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Home Guide Top Test Coverage Metrics in Software Testing

Top Test Coverage Metrics in Software Testing

By Vivek Tumulu , Community Contributor -

Table of Contents

Efficient and prepared software management plays a major role in the success of an organization. By applying software testing processes, it is possible to increase the quality of the product or service delivered, be it a mobile app, web application, or desktop software. Testing enables decision-making concerning changes scheduled over the life cycle of a software application. To ensure customer satisfaction and retention, it is essential to test software thoroughly before launching for a seamless user experience.

When testing a software application, it is vital to take different aspects into consideration, such as functionality, visual appeal, UX, and performance (loading speed) for delivering a high-quality application.

The software testing market is set on a rising curve with a market cap exceeding a staggering USD 40 billion, let alone in 2020, stating the importance of testing in global markets.

Test plans created from business requirements, act as a structure for the software testing of an application. They help create the testing scope by defining constraints to best analyze the product limitations. Test Plan is used as a reference when defining the test scenarios and creating test cases. One of the major elements of creating a test plan is Test Coverage, which defines the scope of the test. An efficient product manager ensures the right balance between the test coverage and time for a high-quality software release at speed.

This article discusses the top test coverage metrics that help you evaluate your Test Plan, and tweak it for better efficiency.

Test Coverage Metrics in Software Testing

Test coverage is one of the most crucial parts of the software development cycle. It is a clear indicator of the quality of the test plan. Test coverage helps understand the qualitative aspects of the software test plan.

It is different from code coverage which determines how much coverage of functionality is provided by the code of the software. Test coverage leans more towards the functional, and usability aspects.

Some of the Test coverage metrics are:

Functional Coverage

It defines how much coverage the test plan provides for the business and functional requirements. Function coverage is a metric measuring the functions invoked during software testing. The number of functions executed by a test suite is divided by the total number of functions in the software under testing to calculate this metric. It does not assign a value to each function individually, as branch coverage or statement coverage does. Instead, it simply determines whether each function was called by the tests you were running.

Test Execution Coverage

It defines what is the percentage of test execution vs the total test case count. It helps understand the amount of test coverage in terms of absolute numbers. This widely helps in understanding the pass or fail rate of the test build.

Requirements Coverage

It defines how much of the business requirements suggested by the stakeholders are covered in the existing test plan. Requirements coverage can be deciphered by comparing the number of requirements that are fully covered by the test scenarios vs those partially covered or not covered by the test scenarios

Product Coverage

It defines the scope of the test, in terms of the number of products that the product is tested on. For example, a web application that is tested on various desktops, mobiles, and tablets, covers a large number of devices that the application would be accessed on. 

The larger the product coverage, the more it gives confidence for a smoother consistent user experience. Especially, now when the users have access to different types of devices and platforms and companies trying to provide a multi-experience to the users seamlessly across different devices and platforms.

Cross platform compatibility and Cross-Browser Compatibility tests are the biggest examples, where product coverage plays a major role in determining the quality of the software.

Risk Coverage

It defines the risk faced by the software application when in real use, which is covered by the tests. These risks are mainly the constraints that may cause any negative impact on the user experience. Once the risks are known, testing can be structured to ensure that potential risks are not translated into actual negative consequences. When tests are designed to cover said risks, the software stands a much higher chance of attaining technical and commercial success.

Take an app for stock market investment, for example. Let’s say it uses a third-party API to search and retrieve financial data – exchange rates, stock prices, etc. If this API becomes unresponsive (a major risk), how would the app respond?

Risk coverage would take this into account and design tests accordingly to ensure the software does not become paralyzed and useless if such a risk occurs.

Test Coverage Metrics in Agile Testing Approach

Software testing coverage metrics help in Agile testing for a variety of reasons. 

  • First, they help create a risk-based approach to software testing by allowing us to determine which areas of the release are the riskiest and need additional testing.
  • Second, they help guide the user experience team and the development team in ensuring that new features have adequate test coverage before they go live to users.
  • Third, they help drive down bugs by preventing regression bugs caused by changes to existing code.

When selecting a test coverage metric for your software testing project, your team’s goals must be aligned with the business and user requirements.

Test Coverage Metrics from a practical perspective

Say you’re building a widget for a smartphone. You could run tests on every feature of that app and get 100% code coverage, but that would still not make the application worthy for the users until it covers most of the user requirements, can be accessed from different devices, or does not have any major potential risks. 

So, in this case, you would probably want to select different test coverage metrics in addition to the code coverage for making the application more relevant to the users. Although a complete coverage is never possible in finite time and resources, one can still use the test coverage metrics to balance the optimum test coverage in the minimum amount of time for a faster high-quality release.

Getting Maximum Coverage with BrowserStack

Without test coverage, your business could be liable for significant revenue losses and customer churn due to product downtime, security vulnerabilities, and other issues. You can use many metrics to measure your test coverage. However, here are three key reasons why BrowserStack’s test coverage can align with different metrics at the behest of your applications’ quality.

Testing under real user conditions

BrowserStack’s real devices and browsers allow you to test with actual device configurations from around the world. That means you can run tests and gather insights from real user conditions such as Network Simulation, Push Notifications, Geo-Location Testing, etc. This helps you identify different possible bottlenecks that might occur to real users and cannot be test on Emulators and Simulators

Covering real Mobile Devices and Browsers

Mobile users are a growing demographic – your software products must be optimized for mobile devices. With the different models and manufacturers in the smartphone industry, device fragmentation is a major hurdle in test coverage, and it is necessary to test the app on different devices for wider product coverage. 

However, maintaining a large number of physical mobile and desktop devices lab is not a good idea since requires a large budget to set up and maintain such an infrastructure. But real device cloud like BrowserStack helps in achieving the maximum test coverage cost-effectively by providing an access to over 3000+ real device browser combinations to test the web and mobile applications.

Fast and Reliable Testing

BrowserStack’s tests are the most reliable in the industry because they are not just simulated – they are run directly on real hardware devices with full access to native functionalities such as Screen orientation (landscape and portrait modes), Biometrics, QR code scanning, etc.

It can be easily integrated with the popular mobile and Web Test Automation frameworks such as Selenium, Cypress, Puppeteer, Playwright, XCUITest, Espresso, Appium, etc. which helps in faster testing. Moreover, BrowserStack cloud Selenium Grid allows parallel testing of web applications on different browsers and device combinations parallelly for faster and more efficient testing at scale.

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