Quality Control department specialists conduct software testing to check the quality of the product and the presence of bugs or malfunctions in the operation of system components. Since software development is a labor-intensive and hard process, professionals of various kinds – developers, designers, architects – are involved in it. Therefore, in order to be sure in the quality of the final product, companies are also hiring QA engineers and testers. Due to the complexity of the development process, there are different types of products testing.
On one hand, it increases the quality of both the product and checks as well as increases the confidence in the small number of errors of the finished mobile application, website, etc. You can guess that different products mean different types of testing, which in turn also have their own characteristics. In quality assurance, it is important for a specialist to know and understand a specificity and it does not matter what it will be – regression, stress or usability testing. This article is about how to conduct app user testing.
App user testing
Now, let’s find out what the application usability testing is. Usability testing is a study or test that is performed to determine if the user interface of the application (or website) is convenient for its intended appliance. Such testing is focused on a certain object or set of objects. In other words, ergonomic testing is a definition of how easy the product is to use and how much it is “user-friendly”. Most often, these tests involve users for a better evaluation of the product, its usability, and interface.
In addition, many companies share usability testing and Graphic User Interface (GUI) testing as two different stages of product quality control. What can be different in such approaches:
• The GUI and its testing are aimed at determining product user’s emotions, which they will experience when looking at the product. Usability testing – general impressions of using the application;
• Product design should only satisfy presented requirements and is not always directly related to usability. To assess whether the design in development conforms to the specification, specialists conduct the graphic interface tests. Such tests affect the correspondence of colors, fonts, its size, position, etc., but does not answer the question “Is it convenient to use the product?”. But mobile usability testing could, along with yet another question as: “Are there any problems with scrolling or clicking buttons?”;
• Usability testing determines the convenience of the overall use of the product, while the interface testing is aimed at identifying problems with the design of the application.
It should be noted that only users could say whether it is convenient to use the application, so at this stage, app user testing is conducted involving the control group. Later – drawing plan, questionnaire, and reports \ comments on the product usability.
Application usability testing
What can be tested?
In fact, almost everything that has a graphical or any other interface for user interaction. Examples:
• It could be a mobile application;
• A desktop application or its web version;
• Smartphone or another smart device. As mentioned above – everything that is aimed at interaction with the user could and should be tested. Especially, this point is important for product prototypes because identifying errors and inconsistencies at early stages can change the course of product development and reduce further expenses.
Often, usability testing is the simplest approach of the product research. Here’s the fact, which you might want to remember: this method impacts and generates ideas for new solutions. There are 3 main types of tests:
1. Comparative testing. It is used in cases when it’s necessary to compare the developed product with other products already on the market. It is most logical to use this approach when releasing a new application, or updating the old one. This method helps to identify the weaknesses of the product and avoid competitors mistakes;
2. Qualitative testing. Is aimed at studying the user’s behavior and helps to identify redundant design elements. Also, it helps to evaluate the purpose for subsequent changes needed to achieve better usability;
3. Quantitative testing. It’s aimed at collecting information and statistics for comparing several versions of the product templates. It is often used to compare a particular application with the products of competitors directly in order to understand whether your product is better or worse and what exactly is wrong with it.
It would be a good practice to conduct this type of testing on the early stages of development, each test iteration raises the quality of the product and minimizes the number of errors and/or inconsistencies.
Why conduct app user testing
Today, many development companies have user testing mobile app attitude and this is probably the best quality assurance practice because developers could give the best quality the users want. On the other hand, such users could take part in the development process and make remarks which may cross out some unnecessary functions.
But there remains one logical question – how to conduct such testing and where to find users for such activity? We will disclose a little secret: more often, large software development companies already have their own testers and control groups of users who are glad to help with the development of new and interesting products. On the other hand, there are Invision user testing or open beta tests. In the last case, the audience can be invited directly from the official app stores.
It is worth remembering that the main purpose of commercial applications and websites is the distribution of certain services and products(in addition to expanding the audience and advertising, of course). In order to achieve great results, it’s necessary for all stages to go smoothly. When we say that a certain product is “user-friendly”, we mean that it’s simple, convenient and understandable to the user. If all these points were observed at the stages of product development and quality control, then users will want to use such product continuously. Thus, in addition to expanding the audience and its loyalty, you can also create a foundation of loyal customers.
It can be concluded from the facts above, that there is a structured approach to studying and testing the usability of various types of applications. Usability testing is quite flexible and can be changed to meet the needs of any tested application or website. Such approach is extremely important for mobile apps, especially when testing a large number of devices that use different operating systems. That is why today usability testing is considered as one of the most important types of product quality control in mobile and web development.