Testing on Real Mobile Devices for Free

John Davier

John Davier

Published on

June 17, 2015

Our customers complained that their email capture popups don't look or work very well on mobile phones. While all our themes were already mobile-friendly and tested on major phones like iPhone or Google Nexus, there were just too many phones out there and its very tricky to get it right on all of them. Any front-end web developer would know it's hard to deal with fixed position elements on different mobile browsers. Zooming content is also a lot more common on mobile than it ever was on desktop.

First, we checked all our competitors to see if their popups looked any better on all these different phones. Nope! They looked, worked and behaved exactly how we expected: Ugly. From scrolling issues to sizing, zooming and positioning issues, Blekh!

This was a very bad situation because almost 50% of all the leads captured on the web are from mobile phones now, and still no one has done it right. So, we worked hard for a few days to get our mobile experience as good as our desktop experience. We made sure that our popups look right whether a web page is responsive or not, or whether the user has zoomed in, or scrolled.

Device Testing

We tested on iOS simulator and Android emulator throughout the process of improving the mobile experience. But frankly, not all user interactions can be tested on an emulator.Real devices provide a real user environment that can be stress tested. Certain interactions like pinching, zooming and scrolling are considerablydifferent on touch screens.

So,how do we test it on real devices? We can't possibly buy all the phones out there. According to the testing best practices, itshould be conducted on up to 40 devices in the market and replacing 30% everyquarter to stay up to date. Cost of procuring and maintainingthese devices isquite high for a startup.

So what do we do?

Hmm. YES! We go to the local AT&T store and test our forms on all different mobile phones out there. They're charged and wifi connected.Thank you AT&T. We tested on dozens of different devices. Here are just a few of them...

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Our new popups worked exceptionally wellon all the devicesin the store.

Well. Except these lonely guys...

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The whole visit took around 30 minutes. It was very fruitful as we learned a ton about how different devices behave on different interactions, especially BlackBerry and Nokia Lumia. It also tookus to another level of confidence in our new email capture popups that we never had testing in emulators.

And best of all, our customers loved uswhen we told them about our little adventure. Our inbox was flooded with fanmail...


and many more...

Image sources: HTML5Rocks

Author Bio

John Davier

Content marketing guru at MailMunch. I’m passionate about writing content that resonates with people. Live simply, give generously, stay happy.

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