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App Development
6 minutes read

Mobile Usability Testing Best Practices

By Diego Coronado
By Diego Coronado
App Development
6 minutes read

Mobile usability testing is one of the most reliable ways to ensure a powerful mobile UX. Through usability testing, a development team can easily identify potential problems in mobile apps. Although this involves additional work, it helps guarantee that any potential bugs or problems will be identified before your users find them.

When building apps for mobile devices, there are many things that can go wrong. One of the most common problems occurs because not every mobile device is the same. Different screen sizes on different mobile devices can sometimes produce bugs in your User Interface if they are not correctly configured. Testing for mobile usability considers this and helps prevent such issues.

Mobile usability considers more than just the right display of a UI on a mobile device. In fact, it is a complex aspect of app development that is usually done by specialized QA engineers as well as designers who are qualified to perform the right mobile usability testing best practices. They have the right testing tools and expertise to make sure your app delivers the best mobile UX.

To help you avoid the burdens of a poor mobile app experience, in this post, we discuss what mobile usability testing is and why it matters. 

What Is Usability Testing?

When it comes to building apps, it is important to perform the right tests in order to ensure quality. Aside from performing security tests, usability tests are one of the best ways to do so.

A usability test is a way to validate that a given design meets the requirements of representative users, sometimes also referred to as a specific target audience. This considers various aspects. On the one hand, it seeks to build a pool of users that meet certain criteria. This is done in order to validate specific aspects of the design. On the other hand, a usability test seeks to define the specific criteria that must be observed through the defined pool of users.

What Is Mobile Usability Testing?

A mobile usability test is a specific type of user testing approach that is used to validate the design aspects of a mobile app. Although many companies think of the development aspects of an app as the only ones that matter, mobile app design is also very important.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, one of the key aspects to validate in terms of a usability test is that the UI works correctly across different mobile devices. If this type of problem occurs, users might be unable to complete certain tasks, affecting the app’s mobile usability.

In general, the important aspects to consider when analyzing mobile usability can be divided into qualitative and quantitative elements of design. Among the former, analysts observe, through usability tests, general design issues users might encounter. User testing will point out that some design elements are more problematic than others. It is not enough to identify them. Analysts should find ways to solve them once they have been identified. 

In relation to quantitative aspects, it is important to measure the number of each individual issue as well as to measure usability over time in order to understand if a given change has a positive impact. 

In general, a usability test needs to be performed with each new update of a mobile app. This applies as well to any MVP or prototype. However, this may vary from case to case.

Usability Testing as an Iterative Process

In order to successfully implement mobile usability testing correctly, it is important to adopt an iterative process mentality through continuous user testing. This means that the process of performing usability tests never really ends. Testing for mobile usability requires constant tests with each new update of a mobile app. Doing so helps ensure that nothing is left to chance, helping guarantee the desired mobile UX.

Mobile usability testing is an iterative process. As mentioned, this means that a mobile app is never really finished. It just keeps improving as new features are added, always with the user at the center of each new iteration. Design thinking tools can be very useful to implement this mentality when performing usability testing for mobile devices.

Types of Mobile Usability Testing

When it comes to usability tests, there are three main methods to consider:

  • In-person: this face-to-face user testing method is performed by analysts who can lead the session. It is fundamental that the analysts have experience in order to properly execute the test and understand where problems arise. An empathic connection to users is desired.
  • Remote: a usability test can be performed through specialized remote tools like screen recording that can be installed on a mobile device to help analysts monitor and measure the different design elements and goals of the test. These testing tools help monitor users in their normal environment.
  • Guerrilla: this user testing approach helps analysts observe users without them being aware of it. Normally they are performed in informal environments, but this poses the risk of obtaining inaccurate and sometimes unreliable results.

How Do You Test Mobile App Usability?

Successful user testing of usability aspects for mobile devices should consider the following: 

  • Setting goals
  • Representative users
  • User testing

Setting Goals

Before anything else is done, it is important to discuss the user testing approach to be used as well as the design elements that need to be observed. Different aspects like how they will be tested, measured, and monitored should be taken into consideration.

Representative Users

Usability testing requires clearly establishing the type of users that will be observed. The better the demographics and psychographics of the user, the better results will be. It is important to establish whether they should use their own mobile devices or if they will be provided.

User Testing

Only once the other two elements have been clearly defined can a usability test be conducted. Analysts need to be careful when observing users and implementing the testing tool in order to avoid misdirecting the usability test. Results need to be discussed and analyzed before implementing changes to the mobile app.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Usability Testing

Performing a usability test for mobile apps can be daunting if your team does not have the necessary skills. This is something that is best left to professionals. Otherwise, you run the risk of obtaining biased results that might end up affecting your mobile app.

A key to any successful mobile usability testing process is to adopt an iterative approach that allows your mobile app to be continuously tested. One of the smartest decisions you can make is contacting an expert app development company that can help you do this. It will save you a lot of headaches and will help you ensure the quality of your mobile usability.

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