Last Updated on January 21, 2022

Mobile apps are a global revolution that connects users with their mobile devices. There are various apps available on the app stores, and more and more enterprises are developing apps for their businesses. This has increased the competition, and it has become quite tough to build an app successfully.

Let you know that an app’s success relies on many elements, features, speed of the app, its functionality, etc., including mobile app usability.

Before launching your app, you need to ensure that the usability of your mobile app is flawless so that users may enjoy using it. If “mobile app usability” is new to you, do not fret as we are here today to discuss the same.

In this post, we will check out what app usability is, its benefits, best practices, and a lot more.

Let’s start!

What Is Mobile App Usability?

According to professionals, usability is a quality attribute that evaluates how easy it’s to use a system interface.

Usability contributes to the efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction that meet the specific needs of every app user.

Many people mix up usability with the UX design and vice versa. But, let us make it clear.

The mobile app usability is a UX aspect that tells how users interact with a product, including ease of use, perceptions, and the app’s efficiency.

Principles For Mobile App Usability

Well, as we know, app usability affects the success of an app. Below we will talk about the top principles for app usability:

Mobile app usability should ease the users to get familiar with your app’s UI.
While using your app, the users should find it easy to attain their objectives.
Your app should be error-free, work as expected.

So, if you want to know whether your app usability is performing as it should be, you need to conduct usability testing of your app.

What Is App Usability Testing?

When you involve actual app users to use your app to observe their behavior, interactions, and reactions, you perform usability testing. The outcomes of usability testing facilitate you to modify or change your app accordingly.

Benefits Of App Usability Testing

Usability testing facilitates the design and development teams to find and resolve the issues and bugs before they are coded.

The sooner we recognize and fix the issues, the less expensive it would be regarding staff time and app development cost.

Usability Testing Comes With Various Benefits For The Developers As Well As Users:

1. Identifies The Time It Takes To Accomplish Particular Tasks.

Usability tests are best to find defects and bugs that developers fail to see. It keeps an eye on the time needed to complete every task and reports if it differs from than actual time required.

2. Help To fix The Issues That May Ruin Your App’s First Impression On The Users.

You can start usability testing of your app at any stage of app development and solve the problems before the launch of your app. This helps in making the first impression of your app the best.

3. Allow Users’ Involvement In Ideation.

By facilitating the involvement of your niche users from the start, you can allow the app testers to get more feedback during the development phase only.

4. Determine User’s Satisfaction Scale

You can check out how happy the users are with your app.

5. Identify Changes Needed To Enhance User Performance And Satisfaction.

You can also catch up with the modifications needed to improve user performance and satisfy them with the functionality and features of your app.

6. Scan The App’s Performance To Ensure If It Fulfills Your Usability Goals.

Usability testing lets you know about your app’s performance to optimize it if needed to meet the desired goals.

Hire mobile app developers

Mobile App Usability Best Practices

Well, in case you catch up with your app’s issues through mobile app usability testing, you can follow the best practices below to overcome some common problems.

1. Offer Immediate Value

One common issue because of which frustrates app users is app usefulness.

You should ensure that your app users find your app helpful, starting only if you want them to return to your app. If you fail to convince them to stay during the onboarding process or within the first week of your app usage, you may lose them forever. Millions of apps experience downfall every day while competing for user attention. So, you should ensure that you offer the value right away.

Offering your app’s value right away may lower abandonment rates and help to boost your app’s long-term success metrics.

2. Platform Compatibility

One more issue that discourages users from using an app is its platform incompatibility.

You need to make sure that your app performs flawlessly on all the platforms and operating systems.

Android and iOS are two completely different platforms, so you can’t clone an Android app for iOS or vice versa. Every operating system holds unique design, programming, and interface consideration.

So, you should develop an app clutching a native feel so that your app users can interact intuitively.

3. Easy Navigation

Poor navigation is one of the chief issues that users usually face.

After downloading your app, they should find your app easily navigable to meet their requirements. Your app may include various unique features, but it’s of no use if users need to struggle to use them.

Your app’s navigation should be straightforward, saving the users from getting lost while using your app.

