Why you need to be user testing?
App development is a complex process which involves many different people and stages. Due to this, user testing is often overlooked by developers. However, we believe that this step from the development cycle is crucial to the performance and success of your app. It’s something that you should do throughout the development process and after your app has been launched.
Overall, user testing helps you to eliminate problems, find bugs, and optimise the UX of your app. If you’ve never been through this process before, getting started with app user testing can feel like a daunting challenge. How do you conduct user testing? When should you start user testing? What should you be testing?
Let’s answer these questions, and more!
What is User Testing?
User testing is the process of testing the interface and functions of your app. The purpose of these tests is to determine if the product is ready for launch. You’re checking the usability of your app as real people perform specific tests in a realistic testing environment. And the most important question, you have to answer is:”Can your app be used naturally by a person who isn’t familiar with it?”
Therefore, tests must be conducted by people who are neutral and don’t know how the app is supposed to work. From a UI and UX design perspective, user testing is an absolute must. Even if you think the design of your app is perfect, you’ll need to run tests to confirm your hypothesis.
Steps of user testing
1. Define your goals
When you want to achieve something in life, the first you do is to define your goals the same is valid for user testing. What exactly do you want to test? You can’t start until you answer this question.
Your usability testing goals depend on where your app is in the development lifecycle. Some developers prefer to run tests before the actual development phase begins. These types of tests are centred around the discovery, exploration, and user research of your target market and what they expect in your app.
When you run tests during the development, your goals should be centred on validation related to the user experience. Even if things look good according to you and your team, you need to test those theories from a UI/UX perspective when your design team has implemented the elements.
Usability testing is not about gathering generic feedback for your app. You should be using these tests to identify specific problems. Try to focus your goals around this concept.
For example, if your product is an online shop, try to determine if your navigation is intuitive or not, you can ask yourself questions like:
- Can a mobile user easily search for a specific product?
- Can users easily add items to their shopping cart?
- Can users complete the checkout process with minimal friction?
2. Determine the testing method
You should determine how you’re going to conduct the tests. There are different ways to do this, but these are the main options:
- In-person moderated
- In-person unmoderated
- Remote moderated
- Remote unmoderated
Moderated sessions offer deeper insights since you can ask questions, and get feedback, and follow-up with testers in real-time. The downside of a moderated session is that it’s unnatural for users. If you’re trying to emulate real-life scenarios, app users wouldn’t have any guidance or real-time communication with a third party while using the app.
In-person testing has its challenges too. It’s more labour-intensive, and have to deal with scheduling. People tend to feel pressure and want to say “say the right thing” when someone is watching them – and this is not very useful for you.
Unmoderated remote sessions are the easiest way to get more done for a lower cost. Also, users will be in a more natural environment. However, you lose the ability to communicate in real-time.
3. Choose your participants
It’s best not to select random people for your tests. If you do this, you won’t get accurate test results. Best case scenario, you’ve identified a target market for your app, but look beyond the demographics like age, sex, marital status, and location. Behavioural targeting is much more valuable. Try to look for users who are already using apps which are similar to yours.
People who have an interest and experience in what your app is trying to accomplish are more valuable than a random user who happens to be a certain age and gender.
4. Prepare the testing environment
What exactly are you going to be testing? Look at your goals and use them to create objectives for the user to complete.
Set up a realistic scenario for your users. In these scenarios, you’re not telling the participants how to complete the tasks. Instead, you’re just telling them what you want them to do. The idea is to allow your participants to naturally engage with your app and its usability – this will provide you with the best usability testing results.
If you’re doing the test in-person, you’ll have to prepare a testing environment. Is the test happening at your office? Where will the participants be sitting? You should have to determine these things before the test. It’s crucial to make sure the testing environment doesn’t interfere with the user experience.
5. Run the test
After all of your hard work, it’s time to conduct user testing for your app.
Maybe not so surprisingly, this is the easiest step in the process. If you did everything else, there’s not much for you to do here. Your participants will already be recruited and have the testing materials to complete your desired objectives.
The test should end with debriefing and follow-up questions. That is an important part of the design process, and it shouldn’t be neglected.
Follow-up questions and feedback need to be completed immediately after the test, while everything is still fresh in the participant’s mind. If they answer these questions at another time, the results won’t be accurate.
6. Analyse and improve
After the testing is done you have to analyse your data.
Aside from the direct feedback from your participants, you should observe measurable data. For example, how long did it take them to complete one step of a particular task? The length of time it takes someone to complete an action is a good indication of how difficult it was. These metrics are always helpful.
When these observations have been identified, it’s time to make a plan with your team to improve the app. You’ll likely need to make some UI/UX design adjustments to enhance your app.
User testing is crucial to the success of every app. Also, this is the most important part of the design phase of your app.
You shouldn’t neglect the value of user testing. Whether you’re still prototyping or ready for launch, you’d be surprised by how helpful and useful these insights will be to the UX of your app.
If you’re struggling with the user testing and don’t know where to start, follow the step-by-step process outlined in this guide.
For those of you who feel that the user testing and development of an app, are too complicated processes, and prefer someone else to build an app for them – don’t hesitate to contact us!