So, you are finished with all your mobile app development processes. Your mobile application is complete and ready to be launched. But wait as yet! Are you done with the user testing of your application?
If not, then you are still one step, and a very crucial step behind your app launch.
When you are planning to bring a mobile application for your business to go one step ahead in becoming more available and accessible to your customers, you have to look into a number of aspects and create several scenarios in your head. Mobile App Development is not as easy as it seems, there are a number of steps and technicalities involved. In this scenario, it often happens that you miss out on or overlook the user testing part since you have got so overwhelmed by the time you have finished the development of your mobile application.
However, user testing is a crucial step in the completion of your app development process. This is what actually lets you know if your app is ready to launch. And if you miss out on it, then there are huge chances of your application failing. Why is that?
Basically, user testing is a phase where you are able to determine the performance of your application and know if there are any issues encompassing it. As you get these insights, you are able to fix the problems, issues, and bugs, as well as optimize the UI/UX of the application for better performance.
Now, imagine if you launch your application without performing any of the abovementioned things. Your application is directly in the hands of your prospective leads and customers, in case any issue arises, the users are not having good experiences, they will simply bail out on your application, and no matter what you do later, the fact would be your application has already given out a bad experience and now it’s going to take a lot more to fix things when you could have actually saved all the trouble with just a user testing before the launch.
This clearly establishes the importance of user testing of the applications so as to achieve great application performance and success. However, as simple as it sounds, just like the entire mobile application development process, user testing is no less a daunting, challenging, and hectic task, especially if you are new to it. You can be overwhelmed with questions in your head like what is user testing about? How to go about it? What do I need to test? How do I start? When do I start? And there can be many more questions.
So, how do you go about the process? How do you make the process easier and smoother? Well, there are just six steps you need to know, and user testing will be a breeze for you.
However, before we get to that, let’s get into what actually user testing is!
What is User Testing?
User Testing is basically a process where you recruit and engage a group of experienced professionals to try your application before its launch to identify the potential issues and bugs as well as determine its performance and how engaging it is.
What you do is, establish a testing environment for your application where real people can use it as any other application and determine the usability of the app.
The application is judged basically on the user behaviors and patterns and the focus is on making sure that even unfamiliar users will find it easy to get on with the application.
Besides that, new opportunities for the application that can better its performance are also determined in these tests along with unfurling the already existing issues and fixing them at the best.
6 Steps for Efficient User Testing
User Testing is a daunting and challenging task, more so if you are very new at it. But just the right knowledge and everything becomes easier. Here are six steps to having the most efficient user testing for your applications.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
You need to know what you want to test in your application. User testing is about checking the performance of the applications, however, the parameters based on which you shall check the performance will vary for every application. So, you need to look into the purpose of your application and identify the goals for the user testing, so that you have a clear definition of what you want to test.
Now as you are defining these goals, you also need to look into the stage you are at in the app development process. Different stages need different kinds of testing and you need to keep up with that for your user testing to be effective and give accurate results.
Basically, these tests can be run in the pre-development, during development, and post-development stages.
As you run the tests before development, the focus stays more towards the identification and exploration of better opportunities, features, and functionalities of the app. At this stage, you also need to look into the behavioral pattern of your users so that you can keep the app more oriented and friendly towards the user’s needs and demands.
The during development phase testing focuses on the validation of the features and functionalities in the application. You have to stay focused on the users and check if the application is being designed to offer great and stellar user experiences.
The post-development testing is to give a final check to the application. Here the focus stays on checking the application performance while finding out the problems and bugs and fixing them to enhance and optimize the UI/UX on the application. Additionally, this process never stops, for you have to constantly look into your application to make sure of consistent performance.
Step 2: Determine the Method You Shall Use for Testing
User testing can be done in several ways, however, not any and every way will work out for you to reach your goals. So, you have to figure out one perfect way.
The user testing can be in-person or remote, it can be moderated or unmoderated, and all these ways have their own pros and cons. When you are carrying on in-person testing, you have easier access to the people testing your application, however, this shall be more hectic, for the testing shall have to be scheduled, and you will have to deal a lot with time management. Moreover, the tester may be more conscious and under pressure and might not be able to speak out the correct observations. However, remote testing goes more candid with the testers having the flexibility to work as per their timings without much dependency and they know that nobody’s watching them as they are using the app, so they shall not be very conscious or under pressure and come with better and more accurate results and observations, however, there is no real-time connectivity.
With the moderated and unmoderated testing, it’s about whether you are able to ask further questions to the testers regarding their comments and feedback on the application. When you go for a moderated testing, this is possible, however, this is not available with unmoderated testing.
So, what is perfect for you? Well, there is no answer to this, it all depends on your goals and preferences. Also, there may not be one perfect way. What you can do is pick out a combination of several methods that best suit your business goals.
Step 3: Recruit the Participants for Testing
Once you have the goals identified and the method for testing decided, it’s time to find people who would perform the testing for you. Now, this is a challenging task, for you cannot just pick any person.
There are parameters you need to set. It’s best that the application is tested by the category of users that are your target audience. So, before you recruit any participant, you need to look into the target audience for the application.
Next thing, the experience of the tester matters. If it’s any person who has no idea about how your application works or what is its purpose, it would be very difficult for that person to find out any issues at all. It’s just as simple as you cannot give opinions on things or topics you have zero ideas or knowledge about. So, you need to find people who are quite familiar with the kind of features and functionalities your application is providing. You can look for and recruit people who have been using similar applications and they shall be able to give you very accurate results.
Yet another factor to consider here is the number of users you need to recruit for the testing. This is important because the testing is costing you for every user you recruit, so you need to determine just the number of users that are necessary to get accurate results.
Statistics show that you are able to find 100% of the issues and problems when you have 5-7 users testing your application. The same statistics also reveal that the maximum number of users you shall need will be 15. However, even with that, after some of the tests, same issues will arise over and over again and that shall only come as a wastage of time, efforts, and costs.
So, being at around, five, seven, or ten users is the best option for you.
Step 4: Set Up Your Testing Materials and Testing Environment
Once you have the participants ready to perform the test, you need to let them know what exactly you want them to test. This will require you to brief your goals to them. This is the time for you to go back to the goals that you had identified and established at the first stage. The participants for testing need to know these goals so that they can get a direction for testing. So, you have to set the objectives for the user and brief it all to them which forms up the testing script.
Next, you have to set a testing environment in which your participants shall work. This shall depend on the method you have decided for testing. If it’s going to be in-person, you need the infrastructure where the users and moderators can sit for the job. Even with the remote setting, you need to have a testing environment in place so that you can overcome the connectivity issues and provide a smooth way for testing to the users. If the users do not have the environment they need, that will impact their experience on the application and ultimately the test results.
It’s also a good approach to run some practice tests in the testing environment before finally making it available to your participants. This will prevent the risks of running into issues with the testing environment during the tests which can then hinder the entire user testing process.
Step 5: Run the Test
It’s finally time for you to get to what you have been preparing for all this while. And if you have gone right until now, you will find this to be the easiest step in the process.
Your participants have their script, they have the testing environment, they know what to do, it’s time for them to run the tests and start meeting the set goals and objectives.
As the tests are run, it’s important for you to get continuous feedbacks on the performance of the applications. With in-person moderate testing, this is easy, because there is real-time connectivity, and you can keep asking questions to the users.
However, for any other method, you need to be more proactive. You have to go about the feedbacks through e-mails, or you can have them over the testing environment. However, it’s also important that you make sure that all the follow-ups are completed right after the test is finished because the results are fresh in the mind of the users, and if the follow-ups are taken or filled any time later, the results will not actually be that accurate which will jeopardize the entire test.
Step 6: Analyze and Fix the Issues Based on Test Results
The process does not get completed at the end of the tests. But you need to go ahead of it. You had done the tests to analyze the performance of the application, and these tests definitely give you insights into the performance of the application as well as the issues that exist over it.
You need to go back and fix those issues so that the performance and user experiences can be enhanced. As you look to fix these issues, you first need to analyze the test results to clearly understand the problems that arose, so that you can get to a proper solution.
After you have analyzed everything, you can create an action plan with your team and work around to make the application better and ready for the launch.
Some More Tips for Efficient User Testing
While these steps can go a long way in helping you perform the user testing for your application to ensure great performance and business success, there are some more things you need to keep up with as you follow the steps detailed hereinabove. Here is what you need to keep in mind.
Record the Tests
There is always a chance that you shall need to go back and watch what happened during a certain test. It won’t be feasible to conduct the entire test again for any reasons whatsoever. You don’t even need to. You can record the tests while they are being conducted so that you can have a complete directory of the tests you performed, how they went, what were the results, and that will be an easier medium for you to go back in time to rewatch the tests.
Assumptions Do Not Work
You need to be clear with your goals and instructions to your participants. You cannot make assumptions that the participants will achieve the goals without you being specific. You need to make sure that you have provided a clear testing script, and are not using a lot of jargons or technical terms. Also, you need to be very regular with the follow ups. Any assumption at any point in the testing will work in the negative direction for the success of your application.
Be Sure to Test Over Multiple Platforms
There are multiple platforms to run mobile applications and in today’s scenario, your application has to have cross-platform functionalities to be supportive to every platform available. There is android, and iOS, and windows, and you shall have your target audience using all these platforms. So, you need to be sure that your app is supporting all of them which makes it important to test your application on multiple platforms.
Know that It is an Ongoing Process
User Testing is never one-time process. With mobile applications, there is always room for improvements and enhancements. You can keep bringing new features and functionalities in your application and as you introduce them, you shall need to test them in advance for their performance. So, the process never ends and goes on in a loop.
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User Testing is an important phase for the entire mobile app development process and in fact, it never ends. With proper and efficient user testing, you strengthen the chances for the success of your application, for this helps you keep enhancing the application and bring better experiences for the users.
However, with the technicalities involved, the process is very challenging and you need to know the right steps. Moreover, you need to have the right professional guidance as well. When you go for mobile application development, your developers definitely know all about user testing as well, and they make sure to go about it before being ready for the launch. Basically, everything is interlinked and the best way to go about mobile application development and user testing is to have services at hands of professionals so that you are in for making your application a success that will, in turn, help you in achieving business growth, profitability, and scalability.