Why You Need Mobile Usability Testing

Anna RubkiewiczJune 09, 20227 min

The key to success in the world of mobile apps

According to Buildfire, a leading mobile app builder platform, an astounding 2.8 million mobile apps are offered in the Google Play Store compared to the 2.2 million apps available for download in the iOS App Store.

With such colossal competition, the chances of your mobile app topping the charts are quite slim. However, there are ways to stand out from the crowd. Applications that bring forth innovative concepts and creative solutions for the digital world can easily gain popularity.

Another important factor for increasing your success rate is ensuring that your app provides a premium and seamless user experience. If your end-users are engaged, they will keep coming back for more.

But how can we achieve all of this in the advanced world of mobile app development? The answer, in simple terms, is by conducting mobile usability testing.

Before you embark on the exciting journey of mobile usability testing, let us discuss what a mobile usability test is, how they can benefit your business, and how to conduct one. We will also talk about five recommended mobile usability testing tools that might come in handy during mobile testing of your app.

Improve usability testing

What is a mobile usability test and why is it important

Mobile usability testing is a type of usability study that is performed on mobile devices. The purpose of a usability test is to gauge the experience of real users with your mobile products.

The benefits of mobile usability tests

There are several reasons why you should conduct usability testing for mobile applications – from understanding your product better, identifying roadblocks, and getting unbiased qualitative feedback from participants to eventually increasing sales. Here are some major benefits that can be derived by conducting mobile app usability testing:

Understanding the user’s in-app behavior and the goals they are trying to achieve

Mobile usability testing is the best way to gauge a user’s in-app behavior in real-time. It gives you insights into how easy it is for users to operate your app and how much end-users appreciate your product.

Finding bugs, errors, and other underperforming parts of the app

Mobile applications, no matter how carefully developed, are bound to encounter some issues. These problems can be as simple as a confusing piece of microcopy or as serious as a server error. By conducting usability testing, you can identify and rectify them proactively

Optimizing your product development costs

By pinpointing which features grab the attention of your users, you can focus all your efforts on developing them. This will not only optimize product development costs but will also direct customers away from the competition and towards your app instead.

Improving your mobile app retention rate

Having repeat, long-term customers is the goal of any mobile app developer. By asking behavioral questions to understand patterns in user actions, you can adjust the app to cater for your target audiences’ specific needs. This in turn can enhance your app’s retention rate.

Creating not just a better UX but also a better CX by offering in-app sales

While having a great user interface and app functionality is important, offering in-app purchase options can elevate your sales to the next level. A usability test will also help you with developing a seamless user and customer service experience.

Mobile usability testing

How to Conduct Mobile Usability Testing

A mobile usability test is conducted by choosing a set of designated, real users who are asked to interact with your mobile application in different ways. Their interactions and behavioral patterns are documented to assess if there are any issues or bugs in the app and whether or not it speaks well to your end phone users.

Mobile usability testing provides a peek into how your target audience might use your app in the real world and what your product looks like through the eyes of your users. Conducting a usability test on your app is imperative before launching in order to mitigate risk. If you figure out any problem areas of your app beforehand, it will be easier to fix them than once your app goes into production. Then, backtracking and fixing bugs becomes more challenging.

Research proves that mobile usability testing is the key to the success of any app. People rely heavily on their smart devices and mobile phones for virtually everything nowadays, and mobile app usage is spiking. Ironically, there are still thousands if not millions of apps that go unnoticed. That is because developers are either not investing time into conducting mobile usability testing or they are just not doing it right.

So, what does it take to ensure that your app usability testing procedure is an effective process for gaining actionable insights about the mobile user experience on real devices? The best way is to create a step-by-step plan ahead of your actual user testing session.

The steps involved in conducting a mobile usability test

Step 1: Define the objectives of the test

Schedule a development team meeting before the testing phase begins to identify what you know and which information gaps you are trying to fill in through the usability test. Carving out objectives and deciding the aspects of the app to test should come first and foremost.

