Usability of Mobile Application and the Benefits of Usability Testing
Monday, August 1, 2016 2016-08-01 19:09

Usability of Mobile Application and the Benefits of Usability Testing

Mahsa Mohammadi
Usability of Mobile Application and the Benefits of Usability Testing


Usability testing is a way of carrying out a evaluation a product by testing it on users . There are some usability inspection methods to evaluate a user interface. It can be seen how real users use the system .

Usability testing measures the usability or ease of use , whereas general human-computer interaction studies attempt to formulate universal principles.



Mobile usability testing is a prevalent tool used to compare and evaluate the usability of a mobile application in development process. Some users are chosen and given a test and they persuaded to think aloud while trying to perform the tasks . This will give us information we need on how the user interface and user experience match the natural human way of thinking and acting the application features. It can help the development process improvement.

What is Usability?

it’s about matching products more closely to user needs to make easier to use , more effective . it also concerned how much effort do users require to do this? (efficiency) , what do users think about the products ease of use ? (satisfaction) .

Usability means making products and systems easier to use, and matching them more closely to user needs and requirements.

To show the contrast between usability and user interface, experts have compared them to science (usability) vs. art (user experience) .


What is Usability testing? 

The international standard, defines usability testing as a technique used in user- centered interaction design to evaluate a product by testing it on users. this test involve some kind of systematic observation under controlled conditions.


Usability inspection 

In the development process it can be used by evaluating prototypes or specifications for the system that can't be tested on users. 


• Methods

to start the test we need to prepare some scenario , or realistic situation wherein the person performs a list of tasks using the product being tested while observers watch and take notes. Some other test instruments such as scripted instructions, paper prototypes, and pre- and post-test questionnaires are also used to gather feedback on the product being tested. 


1.1Hallway testing

this is a quick, cheap method of usability testing . some people  have been selected randomly ; in the hallway they are asked to try using the product or service. random individuals are gathered from the street and then assembled in the hallway before having them test a product under development.

 1.2 Remote usability testing Expert review

people from different countries and time zones start testing in a unique scenario . it can be either synchronous or asynchronous . 

The first one involves real time one-on-one communication between the evaluator and the user, while the latter involves the evaluator and user working separately. Numerous tools are available to address the needs of both these approaches. video conferencing or employ remote application sharing tools such as WebEx are the methodologies used for Synchronous usability testing.

an asynchronous usability test is task based and in all platforms you can capture the clicks (web) or taps (mobile applicatin). this way of testing also provides an opportunity to segment feedback by demographic type. the tests in which performed the user’s own place helping further simulate real-life scenario testing. 

1.3 Expert review

It is another general method of usability testing. so far I’ve got “Expert review”, to evaluate the usability of product we get help of some  experts with experience in the field (possibly from companies that specialize in usability testing).

1.4  A/B testing

generally it provides a split testing of user experience design . as the name suggests two version of design are compared .


• Benefits of usability testing to the end user or the customer


• Better quality software

Software is easier to use

Software is more readily accepted by users Shortens the learning curve for new users If proper resources (experienced and creative testers) are used, usability test can help in fixing all the problems that user may face even before the system is finally released to the user. This may result in better performance and a standard system. 

• Usability test can be modified to cover many other types of testing

such as functional testing, system integration testing, unit testing, smoke testing etc. 

• Usability testing can be very economical if planned properly, yet highly 

effective and beneficial. 

• Usability testing can help in discovering potential bugs and potholes in 

the system which generally are not visible to developers and even escape the other type of testing. 

• Usability testing is a very wide area of testing and it needs fairly high 

level of understanding of this field along with creative mind. People 

• involved in the usability testing are required to possess skills like patience, ability to listen to the suggestions, openness to welcome any idea, and the most important of them all is that they should have good observation skills to spot and fix the issues or problems. 

3 . The Difference (and Relationship) Between Usability and User Experience 

The customer, looking for a new digital camera, goes to the large electronic retailer’s website. She quickly finds the camera she wants, puts it in the cart, and without incident, pays for it using the option to pick it up at the store that same day. Quick, easy — she is pleased and excited to receive her camera.

When she arrives at the store, she initially doesn’t know where to go, as no visual clues present themselves. After a ten-minute wait at the customer service desk, she’s told she’s in the wrong place and needs to find another desk, this one labeled “Online Receiving”. Once she finds that desk, the clerk, who obviously can’t wait for his shift to end, sighs and says the camera she’s purchased is out of stock. She can buy a different camera at this point, but to receive a credit for her original online purchase, she needs to call an 800 number. She ends up leaving the store without a camera and a charge on her credit card she needs to resolve.

This scenario highlights the difference between usability and user experience 

Usability can be modeled as the question “Can the user accomplish their goal?” whilst user experience can be phrased as “Did the user have as delightful an experience as possible?”

Usability is a narrower concept than user experience since it only focuses on goal achievement when using a web site. By contrast, user experience is a “consequence of the presentation, functionality, system performance, interactive behavior, and assistive capabilities of the interactive system” . This essentially means that user experience includes aspects such as human factors, design, ergonomics, HCI, accessibility, marketing as well as usability. An alternative way to look at this relationship is by subdividing user experience into utility, usability, desirability and brand experience. This is best illustrated by representing these sub divisions as concentric circles where the innermost circle is the most basic aspect of user experience as shown in the diagram below: