Mobile apps have become a hugely popular way for businesses to attract, engage and retain customers, but testing the apps for usability can be an equally huge process and expense. Offering an alternative to the traditional lengthy and costly testing that has been recognized as “best practices” but often prohibitive for any but the major companies, UserTesting recently added mobile testing to its menu of services.
The process parallels that of UserTesting’s problem-solving service for websites. Unlike the traditional method — 10 people hired for as many weeks and monitored as they interact with the website, their actions then analyzed — UserTesting creates a video recording, with audio, of the users’ step-by-step interaction. For the basic service, UserTesting provides the recordings to the client, who can then analyze the interaction to learn why the site or app is not delivering satisfactorily — such as the search engine not giving people the results they want or the business using terminology its target audience doesn’t understand. In addition to the self-service product, UserTesting also offers an enterprise product that includes its professional analysis.
UserTesting maintains a network of testers whom it screens for ability to speak thoughts out loud as they use the site or app, and uses an algorithm to randomly assign and distribute the work. Testers are rated by the customer, which incentivizes them to be honest, explains company spokesperson Chris Hicken. Customers provide UserTesting the plan for what they want people to do on their site, a list of specific tasks and the intended demographic. Once UserTesting sets up the test, customers get their results in one hour.