As much as we make use of the desktop computer or the laptop, we have also seen an explosive growth in smartphones and tablet sales. Therefore, a website that has been optimized for desktop computers in no longer adequate if you want to be ahead of your competition. People now expect each and every company to provide a website that can be viewed and accessed through any of their devices. Converting a desktop website or application to one that can be viewed on a mobile device does not only consist of shrinking the screen to fit the device’s display. Various devices consist of certain limitations and formats. Hence, usability plays a critical role when it comes to websites or applications. In this blog post, we try to understand the primary differences and tips that can be used in both web and mobile usability testing.

Usability Testing for Websites

Let’s be realistic. Usability tests are compulsory for a website to be successful. The basic principles for web usability are quite the same as any other product would be except for the fact that they are more important since there are over a billion websites and counting as of now. Since there are numerous similar websites, a user will just move on to the next site if you’re one is not usable. It’s as simple as that. So, check out these tips.

    • It is common sense that websites will have to support multiple modes of use cases which might only surface when the user feels comfortable. You can always start with an open-ended task where a variety of answers are possible. By using this approach, you will get to know how the user acts outside of a testing environment. One of the best methods to test this is an e-commerce site which allows users to decide what they purchase. You can ask them to make a certain purchase and observe their reaction.
    • Now what you can do is observe and let the user complete the task. You might think that the user is off track but you will simply have to wait. The ultimate goal here is to get to know how a user interacts with your website. Simply monitor why the user may sidetrack which will most often be your best insight.
    • Try out testing your competitors or peer websites so that you can tailor your website on how they use the web.
  • Make sure that you don’t make it obvious to the users that you are testing your website. Users most of the time tend to be less honest when and if they know that you are testing your website and you are new to the game. They might get to know later on but the more you delay, the more accurate their first impressions become.

Also, here are the criteria of what I think is a must when testing all websites, be it a corporate website or a personal blog.

    • Make sure that you keep an eye on the task success rate which will help you to examine the efficiency, learning ability, intuitiveness and how fast the user can recover from errors. Try assigning very direct and open tasks
    • Site features that revolve around the navigation should be sufficient and up to standard. Check how fast a user will take to get to what they want while tree testing and card sorting are ideal to sort this out
    • It’s a known fact that content is a core aspect in any given website. Therefore make sure that your site’s language, comprehension, the legit state of the content and an accurate body is provided. Readability can be accessed through usability tools such as CheckMyColours, WordsCount and Read-Able
    • Being usable isn’t always sufficient. You have to make the UX design more appealing so that you can get the user more involved and get the much needed feedback
    • Reduce the unwanted lag coz trust me, no one wants to wait. It is well known again that a website’s speed will impact the UX, the SEO performance and the functionality as a whole. Make sure that you have checked the file sizes and the quality of the code while site speeds can be tested using tools such as Google PageSpeed and Pingdom
  • Finally, make sure that your site is consistent across all major browsing platforms since accessibility is a must if you are planning on launching a site that needs traffic. Juicy Studio is a tool that you can use to measure your site’s accessibility.

Mobile Usability Testing

The world of the mobile seems to be entirely on a different level when comparing them with websites. Mobile devices have evolved leaps and bounds from the early 1970’s since it was introduced to now while there are unique factors such as specialized screens, gesture controls and compatibility that we should be aware of. Anyone should know that developing and designing for mobile’s are different than the web while the same details applies to usability testing. Here are a few important facts that you should keep in mind.

    • Always remember that the participants that you use for mobile testing should be regular users of any particular testing platform. They should be used to a specific UI and therefore, if you are testing an Android app, there is no point in getting an iPhone user etc. A user should be fluent with a device for at least three months if you want to run a usability test.
    • Make sure you have all your testing apparatuses at hand before you start off. Airplay and Mr.Tappy are the usual ones that many people use to connect the mobile to larger screens.
  • You will have to also cater to user customization since users customize their mobile phone settings far more than anything else. It might be an arduous task to ask a user to make use of settings outside his or her comfort zone. Tools such as UXPin will help you understand this more.

Here are some “must-remember” usability tips when it comes to mobiles that will further help you.

    • Keep an eye on how users make use of gesture controls. Remember that unlike desktop users, mobile devices involve three dimensions of data
    • Have your mobile charges ready at all times
    • If you are testing an app that has been designed to run on various platforms, then make sure that you test each one separately
    • Do more than 5 tests, preferably 10 to make sure you have the real deal
    • When writing the test script, have the mobile user in mind
  • Do some research before you start on an app and usability testing so that you have a clear idea of who your target audiences are

Do you have a favourite usability testing tool? Share it with us today!

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