Let’s start by answering the question, “What is mobile usability testing?”. A mobile usability test is used by many individual app developers and companies to assess how a normal individual would interact with their application before they launch it.
Mobile app usability testing can enable developers to know exactly what they have to change or add to their application before it can be usable by any customer or public.
The development of this practice has enabled many app creators to produce better and more effective applications that are created with the sole purpose of improving overall user experience.
Mobile app usability testing is characterized by the following:
- It has information regarding why you are doing this process and its major objectives,
- It should also include the method which will be used to carry out the testing procedure,
- It should have a task list – this refers to the various activities the participant is required to do in order to collect different data,
- It has all the important tools necessary for the test (adding the appropriate environment for the test is also a necessity),
- It has the collected data and focus area for testing, as well the method by which it will be analyzed,
- It also contains a section on reporting the content and making a presentation about it.
Mobile Usability Testing Methods
We already know that in order to conduct mobile app usability testing you will need the application. In addition to this, your plan also includes the methodology with which you will conduct this test.
Lab method and remote testing are among the most common usability evaluation methods for mobile applications. These two methods are unique, they also have specific advantages and disadvantages. Let us pay more attention to the lab-based method:
Lab method for determination of the mobile apps usability
Testing mobile app usability using this method is widely popular. It is done by asking selected individuals (participants) to perform a variety of tasks in your app.
This method uses some important components such as:
- An optional webcam,
- Recording software,
- A test location, and
- A test facilitator.
These components are explained in more detail as follows:
The use of video cameras indicates the importance of recording the moves the participant will make while using the application.
The recorded information can be taken from two different positions. In the first setup the video camera does not move (it is stationary). The second setup has the video camera attached to a cradle. This cradle holds the mobile device with the application.
In order to record data with the mobile setup, the tester is advised to hold the cradle as they execute the different task on in the application.
A very impressive breakthrough is the use of DIY setups to perform app’s functionality, usability and consistency tests, some of which can be 20 minutes to set up. Although these kinds of setups have been really successful, they have some drawbacks.
Some of the disadvantages of using such setups are the additional weight and their reduced durability. This setup is usually difficult to move from one location to another (not portable).
The cradle method enables a participant to use the application as they would normally use any other. It is very accurate because it takes into account the state of motion of the individual, which in many cases is mobile.
Mobility is not taken into account for the fixed camera test. This is the biggest disadvantage this method has compared to the cradle method. The most discouraging component involved with the cradle method has to be the additional weight of the cradle. Some users find this uncomfortable during the tests’ period.
Use of a webcam
It is not really necessary to use webcams during mobile app examination. However, some individuals use it to record the various facial expressions made by the user as they interact with the application.
Analyzing these facial expressions will enable app developers to know which features attract the most attention and which ones do not.
The software required to record the necessary information
In order for the app usability test to be complete, the facilitator has to be able to analyze data on a screen. This can only be made possible with particular software.
Some software has also been developed to display data on different monitors by using a network. This is especially important when several stakeholders are involved.
In most cases, the fixed setup and cradle-based cameras have the unique software. However, in some instances, this may not be the case. Therefore, there are many different tools that can be used to record the data required during the test.
The test location
The ideal place for carrying out testing was special labs. However, with the rapid rise in technology, using specially equipped laboratories and bigger teams is not really necessary.
Nowadays, it is possible to create your own room for tests. It is an easy way to save a lot of money but still create an effective venue. However, if that is what you choose to do, make sure you have good lighting, which will play a very important role during all processes.
The test facilitator
The last piece to the puzzle is a facilitator. The facilitator simply helps you to make sure that the test goes according to the plan. They must be able to address any complications that may arise during the test.
This implies that the facilitator must be a highly qualified individual. They must understand what they see on their screen and interpret or explain it with ease.
Tools for Mobile Usability Testing
The following are the most common tools to use:
Imagine the possibility of running the beta format version of your application? Well, according to Watchsend, this is now a reality.
For many app developers, saving money is very important. Watchsend enables these developers to gather a lot of information concerning their application before they can proceed to launch it.
