Wearable – a booming segment in the digital world came into prominence in the last decade, thanks to the growth in mobile computing. The numbers here are mind boggling. Forbes expects this market to double current numbers by 2022 and touch $27 billion in market size. There is enough reason to be excited as testers as the wearable app testing market brings in a lot of potential and interesting opportunities – varied sets of devices, varied use cases that are being solved, varied markets being addressed, a wide range of domains covered – this list goes on.
With all of this scope and variation, the test coverage obviously grows in scale and the testing community has to be smart in optimizing and leveraging the right strategy to ensure rich coverage that does not compromise on other parameters such as time and cost. While this kind of a diverse scope came in to existence even with the advent of mobile computing, wearable testing brings in its own range in the variable set. For example, in the mobile space, the variations were largely centred around devices, models, makes, operating systems, other applications in co-existence, the functionality of the core app under test, to name the core ones. With testing wearable applications, another device comes into the picture, which is the wearable itself, the solution’s functionality and other quality attributes on the device (which is usually fairly small). The overall hardware and software connect in the device, its connect with another device, typically a smartphone, else a solution on the cloud, are all additional parameters to consider.
More importantly, with wearable testing, a lot of field testing becomes important. Not every scenario can be tested in house in a lab environment. Both role based testing by the testers on field as well as real users testing, either as beta test efforts or an official crowd testing effort often becomes a need. This is not just to bring in the live user environment, but also the richness of the feedback that comes in from real users in a very niche space such as wearables that is addressing a specific domain (such as fitness, entertainment, sports, healthcare etc.).
These opportunities and challenges will only rise, not just in the space of wearables testing, but in the overall mobile first, user first digital world that has evolved over the last decade. The footing here is strong with more innovations to flow in from start-ups and ISVs alike. There is no one standard test strategy that fits all, in this case. A few things that will help testers here include understanding the need for creative out of box thinking, connecting with users and market, understanding of how the ecosystem works, tying all these to an on demand strategy that is nimble and scalable – all these will all go a long way in ensuring quality rich wearables for release.
Wearables and mobiles amongst the latest in the industry are ones that showcase the need to understand the business and user side of what we work on, rather than just the technical side – A powerful combination of all three has become inevitable – an exciting journey ahead indeed.