23 Dec / 2021 761 views

A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile App Usability Testing

A Comprehensive Guide to Mobile App Usability Testing

Posted by : Under : Mobile App Development No Comments

The growing number of mobile app users across the globe is a testimony to the important role mobile apps play in our daily lives. And given the exclusive user experiences and conveniences offered by such apps, customer expectations are also on the rise. In fact, more companies are launching applications based on innovative ideas supporting their business models and designs to offer suitable solutions. These may cover a wide range of domains such as eCommerce, games, banking and finance, utility, entertainment, hospitality, and many others. However, it is proving hard to survive the competition for mobile applications that have usability issues. Consequently, mobile app planning and execution are receiving more attention from major mobile app development service providers to ensure the apps’ usability is top-notch. Hence, if you have a mobile application with usability nowhere near the standard benchmark, it’s time you focus on this area and get it addressed quickly.

Continue reading the blog in the below-mentioned segments to know more about mobile app usability. Additionally, should you be interested in knowing more about the mobile app development process, you may read our blog.

Mobile App Usability Testing

Usability tests for mobile applications are conducted by getting users to use your applications. These tests are conducted to study the users’ interactions, behaviour patterns, responses and reactions to your application and give you the insights to make suitable changes.

For conducting the test, you need to devise a plan that will help you to proceed effectively. To create a sound plan, you may read the below-mentioned sections that are usually followed by top mobile app development services:

  • Set up the test purpose, goal, and objectives
  • Research questions
  • Characteristics of the test participants
  • Test methods
  • List of tasks for the participants
  • Test the equipment, environment, and logistics
  • Role of the facilitator
  • Data to be collected and measured for evaluating
  • Presentation and reports

Steps to consider before conducting the mobile app usability test

The steps needed to be considered before conducting the mobile app usability test are:

# Test Objectives

Setting up the test objectives at the beginning is important, for the objectives shall determine the outcome of the test. So, you can set up the questions for asking the development team to explore important areas like markets, competitors, opportunities, users, ideal app roadmaps, timing, and research, among others. Any feedback from the team to your questions will help you identify your goals and more importantly, set specific, prioritised, and measurable goals.

# Performing Tasks

After the goal is set, you need to set up the appropriate tasks so that the test results are genuine and help you to take the right action after the conduct of the test. This is why, you must ensure setting a task that is more like natural interactions that users, in general, have with mobile applications. For example, the participants can be assigned tasks like signing up or uploading photos, registering an account or sending a friend request to anyone, etc.

# Test documents for App usability

The app usability test requires a few documents like the consent forms of the participants. Also, the post-test questionnaire is required to be set up according to the standard of SUS (System Usability Scale) and PSSUQ (Post-Study Usability Questionnaire).

# Participants in the test

The motive of the user-oriented test is to achieve quality results. Thus, gathering the right participants to interact with the application is important and therefore, you need to keep the following things in mind:

  • The user must be a representative of the target audience
  • The user owns a device that runs on the same operating system the application is designed to run
  • Participants must show confidentiality and have the expertise to use the application, which can be in its initial stage of development
  • The participant must be available at the time and place of testing
  • The participant must agree to the compensation terms before participating in the usability test
  • The participant should be ready to sign the consent form for the usability test

Acknowledging these aspects will help you gather the right candidates for the test and ensure the test process is synchronised to offer optimum results.

# Test Methodologies

There are mainly two test methodologies: In-person and Remote testing methods following moderated and unmoderated ways. It is important to choose the right methodologies for conducting the mobile app usability tests. We have discussed the methodologies later in this blog.

Factors Guiding Mobile Application Usability Testing

Before conducting mobile app usability testing, you need to consider different factors to get the desired result.

# Your Idea

Every mobile application is built upon an idea. You also have an idea behind building the mobile application. The idea helps to understand the kind of facilities that you will offer to your users and how it can be distinguished from other existing mobile applications in the domain. So, before you consider testing your mobile application, you must take note of the idea you have. This will help to conduct an effective test and obtain a genuine outcome.

# Target Audience

You need to identify the audience that you want to serve. The age group, gender, and location of your prospects are a few determining factors that will help you acknowledge the ideal group of your target audience. Identifying the right group of the audience will help you understand what they expect from a mobile application, how powerfully your application can serve the group and make a difference, and accordingly, you can draw the conclusion and take action. One important aspect you need to realise is that the group of test participants you select must be from your target audience.

# Cost factor

The amount you want to invest to conduct the test is an important factor to be considered.

Mobile Application Usability Testing Methodologies

As discussed above, let’s discuss two methods of evaluating your mobile application:

# In-person Testing Method- Here, the participants are required to gather at a definite location to participate in the test.

Moderated Way

The moderated way of conducting the test simply denotes the involvement of a moderator involved who guides the participants throughout the test. The presence of a moderator can help gather more information on the participants since the moderator can probe the latter by asking questions or letting them share their experiences. There can be two approaches to this –

-Lab testing method- Under this method, a group of participants is asked to perform a task in a controlled environment. The task is assigned accordingly to understand how easily the participants can perform the task with the application. And right after the task, the participants are asked to share their experiences individually.

-Guerrilla testing- Under this method, the participants are selected randomly from public places like a mall, coffee shops, or airports, etc. Then they are asked to perform a usability test in exchange for a small award like gift coupons etc. This method helps to get your app’s usability tested comprehensively and lets you gather genuine reactions to your app. A moderator is present to guide the participants to perform the test.

Unmoderated Way

No moderator is present in this case. The test is not conducted under any supervision and so, the participants are allowed to interact with your application without any external inputs.

-Observation testing- Under this method, the participants freely interact with the application and their interaction is observed independently. Since no direction is given to the participants, this method helps to discover various app usability issues.

# Remote Testing Method- In this method, participants are not required to gather at any place and can join the usability test from anywhere.

Moderated Way

Under the moderated remote app usability test, there are two approaches:

-Video or Phone interviews- The test is either conducted over a phone or video call. The participants are guided by the moderator and are assigned to complete a task, that is then recorded. This helps to study the participant’s behaviour and interaction pattern with the app. This is a less expensive method than conducting an in-person usability test and helps to collect data expansively across geographical areas.

-Card sorting- Another useful remote and moderated way of conducting app usability tests is through the card sorting method. Here, the participants are asked to categorise virtual cards representing items or categories from the navigation of the app according to their choices and comfort. Card sorting helps to identify the user’s preferences and design a suitable navigation system that is preferred by users.

Unmoderated Way

-Session Recordings- Under the session recording mobile app testing option, user sessions are audio and video recorded. Since this method is not controlled, the participants are free to operate the app and interact with it, which helps in understanding their choices.

Conclusion
For mobile apps, usability is the key to delivering the best user experience to your customers. No wonder, usability testing should be made an integral part of the development cum delivery pipeline. Should you be thinking of fixing your app’s usability issues, you may get in touch with a top mobile app development company.

Rajdip Datta

Rajdip Datta

Rajdip Dutta is a project manager & an avid purveyor of the latest trends in mobile app development. His blogs are enriched with a deep insight into the field.

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