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Eran Kinsbruner, Perfecto Mobile
Eran Kinsbruner, Perfecto Mobile
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Key Considerations for Testing Voice Recognition in Mobile Banking Applications

Banks are just beginning to realize the potential for improving security and user experience by integrating voice recognition in to mobile applications.

The challenges related to the testing of mobile banking applications on a wide variety of devices and platforms are abundant. The addition of voice recognition adds another layer of complexity. Following are a few key questions that can be encountered:

What devices should we test on?

The growing use of both smartphones and tablets for mobile banking means that the coverage group is even larger than before. So, when choosing a set of devices for your mobile testing, you will need to take these factors into account:

• What is your target market (age, geography, business/pleasure/ youth, etc.)?

• What types of devices are supported: Smartphones, tablets or both?

• What are the top supported devices and manufacturers?

• Which versions of each major OS (i.e., iOS, Blackberry, Android) need to be supported?

• Which regions, carriers and network technologies are relevant?

• Which form factors and screen sizes are relevant?

Ensure that the most popular devices (smartphones and tablets) are covered – use exactly these devices rather than devices with similar combinations of manufacturer-OS, screen sizes, and resolution. In practice, different device manufacturers adapt the Android OS version to their own needs and apply their unique modifications. For example, a Sony Xperia acro S with Android V4.0 cannot substitute Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III with Android v4.0.4 for test coverage of Android v4.0. Not only do these models have a difference in the minor OS version, they are based on different ‘flavors’ of the Android v4.0 OS by different manufacturers.

Additionally, don’t ignore internal priorities, the product team should deliver a list of platforms the application needs to support and platforms you do not. In the long run, this decision will save your support staff a flood of calls from frustrated customers.

How to test the voice related use cases?

As mentioned earlier, the method of authenticating users and serving them based on voice recognition makes use of the client's voiceprint file. This file is managed/stored by the bank and used each time the client engages with the mobile application.

During the testing period, the bank would need to use a Voice Injection supported technology. This functionality allows the testing team to generate various types of voice files with real banking account/data, store them on the bank backend servers, and use them in both positive and negative scenarios to gain high confidence in their solution. This would need to be re-tested on many devices to assure that there are no fragmentations or portability defects which would give different results when used on different platforms.

USAA Mobile Voice Engagement

How do network events affect the voice-based functionality?

Similar to other mobile applications, mobile banking is performed on mobile devices connected to live networks. Accordingly, it is important to perform interoperability (IOP) testing to check the impact of network events, such as incoming calls, text messages, email, loss of network connection, roaming, etc., on key transactions, and in particular voice-related scenarios. For example, being able to accommodate an incoming call or text message at the same time a user initiates a bank transaction using voice commands.

How would an application type influence the testing of voice related commands?

In mobile there are three main types of applications – Native, Web, and Hybrid. With regard to mobile banking, device-related capabilities such as GPS, Camera and Voice commands would not be accessible in a web-based application; however, they would be accessible to Native and Hybrid applications. Some of the voice-related functions banks would offer their users, such as directions to the nearest bank branch, would not be relevant for web-based applications.

Bottom Line

The growth of the mobile space requires banks to find ways to efficiently and automatically test enhanced features such as voice, biometrics, location-based services and more. The establishment of a robust, centralized cloud-based testing environment, in which banks can upload their entire testing resources (e.g. voice files) and, most importantly, securely test their mobile applications on large variety of devices in different locations, would seem to be an essential step towards addressing these challenges.

Eran Kinsbruner is the director of product strategy at Perfecto Mobile.

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