6 Easy Steps To Perform User Testing For Your App
There are multiple phases in an app development project and hence, user testing is sometimes ignored. But this step is critical to the success of your app. It is something that should never be ignored throughout the development stage or after your app has been launched. In essence, user testing eliminates issues, finds bugs and enhances the user experience of your app. If you haven’t been through this road before, it might come across as a challenge to begin with. Like, how to conduct user testing for your app or website? When do you begin user testing? There are multiple questions but we feel you are at the right place. We have created this extensive guide to help you know the intricacies of user testing and explain how it works.
What is User Testing?
User testing is the method of testing the functionality and interface of an app or a website. The objective is to realise if the app or website is good to launch. You are basically testing the usability of the app like real people conduct particular tests in a real testing environment. It is the best way to know if your app can be used effortlessly by a user who isn’t familiar with it.
If you are into the mobile app development business, you can’t test your mobile app’s usability yourself without being biased. Typically, testing should be undertaken by someone who is neutral and doesn’t know how and what the app is expected to do. From a design perspective, user testing is extremely important. Even though you feel that the design of your app is up to date, you will need to run usability tests to be sure it does. It is understood that user testing should be done before launching the app but you should not stop doing it after the app is live. It is a never-ending process and is simply one of the best ways to constantly improve the app’s UI/UX design simply because you discover new updates and modifications.
Let us look at the steps to conduct user testing.
Like many things in life, the first step of user testing is to establish clear goals. It is important to get the answer to this question before you move ahead. Your user testing objectives will vary based on the current state of your app development cycle. For instance, some developers would like to run tests before starting the development phase. These kinds of tests will be based on the discovery and user research elements of your target audience and what they are actually expecting in your app. Now, because you don’t have the final product in front of you, the objective will be completely different from a user test conducted just before launching the app. The ideal way to begin is with concept testing and card sorting to see how end users will interact with your app. User testing is not just about getting a general feedback of your app. It is about trying to recognise particular sets of problems and how to encounter them.
Choose Your Testing Method
Secondly, you will need to determine how you are going to undertake these tests. There are four categories to choose from:
- In-person moderated
- In-person unmoderated
- Remote moderated
- Remote unmoderated
There are advantages and disadvantages of each different method.The moderated sessions will give more detailed information because you will be able to ask questions and confront the testers simultaneously. The disadvantage of a moderated session is that it is not natural for end users. If you are trying to replicate a real scene, end users would not have any assistance or real-time communication while using the app. There are some difficulties with in-person testing as well because it is manually exhaustive and needs to be scheduled thoroughly. On the other hand, unmoderated tests are the best way to take maximum tests at a minimal cost. There is a possibility to test users in a natural environment. But, you might lose the capability to communicate in a real-time scenario. Having said that, there is no right or wrong on the type of user testing that you choose as it all depends on your preferences and business requirements.
Encourage Users To Participate
Once you choose your preferred method, it is time to find real users to take part in your tests. Try not to select random people or you won’t get accurate results. By this time, you would have already figured out the target audience for your app. However, try to look further than the most commonly used demographics like age, sex, marital status and location. In this case, behavioral targeting is much more useful. Hence, try to find people who are already using apps similar to yours. By encouraging these users to participate, you will get more valuable feedback rather than just inviting someone because of a particular age or gender.
Prepare a Testing Environment
Now, as you have the testers, it is time to get ready for the test. What parameters are you testing for? Look back to the goals that you determined in step 1. You will use these goals to develop goals for the user to complete. You will finally create a task list which is also known as the testing script. Try to establish a real-time scenario for the users. Take a look at some of the goals you can list for your app testing:
- Search for a black shirt.
- Add a large sized red shirt to your cart.
- Create a user profile.
- Complete a purchase that is eligible for free shipping
- Save your billing information for future purchases.
- Complete the purchase with your credit card saved on file.
In this test, you are not telling the users how to do the tasks. You just have to tell them what needs to be done. It allows the users to naturally explore your apps and the usability which will give you the best usability testing results.
Run The Test
This is a self-explanatory step after you have done all the hard work. Actually, this is one of the simplest tasks in the entire process. If you follow everything we have listed in the above steps, you will not have to do much here. Your users will be ready with the testing materials to fulfill your goals. With moderated testing, try to remind the users to think out loud as they finish each task. For instance, a user might tighten their lips or show some kind of frustration. However, it is best if the user verbally expresses those problems instead of you guessing what is bothering them. Irrespective of the type of the test, you need to encourage the users to fill out the feedback form as it will be quite fresh in their mind. If they answer the questions at some other time, you might not get accurate results.
Analyze and Modify
The test is not over once the practice test is finished. You still need to study the results and come up with modifications. Apart from the user feedback, you should also go back and observe the data. For instance, the time taken by users to complete the task. Try to see if there is some discrepancy between the time taken by all the users. This will give you a better idea of the difficulty of the task and how you can make some changes to reduce this time for the majority of the users. These metrics are useful and once they have been recognised, it is time to devise a plan to enhance the app. More often than not, you will have to make some design changes to improve the user experience of your app.
User testing is pivotal to the success of any app or website. It is one of the most critical stages in the design process of your app too. You must never ignore the true value of user testing. Whether you are still in the wireframe phase or ready to launch, you will be amazed at the usefulness of these reflections for the UX of your mobile app. If you are battling with the idea of user testing and do not know where to begin, just go through the detailed steps listed in this extensive guide. If there is still any issue, please feel free to drop your questions in the comments section or contact us and we will be happy to help.
Dhruvil is a Writer & Marketeer for Nimblechapps, joining December 2014, based out of Sydney, Australia. He has worked briefly as a Branding and Digital Marketing Manager before moving to Australia. At Nimblechapps, he worked on Social Media Marketing, Branding, Email Marketing and Blogging. Dhruvil studies Business at University of Western Sydney, and also handles Operations for the company in Australia.