Mobile UX Testing

From the first mobile phone that could actually go to websites using WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) to the latest in iOS or Android mobile device, the platform is different than the traditional laptop/desktop. Clearly, the physical screen dimensions is smaller (especially the phones). A critical component of UX testing is being able to observe and record the testers’ interaction with user interface of the application. Usually this is captured with a webcam but getting such a device mounted on a mobile device requires a bit of creativity. Researcher from Mailchimp had some great hacks in 2012:

A) Webcam secured by a Giant Clip B) Tester hugging their laptop to use its webcam — From https://blog.mailchimp.com/recording-mobile-usability-tests/

These webcam setups have since been more common place and have a more refined stand such as the following:

From https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/mobile-device-testing.html

If you want the ‘Cadillac’ model, Tobii makes wearable glasses that has a camera mounted so it can not only records but adds eye tracking.

Another approach is to have a screen recording like how desktops/laptops UX Testing for years. Companies like uxcam (https://uxcam.com/) have solutions to record the user interface and the user’s interaction as they are testing the application. Clearly, there are many routes to use and some will definitely be more costly than others. If I had all the money in the world, I would definitely choose Tobii’s solution but how many times do UX team get the funding they need? However, I think a blend of ‘DIY’ type camera solution with a mix of uxcam solution would be my route.

Besides the overall size of mobile devices being smaller, there are other differences and nuances that make mobile UX testing an interesting challenge: connectivity, landscape/portrait orientation, physical button layout differences between devices, more inherent distraction on user’s device (text, phone call, alerts, email), and native application versus web application. These all need to be taken into account when doing usability testing on a mobile device.

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