07 May Usability Testing: An Important Step for Mobile App Development
Maggie gets an opportunity to go to the big conference meet with her company’s limited staff. Besides Maggie, many are selected for this conference. The difference was everyone was having a different role for that conference. Being the interrogator for the meet, her role is to make a note of every key point and see that every second count. Moreover, to make her task easy she thought of audio record everything.
She checks her bag twice before the meet. She is excited about the opportunity but a little bit nervous too. Laptop check, pen check, camera check, tape recorder check, notepad check and many more things to check. Everything was in the right place. Finally, now that only five minutes are left to start the conference where every big industrialist is present. Now she is not feeling her hands and she is becoming more nervous. Additionally, now that she is here, she cannot step back from the opportunity.
She starts with her work and records everything. Presses the red button on the tape recorder and goes on with the questionnaire. After about two hours, the conference ends and she feels proud of herself for doing a good job. After the completion, she extends her hand to stop the tape recorder and lost all her excitement and proudness. What she did leave her in shock with the thoughts to get fired from the job. She ignored the advanced feature of the tape recorder where the red button said to long press to start recording. She never did the long press. And now she would probably be losing her mind or her job or both.
The game ends here…. She lost her job but that’s not our concern, right? She should be more attentive than nervous.
This proves that she was a fake person. She never did attend and questioned anyone. But the incident is real. And therefore this incident has forced me to shine some light towards the importance of usability testing for mobile app development. Why it’s important to pay attention to your user’s behavior towards your app.
Many advice to not to talk with the users ever. These many hardly know about their users and therefore they miss out the summary.
“For the best UX design, pay attention to what the users do and not what they say.”
Mobile App Usability Testing – Exactly What It Is?
Mobile app usability testing is just like black box testing which can ensure you if the product is built for convenient usage and easy to learn one.
User testing for mobile apps is a testing method which helps in observing the behavior of the user to find out what works and what doesn’t. The observers try to observe the user’s body language, facial expression, emotions and encourage them to “think Aloud” i.e they can put out some words about what they think while using the product or mobile apps. Doing this, you can get qualitative and quantitative data and can also figure out the accessibility issues with the app.
So, Why User Testing for Mobile Apps is Important?
After the mobile app development process, the launch is not the only thing you need to know. You need to realize the importance of the testing after and before the launch.
Besides saving time, money and other resources, doing the usability testing in the right way, the right time with the right people reduces the risk of developing the wrong product. In short, when done in the early stages while the product is on the paper prototyping stage, you can find the problems and fix them when it is cheap and easy.
When done in the maturity of the app, it helps to understand the user’s success rate and time spent to complete the task. Besides, there are hundreds and thousands of use cases that have gain benefits via user testing for mobile apps in terms of ROI.
Let’s drive straight ahead into the more clear vision of why the mobile app usability testing in the mobile app development process is important.
1. To check whether the mobile app meets the user’s expectations
2. Matches the business decisions for real-world use
3. Removes flaws in the mobile app
4. Useful to get the user’s reactions and feedback about the app
From Your Analysis, What Types of Data You Can Gain?
There are two types of data you can receive from the analysis – Qualitative and Quantitative. However, mobile app usability testing is more likely to offer you the qualitative results and not the quantitative results like the surveys where many people participate. Always, user testing for mobile apps is done with a small set of people, around five to seven people.
Qualitative tests are more of a kind to check out the stress responses of the users like the body languages, hand movements, expressions on their face and peeked eyes especially while doing the test on the mobile devices.
However, it’s not always that we get qualitative results. Quantitative data can also be the results after the usability testing. For instance, time spent on the task, success and failure rates and also the efforts, such as how many clicks a user needs to complete the task.
Is Recording Necessary for Every Metrics Obtained from Mobile App Usability Testing?
Yes, it is. Recording the metrics is important. Because this testing is not just for the designers to understand how to make the best designs according to the user’s behavior. Its also to influence the rest of the stakeholders like clients, support team, project managers, developers, and other designers.
It may be possible that every stakeholder has a different point of view for the design decision. This being the personalized matter, often the design decision leads to long debate among stakeholders.
In brief, the metrics help to iterate and validate the design concepts. Moreover, it offers equality in design debates and helps in taking the fact-based design decisions.
At What Stage of the Design Process, the Mobile App Usability Testing is Recommended?
Talking about user testing for mobile apps, there are two terms more often used by the big names in the UX industry. The two terms are Summative Test and formative Test.
You need to know about which test should be done on which stage of the design process.
Formative Test – Low loyalty test to gain quick insights
1. During the initial mobile app development phase using the paper prototypes
2. No formal lab required. It can be done anywhere
3. It is just done between the moderator and the participant
The results can include –
1. User’s comments in the form of “Thinking Aloud” i.e their emotions, confusion sources and the reason for the action.
Summative Test – Highly loyal tests to capture the metrics
1. Carried out at the end of the development stage
2. Validation of app usability at this stage
3. Answers the questions like – “How usable this product is?”
4. Offers the comparison against the competitor’s product
5. It can be conducted remotely or in usability labs via many tools available where users can do the test using computers or mobile devices.
The summative test results can include –
1. The success rate to achieve the goal
2. The time spent to complete the task
Amount of Users Required for the conduction of test
Complicated Usability tests are a waste of resources. The best usability test results can be gained from testing no more than 5 users. You can run as many small tests as you can afford.
It is widely assumed that the 5 participants for the testing are more than enough for better usability testing results.
What is the Procedure to Prepare the Test Plan?
Its a really good question to start with. If you are really into this then take a quick look to the below points and give them a thought.
1. Decide which areas you need to concentrate on.
2. Determine potential usability issues.
3. Determine which task you want to test.
Mobile app development has many phases on which you can perform the usability testing. The mobile app usability testing can help you to understand the user’s behavior and observe what is in demand to attract the users to your application.
At present, in the era of digitization, the myth “never talk to your users” is totally untrue. You need to observe your users and see if they are facing any kind of issues to operate your app. Don’t think that your work is over after the launch. It’s still left.