Catching a Bug in the Act: How Video Capture Helps Mobile App Developers

Catching a Bug in the Act: How Video Capture Helps Mobile App Developers

It’s one of those hard-to-describe bugs. You’ve created a mobile app with a checkout process for customers to purchase an item. Yet, when a tester selects an item for purchase, it doesn’t populate on the order form. When describing the bug with screenshots, text, and log events, nothing looks wrong on the surface—especially when ordering works fine for other testers. It becomes frustrating as the tester tries to explain, step by step, what’s going wrong.

Finally, a video reveals the issue. During a test with video capture, you see that the tester skipped an optional step to “select a store.” For some reason, not selecting a store affects items populating on the order form. A comparison of two video captures—one for the tester having problems and one for another tester not having problems—quickly reveals the issue. You now realize that the “select a store” step should be required, not optional. And thus, you’ve fixed the bug thanks to a video capture tool.

The Power of Video

As described in the example above, video can be a powerful tool.  Video capture during mobile app testing helps developers deal with hard-to-replicate bugs in three big ways.

  • A video is worth a thousand words: Videos speak loudly and clearly. They often get the point across to developers without the limitations of language and screenshots. They can also show a bug in action from beginning to end, reducing arguments about whether the bug exists.
  • Catch the bug red-handed: With a video, you can see the exact moment when the bug occurs along with the actions that led up to it. Especially for bugs that are not easily replicated, a video capture offers a great “gotcha” moment.
  • Identify bugs outside your documented requirements: A video can clearly show a bug that interferes with usability, loading time, or other unanticipated issues not documented in your mobile app’s requirements.

Sometimes, screenshots and textual descriptions are just not enough to describe a tough bug. Video is a lifesaver—especially as this feature becomes more available to testers in cloud platforms.

 

Testing without Video Capture

Let’s look at some problematic parts of the bug testing process where a lack of video capture can add more time and energy to the process.

  1. Writing Bug Descriptions

The process of describing a bug is time-consuming and sometimes frustrating—especially when it feels like you’re only indirectly pointing to a problem. Writing a bug description involves:

  • Describing the bug in words, including thesteps taken to reproduce the bug.
  • Capturing screenshots of the bug, if possible.
  • Noting technical specifications such as the device configuration you are testing.
  • Noting the level of bug severity such as critical or low.
  • Explaining the actual versus the expected results.

However, many bugs resist an easy explanation even with the above data. As a result, it can often take multiple descriptions and tests to figure out what’s happening.

  1. Relying on Indirect Evidence of a Bug

Finding a bug sometimes parallels catching a criminal in the process of a crime. Unless you catch the criminal in the act, you must rely on indirect evidence. In the world of mobile app testing, written descriptions, screenshots, log events, and other data serve as indirect evidence of a bug “crime.”

When a bug does not occur for testers 100 percent of the time, it’s up to developers to rely on indirect evidence (such as an incorrect output) to help find the exact steps required to reproduce a bug. Indirect evidence of a bug often appears with many UI bugs that testers encounter that are not anticipated by mobile app developers.

  1. Finding User Bugs that Don’t Match to Specific Requirements

Bugs are often easier to spot when they do not match documented requirements. But bugs independent of requirements can get shrugged off more easily if a tester points them out—especially if they are hard to pin down.

For example, a mobile app’s requirements may not state anything about how an incorrect password may give a user access to other customers’ billing information. However, if a tester runs into this problem but has trouble reproducing it, then a written description and screenshots of the bug may not be enough to quickly hone in on this unexpected problem. Video, on the other hand, can more quickly capture the bug when it happens.

 

Kobiton Now Offers Video Capture

Starting with our latest release, we now offer video capture. Kobiton automatically records any manual mobile app test session. After the test, you can access your video on your Session Details page and instantly watch videos of your test to help you spot bugs.

If you’re interested in trying out Kobiton’s video capture feature to see how it will help your mobile app testing, you can sign up for a free trial. Our 15-day free trial gives you access to more than just video.  It also includes:

  • 30 of the latest and greatest Android and iOS devices in a Trial Cloud
  • Unlimited concurrent device sessions
  • An unlimited number of users
  • 120 minutes of manual and automation testing

The power of video to help identify and resolve issues faster is real.  As you explore your current or potential testing options, make sure video is a feature you are able to access and see the difference for yourself.

 

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