Usability testing is one of the most valuable tools when it comes to developing great mobile applications. The greatest factor about it is that it’s pretty easy. So, what is a usability test? Simply put, it’s getting real people to use your app, putting it in front of them, and walking them through a guided test while getting their honest feedback. Traditionally, the app owner, whether it’s from a startup or a large corporation, makes mobile applications and is internally focused. Therefore, they don’t see the big picture. They will try to, but it’s a whole different experience to put it in front of a user.
When you’re a programmer, designer, or an app developer, you don’t see things the way most people do. This is critical and an interesting thing that usability testing helps cut right through. Then, everyone who is an app owner or working on something that they’re passionate about should be user testing their mobile application.
How Do You Conduct A Usability Test?
There is a lot of ways to do it. The simplest way to do it is to think of a guerilla-style test. For example, a coffee shop or your favorite hangout where you can find people that are willing to be social. You can then pull someone aside and say, “hey, can I borrow you for half an hour and let me ask you some questions”? You can offer them a coffee or a gift card. You’re going to want to provide them with an incentive that will make it worth their time. The biggest key when you’re giving a test is to build rapport with the person using the mobile app. It’s essential to establish this connection and make them comfortable.
You want that person to be able to give their honest opinion and reactions and be open. You can start the conversation by asking them some get to you know you questions. This is a great way to understand the demographics of your audience and establish a casual conversation. Typically, we call it usability testing, but it’s essential to avoid the word “test.” The key to a usability test is to let the person know you’re testing the app, and not them.
The person that is testing the app for you can’t do anything wrong. So, it’s crucial that you make them fully aware of their honest feedback is the most important part. The goal of a great usability facilitator is to get honest feedback and reaction. By building that rapport is a crucial one and can be extremely fun. Therefore, if you like talking to people, this can be an exciting position for you.
At the same time, it’s important to remain neutral. You can be their friend, but you don’t want to react too much to what they are saying. You don’t want to be in the mindset that you have to please them.
Elements Of Usability Testing
Traditionally, you want to analyze their initial impressions. Initial impressions are where you get most of the interesting insights. You only gain a first impression once, and that gut reaction can tell you a lot about your mobile app. Therefore, ask them, “What do you think this app does”? There’s a couple of different ways to do this, and it depends on the type of app you’re testing.
For example, if it’s an application for a website, you would want to start with a blink test. This is where you will show them the website, typically the homepage, for five seconds. Then, you want to take it away from them and ask, “what do you remember most from that site”? When it comes to websites, you have a minimal time span to capture attention. If your call to action, central message, and branding doesn’t come through immediately, you might want to do a redesign. Sometimes unique things will jump out to a user when they first look at your site, and it may not be what you intended. So, you want to make sure those crucial elements are seen right away.
With a mobile app, this isn’t as crucial because they are going to use your application for a more general-purpose. They have downloaded something, and they are ready to interact with it. However, something to do for both mobile apps and web applications is an expectancy test. An expectancy test is where you ask, “what do you expect to happen here”? It may come as a surprise to you on what people think are clickable. It can be very challenging to develop consistency in iconographic language.
Tasks And Scenarios Of The Test
Once you go through the expectancy portion, you can jump into the tasks and scenarios of the testing. This step is the chunk of the test. The tasks and scenarios are about if your app can perform the necessary functions that are intended. This is usually best set up with a scenario.
Therefore, they will have the proper context, and they can get in that mindset. By using tasks and scenarios, you can help frame the person’s mind with what they are doing, and then give them a task. You want to keep the tasks reasonably simple. If there is a long and complicated process in your app, take it step-by-step, especially in the beginning. Your users will need a little bit of time to get familiar with something, and there’s often a learning curve.
So, you want to be aware of that, and you don’t want the person testing your app to get too frustrated. You want to keep your app simple, functional, and understandable. Usability testing, in general, helps you realize what is working and what’s not.
Usability testing is a massive part of the mobile app development process. It helps you to correct any user experience issues and gives you insight into how your mobile application function in the hands of real users. Usability testing allows you to find bugs within and get them fixed before you launch your app into the app stores. When seeking innovative mobile applications, Ecodelogic is the answer.