INSIGHTS | July 7, 2012
Testing Mobile While Simulating Real Life
Testing apps and sites on mobile devices provides a unique set of challenges. We don’t typically use our phones alone, sitting at a table in a quiet room.
We use them everywhere – at home, at work, on the go – and all the time. So how do we fake it? We’ll share a couple of things that have worked for us.
For starters, think about the hands – if you’re using your phone, it’s in your hand. When we first brought mobile to our lab we wrestled with the question: How do you capture without disrupting behavior? You can’t attach the phone to the table. There goes mobility. You could strap a camera to the phone and aim it downwards, but that’s obtrusive. We came up with another solution. Through an adapter and other discreet cameras (hint: look up at the ceiling next time you’re in our Lab), we capture three feeds – the screen of the device, and the face and hands of the user. The hand feed is critical to learnings – seeing the scrolling, pinching, swiping, and pointing allows us to analyze things that users forget to say out loud.
There’s also the time issue. Mobile sites are not about relaxed browsing. Usually, they’re about tasks. This means that it’s critical for us to test with an eye towards convenience and ease. If it takes too long for a user to complete a task, this is as much of a red flag for us as the user not getting there at all.
Testing is not one-size fits all. Device matters. With real life in mind, and what this means for mobile, we have been able to gather insights that matter too.
For more about the MCD Insights Lab, contact Jeri: firstname.lastname@example.org.