In the mobile application market today, the one thing that is now increasingly important is—experience. The smoother the app is to use, the more comfortable your user feels. UI/UX designers design the app with this one requirement. Unfortunately, developing the app to suit every user’s preferences is not possible. Furthermore, testing your design with a small group of users does not necessarily mean the larger audience will feel the same. In these cases, designers and product managers adopt Usability testing. These tests can be tricky given our biases, but there are some ways you can employ to gain ranks in the app market.
Fundamentals of Usability Testing
Usability testing is the most common technique to check how usable your interface is from the human-centered design framework. It is a qualitative method that focuses on the actions that the user performs instead of what the user says. Its main objectives are:
- To get insights from the users.
- To try and match the user’s expectations.
- To check if the design is matching business decisions to real-world use.
- To check if the elements are working as intended.
- To get user’s reactions, criticism, and feedback.
It is a basic form of testing and is deployed when the app is at its initial design stage, saving on a lot of money and time. It allows the designers to estimate whether the app is on the right track. It’s easy to create and facilitate a usability test, but the very nature of the usability testing makes it an iterative process. There are five aspects to Usability testing:
- Speed: The speed of your mobile app entirely governs how often users will use your app. A faster interface will help users engage in the app more often. Having a fingerprint login is much quicker than having a pin authentication. Simple changes like these can help improve your app’s speed and help your app grow faster.
- Learnability: Having an app designed in a complex and intricate way can be confusing to the users, no matter how useful the app might be. The aim of the app should be to pass the knowledge of the app’s features in a simple yet effortless way. Making your app easy to learn and having aesthetic graphics to enhance learning can grab your target audience’s attention
- Efficiency: Efficiency is at the core of every app, and usability testing helps knockout issues that affect efficiency. Navigation within your app should be made very accessible, and a consistent format should be maintained on all your screens. There should not be broken elements or distracting elements that will frustrate the users. Options like in-app search will make it much easier for users to access information.
- Memorability: Mental models play a significant role in governing the usability of your application. Users often rely on their memory to access some elements like the menu bar on the top left and a search bar on the top. Reserving these spaces for conventional features can help users have a very satisfying experience with your app. It helps them learn the other controls very quickly.
- User Preference: It all comes down to User preference for making the app more user friendly. Controls should be straightforward to operate, and learning time for other functions should be as less as possible. Having a help index in your app will make the users understand most of the features.
Let’s look at the tools employed to knock out the usability kinks in your app:
UX Design Testing and Usability
UX design and usability often go hand-in-hand. Every design is based on making the app more user-friendly and accessible. There is a long process involved in this starting off from a basic prototype to finding your target audience. To make this process easier on the UX designers and product managers there are some tools you can use to check the usability of your app. (remote testing)
- User Session replays: Monitoring, capturing, replaying, and recording of user sessions allows you to see all their activities in proper order. It also gives you insights into how your app performed against the users’ activities. The video session replay tool for the app has a robust feedback mechanism that helps you understand why the particular user performed the specific action.
- Touch heatmaps: Heatmaps are one of the most powerful tools when it comes to UX Analytics. It provides a way for Product Managers and UI/UX teams to understand, analyze, and measure user behavior. Touch heatmaps can capture every micro-interaction. It tracks every touch and makes it much easier to get a comprehensive analytics report.
- App Crashlytics: App crashes are among the most frustrating bugs that every developer and UX designers face. Tools like ANR session replay, stack traces, and exception analytics can help the UX designers understand what went wrong with the app. It is quite crucial because app crashes are one of the significant reasons for user dropouts.
- User Analysis: Understanding the application’s user is another essential part of the UX designer toolkit. User Analysis allows you to track user sessions through unique identifications. Performance Analytics will help you monitor mobile app screen load time and API response times on user devices. Furthermore, you can analyze the data based on slow screens, slow APIs, user signal strength, and network types.
- UX Analytics: UX Analytics is the measurement and analysis of user activity on a mobile app or website that provides qualitative and quantitative insights into the platform’s design. This information can be used to recognize the needs of the user, rectify any design loopholes, and improve the overall quality of the product. By tracking, capturing, and viewing the different events and critical gestures, you will be in a better position to understand the user issues and the reasons that made them drop out of a session.
- User Journey Analytics: Evaluating your user’s journey through the app also helps in understanding usability problems. Through user journey analytics, you can get the complete sequence of steps, events, and app responses to get a quick understanding of the user session. It also helps in analyzing the most frequently used journeys in the app, the journeys where user’s dropout the most, journeys where users experience the most exceptions.
Although each of these UX testing techniques is different and solves unique problems, let’s look at how it helps to incorporate usability in your mobile app:
- Learnability: Tools like Session Replay, User Analysis, and User Journey Analytics enhance the learnability aspect of usability. Using these tools, it is easy to get insights into the user’s action and see if they learned the features easily or if they found any difficulty. An interface is only useful if the functions it performs and the way it operates can be determined without much hassle.
- Efficiency: All of the tools mentioned above helps you gauge the effectiveness of your app. You can view how each user interacts with the elements, their gestures, their responses, etc. It also helps in determining the navigation and uniformity between screens.
- Speed: Session Replays, User Analysis, User Journey analytics can help identify problems that lead to a slow interface. A slow interface also leads to an increase in user dropouts. The speed of your interface can be easily determined through the video, and appropriate back-end/front-end changes can be made.
- Memorability: Tools like Mobile app heatmaps, UX Analytics can help you judge the mental models of the app structure. Heatmaps help collate a variety of user data, which can help you place elements in spots that rely on the memorability of the feature. For example, if you are setting up a music player app, having the controls in the lower half of the screen can help the user grasp your app very quickly as it is followed in most music players.
- User Preferences: All of the above tools are built around user preferences. Heatmaps allow you to see the most used elements and place valuable or actionable features in those places. UX Analytics helps in building a streamlined flow to your app. It also helps in finding distracting elements, decreasing dropout rates, and learning the gestures so that the app can be tailored for elite user experience.
The golden rule of interface design is—” Know the user” and usability helps in understanding the users better. Having your UX tests redesigned to incorporate usability in the mix helps increase conversions and active users. Usability is at the center of any UX designer’s toolkit, and enforcing it brings about a robust and powerful app that checks all the boxes.