This tool records every interaction a user has with your application. This includes all the screens the user accesses, the keys the press and all other actions.
After gathering all this information, you can carefully select the data you require to make an evaluation of your application.
The major advantage of using Watchsend has the ability to test your beta version, here you can assess whether your app is being interacted with the way you initially planned for it to be.
In order to set it up, you are required to add code to your application. This is primarily for the ability to run in the background and record all the interactions of the user with the application.
The tests with Watchsend are free. However, this is only for not more than 100 recordings for a 30 day period.
Another incredible user tool. This tool enables you to watch different videos of users interacting with your app.
UXCam is designed for either Android or iOS. The features of this tool allow it to keep track of all the possible events in the application. Therefore, it has been considered a big game changer by many app developers.
It also enables you to analyze the behavior of users and gives you a chance to make corrections to a number of complications your users may come across interacting with your app.
So, why would you consider using this tool? Well, it basically speaks for itself in this regard. The ability to visualize important data is a good reason to automatically consider it. You will then put in some measures to make the UX even more impressive.
Developers do not need to worry about privacy issues. UXCam only works if there is consent from both parties.
As far as documentation tools are concerned, UXCam is really doing a great job. Like Watchsend, it is absolutely free for the first 100 videos within a month period.
Adobe Edge Inspect (Shadow)
Adobe Edge Inspect is a tool that has been specially created for app designers and developers to look at the design of their app on several mobile devices.
Individuals with either Windows or Mac computers can use this tool. The most important part is that you have access to Google Chrome.
The most important function played by this tool is connecting many devices and editing where necessary. You can then proceed to refresh Google Chrome on the connected devices and they will automatically be updated to the latest page you create.
It is a tool that is present on either Android or iOS stores. This stool only works when two devices are used collectively.
This means you either need to have a Mac and iOS mobile device or a Mac and Android mobile device. Each scenario requires a Mac computer.
Skala Preview is one of the best was developers can transfer high-quality design previews from their computer (Mac) to their mobile device.
This enables them to test both the tap and text sizes. Color and ergonomics can also be tested with Skala Preview.
One of the best features of this tool is doing these tests in the design phase of the application removing the need to make any live edits. The consequence of this is a better design without any hassle.
It is considered as one of the best tools out there. It enables the developers to have information like card sorting, tree testing and so on. It mainly functions in three basic fields:
- Acting as a solution hub for businesses,
- Making sure various survey can be modified. This includes their general appearance, the questionnaires, etc.
- A benchmark through competitive analysis.
USERZoom can be counted upon to get the required data in a short period of time. This can be as low as a few hours. In addition, you will be able to get the qualitative and quantitative data as well. Qualitative data refers to anything that is connected with user experience (UX) while the quantitative data involves the number of taps on a particular key.
USERZoom is highly rated. Perhaps, the biggest disadvantage it has is the price tag. Unlike the other tools on this list, User Zoom only comes with a trial version.
Therefore, it is encouraged for individuals to actually have a budget if they want to work with this tool. For the same amount of results, you can use the less expensive options like UXCam and Watchsend, which are also included on this list.
Google’s Friendly Test
This is another tool that can be used without the worry of spending any amount of money. Although that is convenient, it cannot be considered as just another tool with a cheap price.
It is actually a tool that is equipped to conduct the mobile-friendly test. Google’s Friendly Test is a product of Google and many devices use Chrome as their browser.
So, what follows the testing process? Well, after this process you will be required to gather all the information and begin to look through it. It is important to remember that the data you collected, as stated above, can be either qualitative or qualitative.
Your qualitative data refers to all the metrics, this includes information such as time taken to complete a specific task, the number of times an individual successfully accomplishes a task, the number of times they make mistakes and many others.
Under qualitative data, you can be able to assess the various routes the participants used to accomplish certain tasks, some of the common complications they came across and the individual answers to the questionnaire.
When it comes to mobile usability testing best practices, our team always stays ahead. Lunapps has dedicated developers who will work effectively to complete your project. Every important point on the mobile usability testing checklist is considered with the experts. By using great precision, we will be able to test your app and guarantee a successful launch. Contact us now.