Taking Care of the User—Is Your Mobile App User-Friendly? All You Need to Know About Usability Testing


Business owners and developers must keep in mind that modern users can be very picky and demanding, and they must do their best to meet all their users' expectations. The best way to solve this issue is to perform usability testing regularly.

Mobile apps are launched every day. The app stores offer millions of mobile app variants that strive to meet all possible needs and to suit any taste. Does your mobile app have great and unique functionality, but the user number is still low? Marketing gimmicks are not the answer. It is time to focus on usability. Users choose to download a certain app in order to perform some task or solve a particular issue. They are looking for a solution, not additional problems, like an incomprehensive menu or element searching. If an app has a non-intuitive design and needed UI elements are located in unexpected places for users, they usually do not waste their time trying to find out how to use the app; they just uninstall it and search for a more suitable one. In times like these where competition in the mobile app market is very high, such a situation is untenable. Business owners and developers must keep in mind that modern users can be very picky and demanding, and they must do their best to meet all their users' expectations. The best way to solve this issue is to perform usability testing regularly.

Usability testing is a study committed to define the level of app learnability and understandability. Usability testing's aim is to elicit whether end-users will easily understand the way an app works. Those organizations who implement usability testing in the early stages of the software development often save time and money, detecting all possible defects and inconveniences just-in-time when their fix is not as expensive and time-consuming as those found post-release. Usability testing is also an important tool of digital marketing. A convenient and user-friendly app lets you increase your conversion rates. Users get more satisfaction and benefits using a well-thought-out app. 

Many times devs and designers are too close to the project to be objective and unbiased when it comes to app usability evaluation. App structure may seem to be clear and easy to them, and many inconveniences and weaknesses of created design may be overlooked. To provide an objective app evaluation, testers should be involved. They use an app and assess its usability from the end-users' point of view. Depending on the mobile app type and intricacy, testers may conduct usability testing by themselves or may recruit a focus group. Focus groups consist of end-users who perform specific tasks while testers observe their interaction with the app and ask them about their experiences.

Usability testing takes into account the following aspects:

  • Ease of learning. The time which users need to understand what to do to complete a certain task or solve an issue. The availability of hints and user support is also of great importance.

  • Intuitive. Whether or not the user interface is simple to understand intuitively, including where to go, what to tap, and what to enter in order to settle a particular issue.

  • Performance. Mobile app content must load quickly. Forbes reported that the golden standard today is that content must display in the app in one second or less. 

  • Information hierarchy. The most important information must be well visible.

  • Efficiency. The amount of time and number of steps needed to complete the main tasks (the fewer, the better).

  • Accuracy. The number of mistakes that a user may make using an app and how harmful they can be.

  • Recall. The user's ability to recall how the app works after a long blackout period (after a time-out, the user must be able to perform tasks faster than a new user).

  • Emotional response. A way a user feels after task completion, whether he is confused or stressed, whether he would recommend the app to his friends.

Let's consider the most popular usability mistakes:

  • Too much or too little information - While lack of information makes users struggle to find what they need, a huge amount of text makes it difficult to scan and pick up information of interest. A happy medium is just what is needed.

  • Graphics overload - It is important to strike balance between written content and graphics. While graphics can simplify content perception, too much can have a reverse effect.

  • The unsuitable and unusual location of functional blocks - If app structure doesn’t comply with the users’ mental models of how information should be represented and organized, users may not find what they need.

  • Absence of guidance - While a user must be able to intuitively use an application, it is still necessary to provide corresponding help and documentation. Information of this kind should be easily accessible, focused on particular tasks, list concrete steps to be taken, and not be extensional.

  • Poor error handling - It is always a good idea to provide users with clear error messages explaining what is wrong, why, and what actions need to be taken to fix the problem. Lack of such information can make a user frustrated.

  • Inconvenient or tricky navigation - If a user is not able to intuitively navigate across an app, it takes a heavy toll on the user experience.

Software testing and analysis, searching for inconveniences of any kind, bug fixing, and continuous improvement let you take care of your users and increase the number of users.

It can be done taking into account the main factors that significantly affect mobile app usability:

  • Navigation. It is preferable to minimize the number of jumps and create a simple and intuitive structure.

  • Design. Consistency is of primary importance for mobile app design - It is advisable to use the same style across the whole application.

  • Simplified order form. It is recommended to have a minimum number of placeholder fields in an order form.

  • Embedded search. It is important to provide an actual search and the ability to choose the required filters.

  • Load performance. The higher the speed of loading, the better.

  • Content quality. Not only is text quality important, but also the amount of text and the frequency of information updates. The information must be comprehensive and reliable, and images and video content must be of high quality.

The above is just a general list that should help determine the direction you should move in to create a user-friendly mobile application. Moreover, in every stage of app development, certain requirements must be met to create a more attractive and convenient mobile app that provides the user benefits and offers an edge over your competitors. The most essential recommendation is this: the simpler, the better. Consider it a universal truth. Besides, it is effective and helpful to use standard solutions as users have got used to particular plans of action, element locations, and pretty quickly figure out how to use apps designed in this way.

In this highly competitive market, it is simply unforgivable to neglect usability testing, which is conducted to increase users' satisfaction with your mobile applications. Usability testing is a reliable resource of valuable information that helps you understand users' needs and expectations when creating an easy-to-use, intuitive, and engaging mobile application. Today to gain considerable success, you should first of all think about your users' happiness and pleasure. If your application is really helpful and convenient, it not only attracts users' attention but keeps them engaged.


User Comments

Robert kai's picture

article on usability testing, Oleh! Accessibility is a human right. This is the
crux of why each software application or web interface should be designed and
developed while keeping accessibility in mind. Web accessibility testing is a
subset of usability testing in which the application is tested with people of
all abilities and disabilities as the target user persona. As part of web
accessibility testing, an application is evaluated for its ease of navigation,
access, and understanding. Here is an insightful article on accessibility testing:

March 21, 2022 - 8:28am
tony Stark's picture

Wow! Incredible insights, Oleh, on the usability testing. Although accessibility testing and usability testing are often used interchangeably and have some overlap, there is a fine difference between the two. As per the World Wide Web Consortium, Accessibility addresses discriminatory aspects related to equivalent user experience for people with disabilities, while Usability is about designing products to be effective, efficient, and satisfying.

Web accessibility is about designing an application with focus on alleviating any form of barriers for disabled individuals, whereas, usability is centered on the user experience design and may or may not address the needs of people with disabilities.

June 8, 2022 - 11:08am

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