The complicated app navigation may lead to an increased user abandonment rate.

4. Avoid Testing On Prototype

You should test your app on the actual devices and across various devices rather than on any prototype to better understand how it will work across multiple form factors.

5. Test Your App In Varied Environments

People use mobile apps anywhere at any time. So, while testing, be sure that you test your mobile app in multiple environments, like outdoors, indoors, etc.

6. Recruit The Right And Recommended Sized Test Group

Choose a group of people who have less experience in using a smartphone. Always welcome diverse opinions from the group to develop a better app. Besides, hire at least five users to conduct usability testing as per recommendations.

7. Reduce Scrolling

You should offer the required information your users need within the screen limits only. Sometimes, you can avoid scrolling, but try avoiding side-scrolls. It may hide essential details.

8. Reduce The Number Of Steps Of Each Action

You should make almost every action of your app straightforward to meet their objective with ease.

Try decluttering your app’s UI as every icon, image, or button complicates the user flow. Always go with limited UI elements and content and showcase a few essentials for users to know about your app.

9. Short And Clear Content

Keep your app content concise and straightforward during app designing. It should hold important content that may help the user meet their objectives. For an app containing a buying process, you should follow the same process.

Avoid copying your app’s content and try modifying it as per your app’s needs.

Providing complete information will lead to an increased conversion rate. Don’t fill your app with too much information; it may result in a poor user experience.

Also Read: Different Types of Mobile Application Testing

App Usability Issues

Various usability issues lead to failed mobile apps. But, when time is crucial, what are the common app usability issues we need to address?

Let’s Check Them Out:

1. Screen Resolution Compatibility

Even if the OS is the same, every app doesn’t work well on different devices, screen sizes, and resolutions. Apps may look perfect on one device and scatter on another.

2. Infinite Tapping & Typing

Obviously, an app that demands endless taps and typing is likely to get abandoned. Apps will impact better with fewer steps, buttons, pages, fields, and more.

3. Complex Navigation

An app’s navigation is a way that permits the users to interact with the app and catches up with their needed features. If it’s complex, it will make the user get lost in between and exit the app.

4. App Scrolling

App scrolling is an essential aspect of app design that offers the users an intuitive interface. But, side-scrolling usually hides valuable content.

5. No Auto-Fill

Typing personal details frequently make the users annoyed. Here, developers should consider auto-fill data to ease usability. For the app using user-submitted data, it should use the auto-filling feature. It may reduce the load of users of data input and assist them in getting instant search outcomes.

6. To Let Go User Feedback

User feedback is vital for making an app better. Usually, app developers let them go. The app should perform as per the users’ expectations.

7. Unresponsive Gestures

Such gestures include mistaken elements, buttons not working, counter-intuitive gestures, and more. When a user uses an app and in-turns gets no response, it leaves the users frustrated.

How To Do Usability Testing For Mobile Application?

Before discussing what to test and how, first, we should make a usability test plan, it will serve as a technical drawing for the actual test.

Let’s Check Out The Sections A Plan Will Hold:

  • Purpose and objectives of the test
  • Research challenges and questions
  • Participant characteristics
  • Method
  • Task List
  • Test equipment, environment, and logistics
  • Test facilitator role
  • Data to accumulate and evaluation measures
  • Report content and presentation

So, this plan can tell you about the test order for mobile app usability testing. Besides, you need the following:

1. Test Objectives

Firstly, you need to set the goals of testing before you start. For that, you need to ask various questions to the app’s stakeholders to explore chief areas:

  • App’s roadmap
  • App’s competitors
  • Market and users for whom the mobile app is targeted
  • Research that has been done already and the team needs
  • Impact of the above research
  • Scope and time

The answers to the questions above will make objective identification easier and what usability metrics one should measure.

2. To-Be-Performed Tasks

The jobs that users should perform are the tasks.

For Example:

  • Registration
  • Sign Up
  • Photo upload

3. Test Documents (Including Pre & Post-Test Questionnaires, Orientation Script, And Content Form)

While conducting usability testing, one should hold various documents. Well, the number of documents and their content may not be the same, but you would need:

  • Consent form (for adults and minors)
  • Post-test questionnaire

4. Test Participants

As usability testing is user-oriented testing, it includes real users to perform practical tasks that the app needs to accomplish. Well, it may demand more resources but would come up with more accurate outcomes.