Step 2: Set realistic tasks to perform

Come up with an agreed-upon list of questions and scenarios to hand out to your participants. Organizing various task scenarios expedites the testing process and makes it easier for both the developers and the participants of usability studies to conduct and understand the results of the testing.

Step 3: Create documentation

Document everything to make sure you stay on track of the findings of your mobile usability tests.

Step 4: Determine your ideal participant

A key factor in mobile usability testing is deciding on the number and type of participants. Consider their demographics (e.g. level of education) and select certain user personas to make sure your test participants reflect your target audience.

Step 5: Run your mobile usability testing

Figure out whether you want to conduct in-house or remote testing, i.e. unmoderated usability tests. Both options have pros and cons. Remote or unmoderated testing is beneficial for businesses that are on tight budgets or have time constraints. On the other hand, a moderated or in-lab usability testing methodology gives you the power to observe user expressions in real-time and receive instant, qualitative feedback from participants.

Planning before you start

5 Recommended Tools for Mobile Usability Testing

Here are some mobile usability testing tools to help the process go seamlessly for you:


This user testing tool includes a complete app marketing package that comes equipped with a wide range of powerful features including A/B testing. The number of participants that can take a test is unlimited, andSwrve also allows you to build target user groups based on demographics and other selected criteria.

A/B testing features

Source: Swrve

Loop 11

The tool lets you conduct remote examinations including tree testing and first-click tests, as well as invite testers via social media At the end of each mobile usability testing session,Loop 11 will produce a mobile usability test report with certain stats like the task completion rate, successful and failed aspects of the app, task time spent on each stage, and common navigation paths, just to name a few.

Usability tests in Loop 11

Source: Loop 11


Enhance your mobile usability testing by gaining access to participants who will test your app in their natural environments. The ability to track the facial expressions of users as they operate each feature and the time spent on each task, among other things, makeUserZoom pretty handy. Observing users in an artificial environment with cue cards can sometimes provide altered results, but that is not the case with this tool.

Test the apps in their natural enviornment

Source: UserZoom


This unique tool offers expert consultation with the Applause testing team who can guide you in vetting the best participants for your mobile usability test. They also offer usability surveys and audits along with mock survey questions so that you can, for example, design surveys or send out a post-test questionnaire with follow-up questions.

Test your app in Applause

Source: Applause


This top of the line tool provides a user session recording feature and offers replays of your usability test. Video recording a mobile device screen is an application usability testing method that can provide access to insights about user behavior that you wouldn’t otherwise get, and which can be used by the design team for actual implementation of positive changes for mobile usability.

Screen recording software for replaying mobile usability testing sessions helps with understanding the small nuances of how well users interact with your website on both mobile devices (e.g. an iPhone or Android device) and desktops. If you want to improve your overall UX, eliminate confusing processes, and remove any bugs or errors from your website or hybrid app then it’s best to invest in a session replay software solution like LiveSession to create session recordings of your unmoderated user testing. We offer a free trial.

Test your app in Applause

Source: LiveSession

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Mobile Usability Testing – a Recap

Nothing is more frustrating than developing and launching a trendy new mobile app that does not speak well to its end-users. If you want to collect in-app analytics, avoid low user adoption rates, and boost your sales then mobile usability testing is the way to go before launching your app.

Here is a brief recap of the key findings discussed in the article:

  • Mobile usability testing is conducted to gauge the experience of end-users with your app for mobile products and evaluates how well mobile users interact with your app.
  • Conducting mobile usability testing is important because it provides several benefits including, but not limited to, understanding the end user's interactions with your app, identifying bugs and loopholes before launching, optimizing your development process, reducing product development costs, and increasing user retention.
  • A step-by-step approach to performing mobile usability testing, including links to guides by leading industry experts, can be found above.
  • Five recommended tools for mobile usability testing and the wide range of features that make them all stand out were also listed.

All that’s left to say is good luck with your mobile usability testing.

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