6 Best Usability Testing Methods for Mobile Apps

Written By Prateek Sharma

Usability testing methodsAround 22% of mobile phone users, aged 25-40 years, spend 3-4 hours on their phones—and that even excludes checking work-related emails.

Apart from surfing the internet, people tend to spend a lot of time on mobile apps like chat messengers, dating apps, e-commerce apps, stock market apps, etc. If the UI of a mobile app is confusing, the app will not gain users.

Therefore, mobile app user testing is crucial for optimizing your app by fixing issues, both major and minor, for a seamless user experience.

The Play Store and App Store are flooded by innumerable apps, but most of them fail to leave their mark. Ever wondered why this happens? What could be the possible reason(s) behind this?

Here’s the answer:

A small loophole becomes the biggest pitfall for different apps that fail to please users. A lethargic UI, lack of features, poor user experience, and inadequate mobile app usability testing are some common reasons that beat down the app.

In this post, I’ll show you all you need to know about usability testing methods for mobile applications. From preparation and testing methods (and when to implement them) to best practices and testing tools, after you finish reading, you’ll have a much better grasp of this important area of mobile app development.

Usability Testing Preparation

Before you conduct usability testing, discussing a couple of points with the team reduces potential hassles. The discussion will help in identifying the goal, narrowing it, and selecting the right mobile app usability testing method.

By focusing on the goals that have been figured out during the team discussion, it becomes easier to understand what users think about the overall product design and core functionality:

  • How users will navigate the app
  • How a specific task would be performed
  • What the duration of a specific task will be
  • How easy to understand the app content is

After getting a clear picture of the set of goals, understanding the user testing elements comes next.

User Testing Elements

User testing elements are vital for setting up the wireframe of mobile apps. Below is a list of steps that are followed for mobile app user testing for android and iOS mobile applications:

  • Creating prototype
  • Planning advance tests
  • Devising a test plan
  • Building a test group
  • Conducting tests and obtaining results
  • Improving the mobile app received by users
usability testing methods
Source: Medium

Mobile App Usability Testing Methods

“How to test mobile app usability” is a question yet to be answered. What are the best methods for performing mobile app usability testing? Next, we’ll throw light on the most prominent usability testing methods for mobile applications.

Moderated Testing (In-Person Tests)

Lab Testing- Lab testing evaluates how simple it is for the user to accomplish a defined set of tasks on an app. These tests are expensive and performed in a restrained environment, meaning they do not reflect the actual customer base.

Guerrilla TestingTesting the usability of a mobile application gets simplified with guerrilla testing. It allows performing tests in virtual environments. Companies often choose testing participants for guerrilla testing randomly, in exchange for lucrative offers or coupons.

Remote Testing

Video Calling– This is one of the widely used usability testing methods when the testing team is working remotely. The participants are monitored and their work is remotely tracked, also known as eye-tracking.

Being an economical solution for testing the mobile app, this method helps in gaining more data from extensive areas in shorter time frames.

usability testing methods
Source: Slim Form

Card Sorting- Card sorting is quite an interesting mobile app usability testing method. What makes it interesting is the inclusion of the target audience. 

The right audience helps in the growth of the app intended for them. When the testing team includes the intended audience for testing the app, the growth of the app in all aspects is guaranteed. This will help in gaining a better understanding depending on the usage of the app by the target audience. If the target audience is diverse, targeting all of them will fetch even better results.

Session Recordings

Session recordings are regarded as an effective usability testing method. The audio and video of the user sessions are recorded for detecting design and usability issues. It is a credible method because it helps the app developers to figure out the usability issues while an individual interacts with the app.

When To Implement Mobile App Usability Testing Methods

Mobile app usability testing is a streamlined process. The target audience uses the app and gives feedback on existing issues they face. The development team, along with the testing team, analyzes grievances to fix the glitch.

The testing phases of every application vary based on the development stage. Below, you can find a list of mobile app usability testing methods:

Prototype User Testing

Prototype user testing is the method that should be implemented when you are still setting up the wireframe of the whole app. With this approach, you’ll save a lot of time and resources.

MVP User Testing

MVP user testing is the method that must be implemented before the initial version of the mobile app is rolled out. Conducting maximum usability tests helps in adjusting all parts that might affect the functionality of the final version.

Live App Tests

Live App Tests are the most common usability testing approach. Soon after launching the app, collect data from users. Based on their inputs, you can proceed to make further changes and amendments or fix bugs.

Source: Pusher

Practices For Mobile App Usability Testing

Following certain practices is vital for mobile app user testing. By following these practices, overcoming the nuances and challenges does not remain daunting. These suggestions can help in making the mobile app deployment a success.

Do Away With The Prototype

You can gain better insights related to the mobile app design by testing it on actual Android and iOS devices. Using it on different devices would roll out different results and, eventually, sorting out device compatibility-related issues can be addressed effortlessly.

Diverse Test Group

Diverse options will always chalk out better ideas to help build a better mobile app. Muster different mobile users in the test group for diverse results. If yours is a target audience of different age groups, then including them would bring the best results.

Team Size Matters

To make sure that the mobile app sustains the cut-throat competition, ensure that the test group comprises more than five participants. Diverse brains in the team would easily fix most issues related to the design of the application.

For example, if there are seven members in a testing group, then each member can use the app to share the idea that contributes to the better performance of the app.

Watch Out For The Testing Environment

Users would be using the application in different environments, and that’s obvious. Hence, you must be considerate of the testing environment. To set up a testing environment, the must-haves include networking, server, system and applications, frontend running environment, etc.

Testing environments would help in fixing usability issues faced by the users. To make sure that nothing hampers the testing process, every inclusion in the environment should be updated to the latest version.

Short Testing Sessions

The second most important priority, apart from mobile usability testing, should be the duration of testing sessions. Although everything depends on the progress, all team members involved in usability testing must give their best shot to maintain the pace for keeping testing sessions short.

Keeping the testing duration short will result in saving resources and time. Moreover, it will also help in addressing initial issues or bugs.

Usability Testing Tools

The list below will help you in choosing the right tool to check the usability of the mobile application. Using these tools would curb the possible roadblocks and aid in creating a visually pleasing mobile app.

  • Lookback. Offers different features like capturing screen touch on mobile sessions, creating highlights, building highlight reels, easy collaboration with teams, exporting data, and more.
  • UserZoom. UserZoom is preferred because it is easy to use, swift, and helps in creating surveys quickly.
  • UserLytics. UserLytics has been configured for team meetings, live conversations while testing, tree testing, multi-channel testing, etc.
  • CleverTap. It is a perfect tool for startups in the mobile app development and testing industry. It has features like user identification, campaigns, marketing operations, and more.

With the Right Approach, It All Becomes Simpler

Mobile application usability testing might seem to be a challenging task. But, all roadblocks vanish when you’ve set up goals for the usability testing process by picking up the right approach.

From learning how to prepare well to selecting the best usability testing method and knowing when to implement it, the process of testing your mobile app will be greatly simplified if you follow the best practices I highlighted in this post.

Last but not least, using testing tools like LookBack, UserZoom, CleverTap, and Userlytics stated above would be a great aid to measure the success rate of the app. Adapt everything carefully and witness the increasing number of app downloads.