The Ins And Outs Of Mobile Usability Research

In the last decade, the use of tablets and smartphones has exploded.

Google Analytics indicates that mobile searches now outrank desktop searches in 10 countries including the United States and Japan. In addition to this, the App Store is saturated with over 3 million apps available on the App Store and Google Play alone.


Users are now pickier than ever. With so many options available to customers, companies are facing the harsh reality that lack of customer insights into their mobile products can cause frustration amongst users and lead them to stray.

More than 80% of users report removing an app from their device after only one use. The goal is not only to simply acquire users in bulk but also hone in on high quality experiences for existing users as well.

If your customers encounter response delays or navigation issues, they are less likely to recommend your app. When they get stuck due to a poor mobile experience and are unable to accomplish what they set out to do, their patience wanes quickly and your competition is merely a click away.

“Validating that an app’s UI works as expected is different than validating that the experience is easy and enjoyable.”


The 3 DO’s of Mobile Usability Testing

The following best practices can help you create user-friendly mobile scenarios, drive sales and boost brand loyalty.

1. DO Test Early, & Often

If at first you don’t succeed, test and test again. User testing helps to eliminate problems quickly and obtain feedback on desired navigation, content layout, and more.

Plus, incorporating user testing into every stage of your development is cost-effective. Dr. Susan Weinschenk, author of The ROI of User Experience, vouches that fixing an error after development is 100 times as expensive as it would have been beforehand.

According to a study by Jumio, more than half of UK smartphone owners (55%) have abandoned a mobile transaction because of slow load times, usability problems, poor checkout experience and payment process complications. As a result, retailers are suffering with as much as £6 billion in lost revenues. Clearly, the most important lesson learned by retailers in this particular scenario is to prioritise their purchasing environments in order to improve shopping cart abandonment rates.

2. DO Keep Testing Squads Small

It takes only 5 users to uncover 80% of high-level usability problems on your app, according to Jakob Nielsen, the author of Usability Engineering.

Nielson has proven that elaborate user tests are a waste of resources and suggests multiple rounds of testing with smaller groups. He is of the impression that additional users are needed only when a platform has several highly distinct groups of users.

3. DO Integrate Mobile into the Multi-Channel Strategy

Perfecting the mobile look and feel alone doesn’t quite cut it. Ensuring that mobile fits seamlessly into the entire customer experience right from discovery to delight is essential.

Pooja Capellos, Head of Product and Research at Gutsy Ninja, an organisation that makes user research more accessible to companies says:

“Customer journeys frequently span multiple devices and channels. However, consumers don’t view these as separate experiences. This tells us that companies cannot treat digital and physical channels as separate entities anymore. Providing a consistently excellent experience across channels is of key importance.”


Mastering mobile usability testing has never been more important than it is in today’s day and age. Customers expect immediate gratification and bad impressions are not easily forgivable.

Ultimately, indifference towards testing can instantly burn bridges with your customers. By incorporating user testing into your mobile roadmap, you can take advantage of the ample opportunities that arise and effectively delight customers.

Medha Pratap



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