February 13, 2023

How to Excel at Usability Testing for Mobile Apps

Continuous Testing

User experience is one of the most important components of a successful application. When an app is released onto the market, no matter how lofty its goals, if the user experience is lacking it will not be successful.

As such, usability testing is needed to ensure your app is the best it can be. Prior to release, testers must ensure that users experience ease of navigation, fast load times, and seamless transactions. 

This blog will explore the benefits of usability testing for mobile apps as well as provide insight into how to excel at usability testing for mobile apps. 

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What Is Usability Testing for Mobile Apps?

Usability testing for mobile apps refers to the process of evaluating an app by testing it with real end users. Usability testing helps testers and dev teams understand exactly how their app will be perceived and interacted with and allows them to identify problems prior to release.

When conducting usability testing for mobile apps, testers will have users complete predetermined actions within the app with the goal of uncovering glitches, bugs, and defects, as well as evaluating the user’s overall experience of the app. 

Some of the key factors to consider when conducting usability testing are as follows:

  • Clarity – How easily the user can comprehend the main purpose of the app and its features.
  • Accessibility – How accessible the app is to all users, including those with disabilities. Ideally, the app should be usable for everyone, not just a particular demographic.  
  • Navigation – How readily users can navigate through all aspects of the app, including any payment gateways.

 

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Benefits of Usability Testing

Understanding how a user experiences the app helps organizations understand how their app might fare on the market. 

Some of the key benefits of usability testing for mobile apps include:

  • Detecting problems early on – By conducting usability testing, testers and dev teams can detect errors, glitches, and interface or navigation issues early on, prior to launch.
  • Finding opportunities for improvement – Usability testing creates a space in which testing teams can discover opportunities to improve the app’s interface and features based on user feedback, ensuring the app will be as user-friendly as possible.
  • Mapping user preferences – Usability testing for mobile apps allows teams to map how users navigate through the app, which allows them to tailor the app to end users’ needs and preferences. 

 

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How to Excel at Usability Testing for Mobile Apps 

Usability testing for mobile apps presents unique concerns for testing and dev teams. From obtaining accurate and timely data to ensuring the stability of the backend and creating the best user experience possible, there are many factors to consider when developing a winning testing strategy.

The following are some essential components to help you excel at usability testing for mobile apps:

Ensure the Stability of the Backend Through Mock Services and Negative Testing

One of the main ways to excel at usability testing for mobile apps is to eliminate testing constraints on the backend with mock services. Mock services emulates the behavior of real-world scenarios, such as slow load times or garbled responses, allowing testing and dev teams to see how their app will respond under negative or unexpected conditions. Ideally, mock services will be automated and easily maintainable and deployable, allowing testing and dev teams greater agility in their testing process. Ideally, mock services will be automated and easily maintainable and deployable, allowing testing and dev teams greater agility in their testing process. 

Mock services for mobile is an ideal solution for eliminating dependencies on third parties or other departments during the mobile application testing process. With mock services for mobile, testers gain control over their testing, which speeds up the testing process as well as reduces costs. Mock services for mobile also allows testers to be more agile and shift left as needed without waiting for other parties to do their part. 

BlazeMeter mock services for mobile

 

To determine the stability of the backend of a mobile app and test the user experience, testers combine both mock services and negative testing. Negative testing describes the process of testing negative responses from users, such as when a user inputs an address in a field intended for a credit card number. Negative testing allows testing teams to see how their app will respond to different user input and adjust the app’s functions accordingly. In addition, negative testing shows how a mobile app will react when the back end is not responding optimally (e.g. slow response time, returning bad data or unexpected results, or not giving a response at all). When combined, both mock services for mobile and negative testing are a key factor in a winning usability testing strategy. 

Don’t Forget About Performance Testing

One of the most often cited causes of frustration among app users is slow load time. To ensure peak performance of apps and create an optimal user performance, testing teams are turning to performance testing. Performance testing includes three components: load time, performance under normal load, and performance when the server is slow. In the last case, since it can be difficult to find a slow server to test on, the best option is to utilize a mock service that is deliberately set to perform slowly.

Incorporating performance testing into your testing strategy provides insight into the functionality of an app, including speed, stability, and scalability. Performance testing helps testers and dev teams evaluate the overall performance of their app early on, allowing them to shift left as needed, so that users can enjoy a seamless and error-free experience with the app upon release. 

Performance testing should never be considered a mere afterthought—it should take place throughout the app development life cycle as part of a shift left performance testing strategy.

Utilize Synthetic Mobile Test Data

One of the most important components of usability testing for mobile apps is to obtain relevant or complete test data for the backend. The key is to adopt a platform that allows you to produce synthetic test data on demand, but also synchronizes the data across tests, environments, and mock services. 

Synchronized data is ideal because it can be reused for subsequent tests after your initial test is complete. This process is very cost-effective and saves time since you only have to generate data once for use across multiple tests. With synchronized, synthetic data at their fingertips, testers can conduct usability testing for mobile apps with ease.

Learn about using tools to find code vulnerabilities, ensure standards compliance, and reduce time-to-market early in the development process with Perforce's Shift Left 101 >>

 

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Bottom Line

To excel at usability testing for mobile apps, it is important to adopt a platform that supports mock services and performance testing and allows you to generate and synchronize mobile data across tests. 

When using BlazeMeter in tandem with Perfecto, testing teams can truly achieve mobile end-to-end testing. Teams can test both the frontend mobile user experience and the backend under load, ensuring that your app is up to the task upon release. 

Additional benefits of testing with Perfecto and BlazeMeter together include:

  • Scaling up to 2 million virtual users during performance testing.
  • Testing on thousands of devices, OSs, and browsers.
  • Live testing your apps for web and mobile as if you were a real user.

Start building a winning usability testing strategy today by witnessing Perfecto and BlazeMeter in action. Request a custom demo today.

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