Appium is a revolutionary open-source automation testing tool that provides seamless interaction with test scripts and an Appium server. It also allows for the use of emulators or actual devices. The outstanding capabilities of Appium have propelled the tool to the forefront in mobile, web, and hybrid application testing.

Appium is cross-platform, allowing users to leverage a unified interface and run scripted Android, iOS, and Windows tests. The framework’s versatility is reflected in its support of multiple programming languages, including Python, Ruby C#, PHP, JavaScript, and Java.

Appium is a powerful tool in the testing world. It was developed as a mobile app testing alternative to Selenium – the leading web application testing framework. It’s a powerful tool, but it’s important to know the inherent capabilities of the framework and how it can be used.

This comprehensive guide will highlight the best practices to optimize their Appium test and elevate their testing efforts.

What is Accessibility Testing?

Accessibility testing is software testing to ensure that web and mobile apps are usable for everyone, including those with vision or hearing impairments and other physical or cognitive conditions. This testing focuses on conforming with standards and providing a positive user experience.

During accessibility tests, the tester poses as a person with a disability to test if the software is accessible or not. Blindness, deafness, or non-functional body organs are some impairments commonly tested for under accessibility testing.

Accessibility testing is concerned with ensuring both usability and accessibility. It is, therefore, considered a subcategory of usability tests where the users are people with disabilities. They must also be included in the Software Testing Life Cycle.

Types of Accessibility Testing

Each testing technique has its advantages. Combining these techniques can be the most effective way to evaluate the accessibility of a product, service, or environment. Accessibility tests can be carried out through functional testing, usability testing, and compatibility testing.

Functional Testing: This type of test involves evaluating a software product’s functionality to ensure everyone uses it widely. This includes testing a product, service, or environment using assistive technologies such as screen readers, keyboard-only navigators, and actual people with disabilities.

Usability Testing: This test involves evaluating the product, service, or environment to ensure everyone can understand and use them. It may be necessary to recruit people with disabilities who will test the product and provide feedback about their experience.

Compatibility Testing: This test evaluates a product’s compatibility with various devices, browsers, and assistive technology. The product can be tested on different operating systems, browsers, and mobile devices.

Performance Test: This type of test involves evaluating a product’s performance to ensure versatility. This can include testing the loading time of a web page or application and the responsiveness buttons and controls.

Best Practices: Automated Accessibility Testing with Appium

Here are some of the best practices for automated accessibility testing with Appium:

1) Parallelization

Test Automation is designed to make testing faster, error-free, and easier. Testing scripts on one device may be counterintuitive, as it will be time-consuming and require more resources. When automating a test, it is important to run a script on as many different devices as possible. This allows you to identify compatibility problems, receive instant results, and quickly iterate any identified issues.

Multithreading is an essential concept for writing programs that are efficient and have fast execution times. Multithreading is a programming concept that allows the programmer to delegate tasks to multiple threads. This will enable tasks to be executed simultaneously and reduce the program’s run time. This can be illustrated by a single man building a small cabin. The one man would first have to cut down the trees, chop the wood, and then level the ground. Imagine 20 men working on the same project. Each man would be able to take on one task and, by working together, complete the building of the cabin much quicker.

Parallel testing is one of the best ways to speed up automated testing. Parallelization is often used in automation testing and is similar to multithreading. Parallelization is the simultaneous execution by a developer of multiple automated test scripts on different devices and environments.

Parallelization is a popular approach for automating testing. Parallelization makes testing and development more agile and results in better-written test scripts. By not running the tests sequentially, you can save time without compromising the quality.

2) Use the Right Locators

To test an application successfully, QAs must be adept at using Appium Locator. If the scripts cannot detect the elements required, the automation process will be rendered useless.

Overusing XPath location is one of the worst mistakes when writing test automation scripts. XPath can be used in two ways when writing a script.

Absolute XPath: This is a path that is specific to the element. This specifies the path to and from the component. The pro of this strategy may sound good, but the downside is that any changes in the application could cause the absolute XPath to change. This means that the test script would need to be updated each time a change was made. This is a very tedious and inefficient process.

Relative XPath: The path does not start at the root element but begins with the desired element. This allows the element to be located even if the application is changed. If XPath has to be used, then relative XPath will always be the best option.

