Usability is the key factor in all commercial applications, and it is vital for mobile apps. Considering the number of various applications for Android and iOS (hint – there are several millions of them), you can imagine the competition. But the winners aren’t the most powerful solutions. They are those apps that are easy to learn, user-friendly, and resolve the user’s problems quickly.
Usability is vital for the success of any application. Good usability is a big step to victory. Therefore, all professional mobile app development services like this resource treat usability testing very seriously. Without proper testing, it would be impossible to understand how people interact with the application, how they react to it, and where they would face difficulties.
How to test the usability of the mobile app – practical approaches
The purpose of usability testing is to understand how the app can satisfy the user’s requirements. The specialists who deliver custom mobile app development services know that expectations and practical user experience often vary significantly. The developers and the end-users think differently, and that’s why testing is the crucial stage.
Modern mobile app testing is a vast area with established methods, practices, and tools designed to perform the tests correctly, process their results effectively, and make the proper conclusions.
Some thoughts before starting the mobile apps’ usability testing
When the dedicated specialists from the mobile application development services plan the testing processes, they set the following purposes:
- Detect existing problems.
- Discover possibilities for improvement.
- Identify user’s preferences.
Tests, in their turn, can be done in several formats:
- Moderated. The moderator guides the person who is testing the application. The advantage of the approach is that the moderator can ask questions in the process and define the user’s reasoning behind actions.
- Unmoderated. There is no directing – the users work on their own. The advantage is that it delivers the user experience close to the end user's impressions.
- Scripted. Users have a script to follow in the testing. The advantage is that it brings lots of consistent information to analyze and check the fundamental usability patterns.
- Exploratory. Users can explore the app to detect and record issues in real time. The advantage is getting a lot of unique experiences and unexpected behavior patterns.
- Remote. Users can participate in testing from any location. The advantage is the possibility of reaching a larger and more diverse audience.
- In-person. Users should be present at some locations. The advantage is more control over the testing processes and the possibility to learn more about the users’ reasoning.
In practice, the above formats are used in conjunction. High-class teams of mobile software development services can implement them all in their testing processes. It brings the most comprehensive information on the user experience and checks for all usability issues, but it is more expensive and time-consuming. Smaller teams with limited resources might apply types only, risking missing some essential points.
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Methods of Usability Testing
Above, we have reviewed the testing approaches. Now, let us check the testing methods used to deliver the necessary information to mobile developers.
Lab Usability Testing
It is checking how users can complete tasks with the help of the mobile app. The participants must be present in the location. The tasks are controlled, the environment is under monitoring, and the participants must provide feedback after the completion of the tasks.
The biggest advantage is the controlled environment. The representatives of the iOS and Android app development services responsible for running tests can collect lots of data under the standardized conditions. However, conducting lab testing is expensive, it can’t cover large audiences, and a controlled environment might not reflect real-life users’ behavior.
The test organizers check some people randomly at a public place and offer them the chance to take part in testing of the mobile development solutions for some reward. This testing is spontaneous.
The method of Guerrilla testing has lots of advantages. It illustrates the real-life user interface and gives you the opportunity to communicate with real users personally and in an informal atmosphere. However, such random users rarely provide you with personal details, so, you would hardly be able to reach them with follow-ups.
The method is usually remote. Participants get instructions on completing the tasks with the help of the app. This process can be monitored by phone or video and recorded for further analysis.
The advantage of the method is the possibility to cover a large area and diverse participants. Besides, it can be done faster and costs less.
Observation and Session Recordings
The method suggests recording the users’ actions while they are interacting with the mobile app. The advantage is the possibility to see how users explore the application and perform tasks with it. Also, it collects data from many users and their devices. It is especially helpful for cross-platform apps development services which need comprehensive data from both mobile platforms and from as many users as possible.
Best mobile testing practices
As soon as you’ve defined the methods and formats, you need to ensure the following conditions:
- Ensure the right environment and actual devices. Android or iOS mobile app development services experts need to know how the apps perform on different OS versions and devices. Also, it is crucial to check the app’s performance indoors, and outdoors, what happens under a weak Internet connection, etc.
- Select the participants. Diversity should be your priority because you need to know how people with diverse backgrounds and preferences use the application.
- Try to ensure as large test groups as possible. The more participants try your app, the more information on different behavior patterns and individual impressions you receive.
And with any methods chosen, make the tests short and focused to get to the point at once.
It is impossible to deliver a high-quality product without proper testing. Of course, it is not limited by mobile apps development services – all products pass the testing stage before getting to the public. Remember that usability tests pursue two goals – to detect problems and to help you make the application more user-friendly, with a better interface, navigation, and performance. This is the main result you should get from the tests, and if you are interested in such topics, visit jatapp.co, you can learn a lot of interesting and fascinating topics on software development in different areas.
Last Updated 4 months ago