platform is a specialized infrastructure that provides access to devices for testing purposes on demand. Testing platforms allow companies to purchase or rent physical devices on which to run tests directly. They also make devices available for testing over the Internet, using a cloud-based architecture.

Device testing platforms solve the problem of device inaccessibility. They ensure that businesses can run tests on the devices that their customers use, without having to acquire those devices themselves if they don't want to. Device testing platforms also provide companies with up-to-date device hardware profiles and configurations, which is important given that new mobile phones and tablets hit the market each day, and businesses need to make sure their apps work on the latest and greatest devices.

2. Use AI to automate manual tests

There are two ways to go about testing mobile software. One is to have humans run tests manually by deploying software and running through workflows designed to evaluate whether it works as expected. The other is to use test automation frameworks, which allow developers and Quality Assurance (QA) teams to run tests automatically that simulate user input.

Automated testing is much more scalable and efficient from a resource perspective. When you automate your tests, you can run tests more quickly across more devices because you're not constrained by the availability of human testers.

However, the challenge that businesses tend to run into when working to automate tests is that someone has to write the scripts used to execute automated testing routines. Traditionally, writing those scripts required specialized programming skills, so the number of staff available to develop tests was limited.

To solve this problem, hospitality businesses can take advantage of AI-powered test automation tools that can automatically create automated test scripts based on manual testing workflows. These tools monitor the tests that humans run manually, then produce scripts that testing teams can use to execute the same test workflow automatically, without relying on human testers.

In this way, it becomes possible for companies to take advantage of test automation in order to run tests across more devices, without having to invest in extensive software development resources in order to write the automated tests. They can use AI to write the tests for them.

3. Choose devices strategically

Even with test automation, it's not feasible to run tests across every device under the sun. But what companies can — and should — do is prioritize specific devices for testing based on two key factors:

How many of their end-users run each type of device: To the extent that companies can predict which devices their customers use, they can use that data to determine which types of devices to test on. If 70 percent of your hotel guests have iPhones, for example, you'll know that testing on iPhones should be a priority.

How similar the devices are: Some mobile devices are quite similar to other devices with regard to the hardware and software configurations they depend on. As a result, if you run an extensive suite of tests on one type of device (like the iPhone 13), you likely don't need to run the same tests on a similar device (like the iPhone 12). You could make better use of your testing resources by testing on other devices (like Android phones) that are dissimilar to the devices you've already tested on.

Using this approach, businesses can optimize the impact of their tests. They maximize their ability to discover software bugs that will actually impact their end users, while avoiding running tests on devices that few of their customers use, or that would produce redundant test results because tests are run on devices with similar configurations.

Conclusion

It would be great if businesses had the resources to test all of their mobile apps across all devices in the world. But they don't, which is why it's important to be strategic about where and how you test — especially in sectors like hospitality, where device types are especially diverse, and where software problems can prove particularly harmful to the end-user experience. Fortunately, with a smart testing strategy, it's possible to maximize device coverage without overwhelming testing teams, or overspending on testing resources and infrastructure.

Frank Moyer is CTO of Kobiton
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