User testing for mobile apps

Many web developers and business owners avoid or ignore user testing because of its time-consuming nature. However, when building and optimizing a mobile application, user testing should be an essential step in your app development process. Testing the usability of your platform will help you to analyze and resolve problems with the app before it reaches the end users.

Ignoring user testing will negatively affect the success and stickiness of your mobile application in the long run. After all, by launching an application before it is ready, you are choosing to serve up a sub-par experience to those who download it. This will directly impact their likelihood to become regular users or “adopters” of your app.

Testing and improving the application, on the other hand, will boost your platform’s perception and reputation, increase users’ satisfaction while using it, empower word-of-mouth to spread it to new users, and ultimately increase the number of users for your mobile app.


Providing a good user experience through user testing will increase the number of happy users for your mobile app


Benefits of user testing for mobile apps

User testing for mobile apps is a win-win: not only will it benefit the business owner, but it also benefits the app’s end users. For business owners, it’s a surefire investment that will lead to higher adoption, increased conversions, more satisfied customers, better word-of-mouth, and more daily active users.

For the users, they get to experience using an app that they actually enjoy, instead of one that’s a struggle to figure out and navigate through. We all appreciate products that make our lives easier and add value to our day-to-day existence. A well-designed, user-friendly mobile app can do just that, and user testing is part of the formula for building one.


Benefits of mobile app user testing for business owners

The following list reflects some of the major benefits of user testing your mobile app. It should not, however, be considered an exhaustive list. Maybe you’ll discover some benefits not listed here when you start doing your own testing!

  • Saving time: Rather than releasing untested app features and updates that ultimately have to be reworked and revised, user testing helps you get things right the first time.
  • Minimizing maintenance & development costs: Better usability means less bugs, and thus less time responding to, investigating, and fixing bugs.
  • Increased user adoption: A good user experience gives users a more enjoyable time on your mobile app, increasing the chance that they’ll continue to use it.
  • Higher conversion rates: The easier it is for users to get through each step of your conversion flow all the way to the end, the more users will convert.
  • Better word-of-mouth marketing: When people love something, they tell their friends about it! By doing user testing, you can make sure your mobile app will be well-received.
  • Better app store reviews: This one is similar to the last bullet, but worth pointing out specifically for mobile apps, whose download rates are directly affected by app store reviews & ratings.


A mobile app user happily on her phone


Benefits for the users

  • Enjoyable mobile app experiences: All of us have used websites and mobile apps that have been a struggle to use. When an app has a great experience, people appreciate it.
  • Achieving goals more efficiently: Mobile apps that were designed based on user testing enable the users to more effectively and easily accomplish the goals that they downloaded that app for.


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Steps for user testing a mobile app

1. Deciding the objectives

The first step of user testing for your mobile application is to set specific goals. Without a reasonable goal, you cannot decide on the outcome. You need to decide the objectives depending on the current stage of development.

2. Writing your test tasks

Once you decide what benefits you will provide your customers with the mobile application, you will design the user testing process via having them perform tasks on your app.

3. Choosing between remote testing or on-site testing

You need to decide between the two testing methods. The first method involves running the test through a remote user testing tool in which the user will test the application whenever they want and share the results with you.

Or, you will perform the test in your facility at a certain time, observing their body language and facial expressions while performing the test.

4. Running the test

If you perform the test in your facility, you can ask the participants about their mobile application experience as they go through different features and options. However, if you decide to run the test remotely, you can share a questionnaire (check out our templates).

5. Organizing the data

Now, you need to collect all the data from the participants and analyze them thoroughly. For this, a simple data organization is essential. For instance, the data should include the participants’ names, ID, and problems they encountered with the mobile application.

Need help presenting to stakeholders? Arm yourself with some quick stats on the value of UX and the ROI of investing in user experience. User testing is always a valuable endeavor!

6. Make design changes to the user experience

Once you complete user testing for the mobile application, it’s time to implement changes depending on the feedback. By improving the mobile application, you enhance the user interface.

7. Sprint test the new design

After finally finishing the new design, it’s time to sprint test! Iterative, or sprint, testing the new design will give you valuable benchmarks and ensure that the product is moving in the right direction.

Remember: UX design is never finished; it’s always improving.


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Negative feedback and criticism from real users might be hard to swallow. But you need to understand that solving these problems will upgrade your mobile application’s quality and reduce the risk of app, business, and brand failure.

For instance, many web developers launch a beta version of their mobile application. They know that the complete launch of their application can negatively affect their reputation in the market.

For this reason, they release a beta version and improve the application according to the users’ responses.


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