This article was contributed by Addison Cohen.
The volatile growth in the sales of mobile devices and their usage signifies that only a desktop-optimized website is not enough to stay ahead of the curve. Today, almost everyone owns an Internet-enabled mobile device, and thus, they expect to have apps and websites specifically designed for their devices. Certainly, to ensure a successful product (app or website), a surefire mobile usability is essential.
Despite the mobile usability testing plays a significant role in the success of an app, many organizations don’t consider it seriously until the product is completely developed and ready to be released, or after gathering bad reviews of users. However, it is imperative to keep the usability aspects in mind throughout the development process. But, since, the mobile arena keeps evolving with advanced mobile devices and trends, the key fundamentals of mobile usability substantially changes.
The recent studies have depicted that mobile users are pretty fast in abandoning a site or app, which is hard to use. Thus, it is clear that the mobile usability is quite crucial for the success of a product. To help your products deliver smooth and consistent UX instead of hindering users, it is worth continue reading. This post is a complete guide that unleashes several key aspects and practices for your consideration. Moreover, it will also decipher some worthwhile testing solutions that can augment mobile app usability testing.
Let’s explore and learn the techniques to have an edge over the competition by attaining a remarkable overall usability of your mobile application.
Key Considerations To Ensure The Miraculous Mobile Usability
The advent of touchscreen mobile devices has enabled users to interact with an application via their fingertips. And, since the size of fingertips is considerably greater (as compared to a cursor), an app interface is required to be designed with a greater precision. Design your app in a way to ensure a simple and easy navigation. Here are certain tips that can heighten the usability of your mobile app.
Touch Target Size – You must ensure an ideal size of the integrated icons, buttons and other UI elements so that users can access the app with a flair. As per the guidelines of a mobile OS, recommended size of UI elements vary for different platforms.
- Apple iOS: 44 x 44 px minimum
- Microsoft Windows Phone: 26 x 26 px minimum
- Google Android: 48 x 48 dp minimum
Sufficient White Space – There should be sufficient white space between tap-able components so that unintended clicking can be refrained.
- Don’t ask extraneous info in forms – Keeping the small screens of mobile devices in mind, one must ask for minimal and only the requisite info from users.
- Gestures make an app easily navigable – You may integrate gestures like swiping, tap-and-hold an icon, double tapping, etc., to make the interactions more interesting and intriguing.
2. Mobile Platforms
Every mobile platform possesses a specific set of usability guidelines and standards. Therefore, it is recommended to thoroughly review these facets of your target mobile OS beforehand, and design your application and the flow of actions accordingly. To make your app highly interactive, you must consider the usability features of the OS.
3. Application Stores
Like the mobile Operating Systems, many app stores also hold certain golden rules of mobile usability. By taking these resourceful rules into account, you can develop a successful app that can hit the app stores and go viral upon release. Especially, when you are developing a cross platform application, it is important to adhere to the specific guidelines of each app store before launching your application publicly.
4. Display Resolution
With the proliferation of mobile, targeting a myriads of mobile devices with a greater efficiency is not an easy meat. Since, your potential users expect to have an appealing app that can adapt well with their mobile devices, you must make it certain that your app runs seamlessly and flawlessly on a variety of mobile screens featuring various resolutions. If you are unable to deliver an optimal UX, it will certainly alienate a bunch of your users.
Note: It is also advisable to test your app on a range of different browsers, including Safari, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Silk and so forth. Moreover, testing your application via a particular browser, various screen sizes and resolutions will aid usability test for your app.
5. Responsive Design
Responsive design approach offers a marvelous solution to efficiently target a plethora of different mobile devices. This technique will allow your app to adjust to any screen size. This is possible as it takes the screen size, resolution, screen orientation, mobile platform, etc., of the targeted device into account, and accordingly renders the data on the screen to deliver an effective and outstanding performance.
Viable Mobile Usability Testing Solutions
1. On-site Testing
In this approach, the users are invited to an area where the test will be conducted. It could be a testing facility or lab, where the environment is completely under your command; so you can manipulate it in a desired fashion. The invited users are provided with the application and they are consistently observed from various angles.
- It facilitates an insightful analysis of your app usability.
- You can directly ask questions to your users.
- The process can turn out to be a lengthy and expensive solution.
- You can conduct the test on a limited number of users.
- The testing environment is not same as the real world environment.
2. Moderated Testing
In the Moderated Testing method, the users are asked to accomplish a certain set of tasks and some questions are also asked. In this case, users are observed while they are using your application.
- You can straightaway start determining the usability issues as and when any user faces some hurdles while running the app.
- It makes a viable choice for testing the usability in the early stages like wireframing and mock ups.
3. Remote Testing
Remote testing is yet another fabulous way to test mobile usability of an application. In this technique, the users’ terms are entertained. This means they are allowed to test the application on their own device wherever they want to. Since, mobiles are handy devices that allow one to run apps on the go, this approach would be great to test mobile apps.
- Offers real world environment for testing apps; for instance, users are able to test the application while they are moving.
- Deliver more reliable and helpful results.
- In this case, the user behavior is not impacted as they are not being observed throughout the process rather users themselves give suggestions to further improve the usability of the application, after using it.
4. Survey Based Usability Testing
In the Survey-based testing method, a specific task within the application is given to users. Then, they are asked some questions; these questions are precisely designed to find out how they have accomplished the task and how they felt while doing it. The most vital process of this approach is the survey construction.
Here are some tips for crafting the Usability Survey efficiently.
- Since, every question is meant to serve a reason, ensure that you get a proper answer for every question.
- In case of comments and follow up questions, seek your users’ information so that you can contact them whenever needed.
- Make sure that this test doesn’t consume more than 30 minutes. Make it as concise as possible while covering all the critical areas.
5. Accessibility Testing
After you are done with the basic usability testing, Accessibility testing can further enhance the UX of your app. It will help you check whether your application is working consistently with various devices or not. Moreover, if you have considered the mobile OS specific features while developing your app, it will make it easily accessible on all the targeted platforms.
Since, the usability of an application plays a crucial role in its success, the mobile usability testing must be accomplished with a great precision. By taking the aforementioned tips and tricks into account, you can ensure a brilliant application that can intuitively rivet your users.
Author Signature: Addison Cohen is a mobile app developer working with Appsted Ltd, the leading iPhone application development service provider which delivers most comprehensive mobile application solutions. He loves sharing latest information on mobile technologies like iOS, Android development processes.