December 5th, 2013
As much as we may like to pretend, there is nothing natural about usability testing. There’s always a level of concentration involved that likely wouldn’t be present in a natural setting. This “unnaturalness” is magnified when testing mobile applications. Users have to focus on things like posture and how they’re holding the device while trying to interact with it realistically.
Cyd Harrell of Code for America, and formerly Bolt | Peters has developed some clever hacks over the years. These techniques can be more effective, both in scope and cost as well as results, than a formal testing lab. Even something as simple as “hugging” a laptop with the screen angled away from you and using the built in camera can give fantastic insights into how a user will interact with a mobile device.
The aim of these techniques is to provide an environment that’s comfortable when the user engages engage with the app during the test. Cyd has demonstrated a technique allowing the user to sit in a comfortable chair while a camera documents their activity. Avoiding distraction for the user in testing by taking the burden of concentration away results in much more accurate and useful data.
Cyd is joining us in Denver, CO April 7-9 as part of the UX Immersion Mobile Conference. She will be teaching one of the daylong workshops along with 5 other amazing speakers. For more information about Cyd’s and the other workshops, visit uxim.co.