Why Visual Testing Is Important To Enterprise Apps
“It has such a cool aesthetic.”
“I honestly just love the way it looks.”
“This really has a minimalist feel.”
The last two decades of innovation and design have managed to not just radically transform communicative aspects of our lives, but also to bring elements of visualization into the modern zeitgeist. The term “Aesthetic” was once reserved for lecture halls in philosophy colleges, or for art enthusiasts staring inquisitively at a surrealist painting on an ornately-framed canvas at the Museum of Modern Art. Nowadays, describing the aesthetic qualities of an everyday item like a coffee mug or a friend’s fashion sense is a part of our common verbiage.
In many ways, tech companies are at the forefront of this renewed cultural focus on the visual qualities of a product. Websites and mobile apps exist on a sort of liminal plain, occupying the gray space between the tangible and the immaterial; a virtual experience defined by sensory traits. Credit must be granted to enterprising pioneers like Steve Jobs, who recognized that the 21st century tech experience would rely so significantly on a user experience crafted around how an individual visualizes their journey.
This emphasis on optics brings us to the importance of Visual Testing. For enterprising mobile apps, the visual experience of a user is critical to the success of the product. While traditional automated tests are typically situated around functional testing, usability, or speed, Visual Testing evaluates the appearance of an app’s output and measures this against the intended design. This practice is utilized by mobile testers to prevent rendering issues that may not appear in a functional test, but persist and contribute to an end product that can span from a humorous error to a visual issue that effectively makes a mobile app unusable.
We’ll discuss how modern Visual Testing works, as well as the gaps that it intends to fill that other tests may not. We’ll examine how it can assist in measuring your app against cross-industry standards and how it can contribute to greater ADA compliance. Finally, we’ll look at how Kobiton executes Visual Testing by going beyond traditional “Visual Validation Testing” to achieve a more comprehensive and intuitive mobile testing journey.
The Nuts and Bolts of Visual Testing
As stated, Visual Testing should be done concurrently with other types of testing, like functional testing. Often it is the case that mobile app testers will rely strongly on functional tests to guide their perspective on usability and visualization, turning to automated performance tests as well to measure critical data points about the workflow for their app. While functional tests can be programmed in a way that accounts for certain visual elements (size, position, object color), most QA programmers can attest to the volume of script and maintenance burden that such an endeavor would deliver. Moreover, mobile app contexts are constantly changing (i.e., using a different OS, resolution, or screen size variance), leading to a point in which functional testing becomes exhaustive and beyond the reach of having merit from an ROI standpoint.
When it comes to employing Visual Testing, the age-old testing dilemma of manual versus automated testing is an inevitability. Manual Visual Testing is fairly self-explanatory: a tester uses the human eye to inspect for differences in visual output across different devices and operating systems. It can be monotonous work with greater room for error, but it uses straightforward visualization skills to accomplish.
On the automated side, scalable Visual Testing solutions can be employed with older methods like snapshot testing, or your team can invest in faster modes of automated testing like AI-driven solutions that perform better as the Visual Testing continues. Scriptless automated testing like Kobiton provides will allow for Visual Testing to execute in conjunction with traditional functional tests, minimizing time and effort in both prep work coding and actual testing time. Scriptless visual test designs are particularly useful in that they can simply catch bugs the human eye can’t at an exponentially quicker rate. These types of automated tests aren’t reliant on complex scripts, they can be executed by anybody with common testing knowledge, and the scripts are reusable across different visual tests.
Regardless of the testing strategy employed, Visual Testing will optimize the user experience and ensure that your enterprise mobile application reflects industry standards of visual protocols. Visual appeal can ultimately be a tool to differentiate, but understanding and checking across industry competitors to evaluate whether or not common commerce and engagement visualization strategies are being employed is an ideal method to ultimately succeed with your mobile app rollout.
Another advantage of Visual Testing comes in the form of ADA compliance. Accessibility is key to reflecting brand values that support individuals of all backgrounds when utilizing your app; furthermore, maintaining access via ADA compliance will make certain that your company steers clear of legal consequences. Generating Visual Testing initiatives that utilize the best practices of WCAG 2.0 accessibility checklists will allow you to better relate with users that have a range of needs, visually-inspecting object points, colors and sizes for compliance as a user would experience it.
The Kobiton Visual Testing Tool
While there are a myriad of automated Visual Testing solutions, Kobiton’s investment in a ground-up endeavor to support mobile app testing teams is reflected in the testing solutions we offer users to transform their testing pursuit. At the center of Kobiton’s performance tools is an intelligent, adaptable AI-driven core that internalizes testing results and modifies key elements on the fly to optimize the Visual Testing experience with minimal oversight from testers during the process. The Kobiton Visual Testing toolkit takes a comprehensive approach, using a combination of both Visual Validation and Visual UX Testing to magnify the elements that the human eye can’t catch, using Computer Vision and pixel comparison for validation comparisons against renderings. The Visual UX component goes one step further, using AI/ML techniques to compare visual elements against a myriad of aesthetic visualization points across industry apps to capture how your display matches up against competitors. Accounting for a variety of form factors and devices, Kobiton has developed a testkit solution that testing teams can simply use to create a better final product in less time.
With that said, regardless of whether your Visual Testing strategy is centered around Kobiton, another industry method or traditional manual methods, recognizing the necessity for incorporating Visual Testing directly into a testing repertoire should be a non-negotiable for all programmers and product designers strategizing in the aesthetics-centered mobile app industry.
What are you doing for visual testing today?