Usability testing: a step towards the understanding the customer’s needs

/ 22nd September, 2014 / Tips and Tricks
Usability testing: a step towards the understanding the customer’s needs

The successful promotion of any application is impossible without the analyses of its real use by the end customers. That is why the usability testing is an essential part of the release and promotion of any mobile application.

Traditionally we will start with the definition of this term in order to understand how usability testing works and what its main benefits are.

What is usability testing?

Usability Testing is the type of testing, which allows to estimate how convenient any given application is for use. This type of mobile application testing reveals interface issues (including non-obvious ones) that can be faced by a potential user. After all, only users may know whether your application is convenient for them or whether it satisfies their needs and requirements.

The process of usability testing

In the process of testing, usability experts, in cooperation with designers and application developers, monitor the implementation of the user’s work with the application and collect the other feedbacks. The main aim of such testing is to see what works well and what is bad and what can be done for the mobile application improvement. Usability specialists run testing, working directly with users and take notes; designers, developers, and other specialists are also watching (usually from the next room or across the camcorder) and also take notes.

Usability specialists collect all the recorded data that has been combined and analyzed and cooperating with the designers and developers discuss noticed issues and their solutions. The results of usability testing are recommendations for improving the application.

Usability testing methods

The successful usability testing can be carried out with the help of the following means:

  • Fixed-site laboratory that has two or three connected rooms equipped with audio-video equipment.
  • Conference room, the user’s domestic space or workspace with the portable recording equipment.
  • Conference room, the user’s domestic space or workspace without the recording equipment. In this case there should be someone for observation and making notes.

Usability testing can also be carried out remotely when user is out in some other place assuming that the observer can watch user’s actions and communicate with user via phone or computer during the session.

Usability testing misbeliefs

The usability testing is rather complicated and not always understandable process. Due to its peculiarities it can cause some misbeliefs. Here we will discuss some of them:

    • User interface testing is equal to usability testing.
      Usability testing has nothing to do with the process of testing functionalities of the user interface. It is only performed on the user interface as well as on many other possible components of the mobile application. With that, testing type and test cases will be entirely different since we are talking about usability of non-visual components.
    • Usability testing can be carried without the expert’s participation.
      The person without expert knowledge of the subject area cannot always carry out this process on his/her own. Just imagine, the tester needs to test the usability of strategic bomber. He/she will have to check its main functions: the convenience of battling, navigation, piloting skills and surface movement. It is obvious that it will be impossible to check all this things without the expert.

Usability testing is a crucial part of the mobile application development since this process can help to understand the wishes and needs of the end customer, analyze what issues the user may have while working with the given application, what and how they can be removed therefore making the mobile application user friendly.

Don’t wait for negative feedback from your customers. Quickly turn your app into a flawless product with experienced usability testers.

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