If one studies multiple successful mobile apps and games, one can find that they are incredibly accessible with a navigation approach that is intuitive enough. For aligning a design and idea with established norms of different platforms, there is no substitute other than usability testing.
According to Localytics, nearly 20% of apps are never used after being used once. About 50% of the total downloaded apps are used more than five times on an average. The window for developers to impress users is shut pretty quickly. First impressions are important, especially to boost retention rates and get the edge over the huge competition of a million apps.
To extract actionable data from tests is highly pricey but here are some practical tips for successful mobile app testing:
#1. Create a Mock up
Starting with a user-centric design will always pay dividends and can save yourself a lot of time and money before the actual development begins. There’s no reason one can’t mock up a UI with simple screenshots and then design the same with an actual size smartphone. One can think about how potential users would expect to interact with the app and design the mock up likewise. The paper design can be changed too, easily.
#2. Examine How People Interact
With every usability test you conduct, for a functional app on a smartphone or just a prototype, one should provide minimal guidance so that you can detect genuine failure points. Recording what is on screen is not entirely important. Instead, one should observe people and their facial expressions and body language. Are they getting irritated or frustrated with the app or is it what they need. Close observation will always produce best insights.
#3. Test in the Real World
If you can conduct tests in real world in public then you might check on the usability of your app that cannot be replicated in a controlled environment. Conducting tests in real environments is a good idea to assess how intuitive the design really is. Testers from different demographics who will be using your app in real world conditions can deliver different insights than those who are living in relaxed atmosphere.
#4. Keep it Short and Simple
Every long test is complicated and the users will have a tough time to stay focused and interested in longer apps. If there are too many test parameters, they’re less representative of actual end users. This is important when surveys are held for reward or for free amongst the public on the usage of an app.
#5. Use of Varied Platforms and Devices
Try to let people use devices that they are comfortable with, wherever possible. Then the features of the device itself will not be a distraction and one can cover more variations and data. If the app is released on more than one platform, then make sure you get users for all such platforms too and check whether the app fulfils the differences in expectations especially in terms of navigation.
#6. Ask Right Questions
The right observation is the primary and the most essential source of data during usability tests. One should be careful on what to ask and always focus on getting actionable data. Let the users elaborate on their experience where possible, so that they can convey what they mean about using the app and you avoid misconstruing any answers.
#7. Assess and Act
Aggregate the data you collect and create a meaningful plan based on the results. Don’t let personal opinions and bias cloud the actions. Act on things that were mentioned by end users and do not give importance to particular testers only. Take your time and work on specific parts if it’s needed.
#8. Prepare App Functional Requirements List
Assuming that your test team detects app defects efficiently, it is important that one should plan based on functional requirements and different scenarios for the future. This process may sound tedious but is incredibly important.
#9. Create a Testing Team of Different Representatives
When creating a testing team, appoint professionals of different spheres with testing background. Involve representatives from other departments too so that they help in determining a solution for the problem through their field of expertise.
#10. Test Your App on Emulators and App GUI
All mobile application development platforms support different emulators and simulators for app testing on real devices. One can test app changes quickly and easily. Mobile users prefer using a GUI that is simple to operate. And if they are not clear on how your app functions, they will immediately uninstall the app too. So it is essential to have an app that boasts of a user-friendly interface.
Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing iOS app development services provider company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.