XPath, however, is not recommended for use in test scripts because it takes a long time to find the element at execution. The performance cost also varies between browsers, with Internet Explorer being the most expensive. This is because browsers have different rendering engines and rules. As a result, they can take longer to execute test scripts that use XPath locators.

Accessibility IDs offer a better alternative to XPath Selectors. These locators are used in many test scripts, especially for Android and iOS apps. They are also much faster and easier to use than XPath.

3) Use the Page Object Model

With time, any application will undergo extensive updates and modifications. As the application evolves, the locators corresponding to certain elements change and are rendered obsolete in previous test scripts. This can be very time-consuming and require extensive rework by QAs.

The issue can easily be resolved using the Page Model design pattern for test scripts. In this case, the tests communicate with the page UI using methods of the page object class. Using POM design patterns, only the code within the page object must be changed if the page’s UI changes. The locators in the test and the script are separated. This prevents extensive rewriting of test scripts due to changes in locators.

It is advantageous only to update the code within the page object if the page’s User Interface (UI) changes. All modifications required to support the updated UI can be found in one place.

4) Test on Real Devices

Every year, the number of devices is increasing exponentially. Every testing team aims to solve this problem (device fragmentation) when testing applications. To ensure that you don’t miss out on potential customers, it is important to test the application across various devices/OS/browser combinations with the help of the Real device cloud.

When it’s necessary to test across devices, there are two options:

Emulators and Simulations: Although they are easier to install and more cost-effective than emulators, they’re not the best option to test an application. The emulators don’t operate or act like a real device, so running test scripts does not guarantee that the application will work on the device.

Real Devices or Real Device Cloud: The main caution when testing on real devices is the time it takes to configure and set up several pieces of software. There is an alternative: using a cloud platform.

Appium should be run on a cloud of real devices. With over 3000 actual device-browser combos, the QA team can test the mobile app with LambdaTest to ensure its functionality across thousands of real devices.

5) Use Wait

Any test script’s functionality depends entirely on its ability to accurately identify application elements and automate various test cases according to the specifications provided by software development teams. The test will be falsely negative if the elements cannot be located.

Wait commands are a common cause for tests to fail to locate elements accurately. This is in addition to the incorrect use of locators. The script cannot use the locator if the application is not fully loaded or delays between pages. In such scenarios, wait commands are important.

Two main types of waiting commands can be used:

Explicit Wait: This command tells the Appium driver to wait until an element has been found before continuing to the next line.

Implicit Wait: This command tells the Appium driver to wait for a specified time and search for the element repeatedly until the element is located or the time expires. The command will search the webpage until it finds at least one element, or the specified time expires if a list of elements is provided.

6) Use Appium Logs

Appium Server can create a rich log of information and a reporting structure. Appium Logs are intimidating to many. After running a script, a confusing log stream is generated. The details are often unclear.

Appium logs are a useful tool to read and use. The logs reveal many details, including:

  • Stack traces are often included in the logs for errors during test execution. They can be useful for debugging and identifying application or test script mistakes.
  • Logs also show the default and desired capabilities specified during the test. These capabilities can help modify and understand Appium’s behavior.
  • Appium logs are not timestamps by default. This is to keep log lines short. If you start the Appium Server with a log timestamp, then a timestamp is appended at the beginning of every line. This is very helpful when finding the cause of slowness or possible bugs. The lines that take longer to execute can easily be identified.

Appium is a framework for automating testing. It helps identify bugs earlier in the development cycle and reduces manual test efforts. You must use the above best practices to get the most out of this framework. These practices guide how to make mobile automation tests more reliable and effective.

Wrapping Up

Appium’s accessibility features can be used to test various scenarios and improve mobile app usability. You can make your app accessible to everyone by following best practices, such as using Appium’s features for accessibility, using diverse scenarios, and integrating accessibility into your development pipeline.

Adopting accessibility is a way to create a more inclusive environment in the digital world and aligns you with your ethical and legal obligations.

By incorporating these practices into testing strategies, you improve the user experience and instill a sense of social responsibility among your development team. Prioritizing accessibility will help you create better products and contribute towards a more equitable digital environment for everyone.

Categorized in: