Mobile Usability Testing

February 24 19:52 2011 Print This Article

Usability testing for mobile devices, apps and websites can render a wide variety of critical insights. Actual testing with users is the only way that you can learn who they are, what they are really doing with your website or application and in what contexts they are actually using it. Interviewing them, probing to discover issues they encountered and getting them to fully elucidate problems they have is the only way to ensure that you are launching a market-ready product.

Amidst all the hype over mobile and wireless’s growth over the last few years, with the advent of the iPhone, iPad, Android and the continued growth of the Blackberry, little attention has been paid to the fact that mobile usability is still less than satisfactory. A recent survey by Fanfare magazine found that 57% of smartphone users were dissatisfied with the user experience. A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that only 24% of adults use the mobile apps they have downloaded or purchased. So in a nutshell, mobile has a long ways to go in terms of usability and usefulness.

Mobile user testing insights

Some of the things that you will learn from mobile usability testing will be as follows:

How to keep your application or website simply self-sufficient. Since the mobile experience is often peripheral to many other things, user attention deficit works against searching for help or figuring out what’s wrong. User testing interviews will present clues on how to simplify tasks, how to eliminate any need for help. Use of help menus and call centers are both anathema to mobile users, you will find.

Young users have unique needs. Since the mobile crowd tends to be young or very young, you’ll find they have unique needs that can be difficult to anticipate without testing and interviews. Some of the many factors that can come into play include: dependence on parents for payment processing, lack of complex literacy and weak vocabulary, desire for the illusion of independence, naivete about security requirements, low spending flexibility for upsells or add-ons, tendency to underestimate their own facilities, and many, many other factors that are difficult to anticipate.

The only way to learn what they need from your app is to test your application with a group of them. If you employ a usability testing company you can expect those usability experts to know the right questions to ask your users in order to get the answers you need to significantly improve your application your mobile website.

We live in an era that reminds many usability experts of the bad old days of the early 1990’s when websites and web apps had a failure rate well above 60%. If your development team has fallen off the usability wagon, climb back on. You might find yourself ahead of a big proportion of your competition.

Jim Huinink is a web marketer for Interpix Design, specialists in mobile usability testing. He is also the author of “The Mobile Usability Opportunity”.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jim_Huinink

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Nataliia Vasylyna
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