5. Test Method

You can follow any of the two ways to conduct app usability testing:

  • Laboratory-based usability testing
  • Remote usability testing

Each of these testing methods come with their set of pros and cons.

Usability Testing Tools

In the market, various usability testing tools are available. Some may sound expensive for average entrepreneurs. Usability testing shouldn’t be costly.

We will check out some tools for budget-conscious entrepreneurs.

1. Optimizely

Optimizely tool logo
Basic PlanFree
Enterprise PlanPaid

A user-friendly A/B testing platform, Optimizely permits its users to track the visits and conversions. This tool comes with a wide range of features, like:

  • Cross-browser testing
  • Geotargeting
  • Mobile website testing
  • Multivariate testing
  • Visitor segmentation

2. Maze

BasicFree (to run one usability testing project)
Professional$25/use per month

A faster testing platform allows the users to collect both quantitative and qualitative usability data, all in one place. It comes with various features, like:

  • Task analysis
  • heatmaps
  • Multiple path analysis
  • A/B testing
  • Wireframe testing
  • Guerrilla testing

3. Usabilla

TrialFree 14-day
Basic$49 per month

It arrives with various features, but it differs from the chosen plan.

  • Click heatmaps
  • Exit surveys
  • Feedback widgets to accumulate UX data on emails
  • Mobile feedback
  • Targeted feedback forms

4. Lookback

Trial 14-Day Free
Enterprise$99 per team per month

A user experience, screen recording tool for product managers and designers, Lookback allows its users to see how users interact with their apps. This tool is used the most as it performs real-time remote user research. It is user-friendly, and its users love the way it watches the users using the app in real-time, checking their reactions, and interacting directly with them.

5. TrymyUI

Personal$99 per month
Team$399 per month
Enterprise$2000 per month

A remote usability testing tool, trymyUI permits the users to perform usability tests and avail recorded videos of users accomplishing the tasks they have created. Its basic features are:

  • Written surveys
  • Impression testing
  • Demographic curation

Usability Testing Checklist

  • Define the testing goals.
  • Start usability testing in the initial stage of design and development.
  • Before you start developing an app, study your competitors to know about your users’ expectations.
  • Hire the test groups that are a mix of both novice and expert.
  • Write tasks meeting the app’s objectives that users’ are going to accomplish.
  • Create a test plan about how testing would be conducted.
  • Test those functions better that would be used repeatedly.
  • To observe the users’ behavior, a moderator should be there.
  • Take the feedback as the way to improve your app, not as negative outcomes.

Wrapping Up

Usability testing indicates you need to pay attention to every aspect that can make or break your app’s success. Also, be sure that users meet their desired goals within a specific environment.

As mobile app usability affects the app’s success, so before launching your app, remember to conduct mobile app testing.

Frequently Asked Questions On Mobile App Usability

How To Measure The Usability Of An App?

Following are some of the key performance indicators that can assist you in evaluating the usability of an app:
> Time spent on an app
> Number of Downloads/week/month
> Number of Conversions
> User reviews
> Number of apps uninstalls per Week/Month
> Live testing

What Is A Usability Testing Tool?

A usability testing tool helps check if the app design is intuitive and easy to use to meet its objectives.

What Are The Advantages Of Usability Testing?

> Helps save money in coding/rebuilding the app.
> Ensures the success of the product.
> Helps save designing and development time.
> Assists in making beneficial changes as per the robust data insights.

What Are The Top Usability Testing Methods?

> Qualitative usability testing
> Quantitative usability testing
> Moderated usability testing
> Unmoderated usability testing

What Are The Top App Usability Testing Tools?

> Usertesting.com
> UsabilityHub
> Hotjar
> Userfeel
> Loop11

Author

I am an eCommerce consultant, a member of the Forbes technology council with a decade of experience in the ecommerce development segment. My expertise can make your business overcome any obstacles while you are dealing with the Magento ecommerce platform!