Testing the UX/UI of an app is usually believed to be helpful but not mandatory step of delivering a digital project to the market. Is it true? What is the role of UX/UI testing in the process of app development? Continue reading this post to learn more.
What is usability testing?
The goal of usability testing is to make sure that your stunning application idea is going to be convenient to use. So, when it’s time to check the UX/UI, you need to invite a group of respondents to your office and make them perform specific tasks with the prototype under the observation of an experienced moderator.
The whole procedure will happen according to a specific pre-made scenario that contains tasks and questions that the moderator will give to the participants. The process of usability testing is usually recorded with both audio and video so as not to miss anything important. The observers – it can be managers, designers, or business owners – follow this process from another room
But, why do this at all?
First of all, usability testing of prototypes reduces the cost of design and programming. It allows you to discover the usability problems of a future application at the earliest stages. Possible issues can be incomprehensible icons, texts that are too small or too big, lacunas in the interaction logic, and so on.
By giving the prototype to a person who was not involved in the development process, you test the operability your app’s concept. You can find out if users understand the items of the menu sections or how to use the navigation, mainly if you choose something non-standard. As a result, sterile solutions and problems are cut off at the prototype level, and more developed interface solutions are sent to development. If you’re outsourcing your app development, the UX/UI design agency you’re collaborating with will take care of usability testing for you.
What you will need for a UX/UI testing
Now you’re convinced that you need to conduct the UX/UI testing as soon as possible. Here’s a checklist of things you need:
- A prototype. The UI of it should be as close to the original design as possible to provide users with the most realistic experience. It should be near its final stage of technical design. However, color palette and content also affect user experience, so it is important to include them as well. Such types of interface design usually include high detail content but simple visual series (no color scheme, approximate illustrations, and icons). Also, your prototype should imitate wholly the interactivity of the future application. Otherwise, testing will not be able to reveal all aspects of the planned interaction with the interface. For example, transitions between pages by a button or link, scrolling, floating elements, pop-up menu, etc.
- Mobile device for testing. It should be close to what the user possesses in daily life to eliminate delays in operation and extra distractions. Preferably, the screen size and operating system should be similar to what the participant is used to. For example, navigation through screens in iOS and Android is different, so if your respondent has never used an Apple device before, you will get unclear results about the functionality of your app. You must install your app to the device for the most realistic experience. Testing a prototype in the browser or on an emulator is a bad idea since it’s very different from real app usage experience.
- Task scenario. The script should include the tasks for the users to perform and questions that let the respondents clearly express their opinion about the product. The tasks should be approximate to how you expect your real clients to behave while using your app and what operations they would perform.
- Respondents. These shouldn’t be your friends, family, or people from the street. You need to find representatives of your target audience.
You also need a separate room for respondents where they won’t be disturbed during testing along with a moderator, and observers that will follow the trial in real-time.
Procedure of the UX/UI testing
Here we describe the plan that every respectful UX/UI design agency (this post is a useful starting point) follows before it sends the prototype of their application to the final stage. There is no ultimate guide on how to do it right, and you are free to modify or skip any stage based on the needs of your company and time you are ready to sacrifice to UX/UI testing.
Find and invite the respondents
You need to collect a group of unbiased respondents that represent your target audience. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to find whoever you need by advertising your announcement through social networks. By this link, you can also find out other ways of searching for your perfect survey respondents. Prepare a form for registration and selection, for example, a Google Survey form. Assess the types and invite the people you liked the most to the office. Make sure to ask 20-30% more people than you need because some of them will certainly not come, be late, or don’t satisfy your selection criteria.
Second round of selection process
Assessing people from a distance is different from doing so in person. Have your moderator or HR to talk to them in person to see whether they represent your target audience and know what the testing is all about. For those people that you find difficult to communicate with or that seem like they had lied in their question form, feel free to ask them to leave.
Prepare the scenario
Getting the scenario of a testing process is the stage that needs to be accomplished before you invite people to your office. Collectively brainstorm what you are expecting to find out as a result of the survey. For example:
- For business, it’s essential to discover the pains and needs of the target audience that this solution is going to cover. You can ask the respondent to compare it with alternatives on the market or whether they would use this solution in the future;
- For designers and developers, lags in animation, slow interaction, inconvenient navigation, and so on are the points they would be most interested to hear about. Include in the scenario questions about the functionality and performance of the app.
Organize a workplace
You need a room where your respondents will feel comfortable and undisturbed. Make sure to offer them water, tea, or coffee. They shouldn’t feel like they are taking an exam. Also, here, you need to audio and video record the answers of the respondents.
Some companies make the observers sit in the same room as the respondent. However, as experience shows, it usually just makes both parties uncomfortable. If your manager or business owner wants to take part in the testing, make sure they follow procedure by watching the camera recording in another room.
The moderator of testing needs to explain to the participant that their opinion is essential for making the product better. The moderator is in no position to evaluate the respondent or comment on their behavior. However, if the respondent is off-topic, for example, discussing the contents of the video they played on the device, the moderator can gently help them to get back to the point.
Here are some typical questions that the moderator can ask the participant to respond to:
- When you explore the product, do you feel confused at any point?
- Does anything distract you or get in their way?
- Are there any unnecessary features?
- Can you quickly find what you are looking for?
- Would you use this product daily?
- How likely are you to recommend it to your friends?
- How would you describe the app using your own words?
Conducting UX/UI testing at early stages of app development will let you save money on redoing unsuccessful design and coding and also better understand the needs of your future customers. Following a simple procedure of usability testing that we have shared with you in this post will help you to maximize profits and get better results from your digital projects.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!