In an environment that is increasingly mobile, developers are searching for methods to speed up the pace of their mobile app development. In many cases, this can involve using cloud-based technologies and services to make it easier for businesses to develop and deploy cross-platform mobile apps. One common element in app development is to ensure your mobile app covers customer expectations and business objectives through user acceptance testing.
User acceptance testing (UAT) is a process that thoroughly evaluates the usability, functionality, and design of your app by having real users try the app, verifies whether it is user-friendly, operates as expected, and can handle tasks in real-world conditions.
Test with real users
You want to find people who don’t have pre-conceived notions about your app. Once your app is live, new users are not going to know much about the app beyond its description. Hence, you need to find testers who do not have preconceived notions about your app. Observing how testers interact with your app, with no intervention or guidance, helps you better understand how users are going to interact with your app in the real world.
Here are our top tips for conducting a fruitful UAT:
- Tests should reflect a typical session. To help your users stay on task and to make sure that your testers are providing relevant data back to you, create a series of tasks that you want your testers to complete. Not sure what to include? Start with the list of common reasons users abandon apps that we shared in the previous chapter. Also, test for the top five to 10 common uses you designed your app for in the first place.
- Record the results. Put your list of tasks in a spreadsheet with additional rows to record whether or not the tester was successful, the tester’s name, the OS, and device, anecdotal observations, and whether it is necessary to address anything else before launch.
- Be a silent observer. Beyond asking users to complete certain tasks, do not guide them. You will not be able to walk all of your new users through your app or game, so you need to ensure they can navigate and complete tasks without intervention. If they cannot complete a task, this is a sign you may have some extra work to do to simplify the user experience.
- Keep tests separate. Ensure that you conduct user acceptance tests in a different environment from your functional tests, or you risk overlooking usage scenarios you did not previously consider.
- Follow up with a questionnaire. Observing the test will let you know how satisfied your test users were in completing your pre-defined test. But do you know about their overall experience? Was it enjoyable? Were they delighted? Sample questions might include:
- What do you like the most about the app
- What was most frustrating about the app?
- Overall, how easy do you find this app to use?
- Would you recommend this app to a friend?
- How would you rate this app from 0-10?
- Motivate your testers. Make testing worthwhile for your testers. Let them know you appreciate their time. In some cases, the incentives given to testers are the product itself. Or, consider giving your testers gift cards to use for any in-app purchases. These small, but meaningful, gestures do not cost a lot and help build a group of loyal fans before your app is even live.
For more tips, check out our latest eBook, “Best Practices for User Acceptance Testing and Beta Testing.”