Using UI Tests to Improve Your App

Using UI  tests to get the most out of your app or site

To create a great mobile application means to design something that is both intuitive and helpful. Often the vision of developers is different than the reality of users, so Magora software developers conduct testing with two great bits of own software for user experience tests:

  • One of them monitors usage data and compiles it into clear reports. It is ideal for tracking user movements across an app or website.
  • Another tool for  user behavior testing records audio and screen activity of users, documenting what they do and why they do it.

Combining these two approaches in quality control equips your team with the proper tools to assess how well a digital product works in action.  Are users finding the information they need? Is it easily found and accessed? Where are the trouble areas in your app? The answers to these questions and how you implement them will make all the difference in the world when it comes to user satisfaction.

Tracking Progress

One of the biggest issues new apps face is a disconnect between how developers have envisioned a product’s logical flow and how users actually do things. By giving test users a list of items to find on an app or website, you can then follow their progression.  The results at times are confounding, but, more often than not, enlightening.

Magora conducts this type of testing on all its apps, and as a result, has learned several valuable lessons about what the process often reveals.

Build Multiple Pathways

The more avenues there are to any destination, the less chance there is of someone getting lost on the way.  If we take film-related sites as a prime example, someone searching for a particular film could use year, genre, director and a number of other criteria to get there.  Think too, what happens if a user tries to search by several criteria at once, or even using all of them? The process should always be as simple as possible.

Don’t Try to Be Too Clever

Sometimes this can be difficult.  In making a great interface, we often try to be as innovative as possible. Unfortunately, not everyone can make this leap easily. That means if your app has a cool new way it approaches menus or links or anything that we have become accustomed to doing in a standard way as users, you need to make certain the new approach is easily understood, and that the old way, which many users are likely to try, doesn’t lead to any major issues.

Visibility is Vital

Time and time again with testing we find that users sometimes miss what is right in front of them.  Whether their eyes skip over some relevant word in instructions, or they end up taking a circuitous route to a section of the app because they missed the direct link on an earlier page, it is important to do your best to ensure key features are easily found and that secondary features are organized in a manner that follows user logic.

Searching is a Sign of Distress

With the exception of large archives, the search feature is often used to locate items on your app or site that are not easy to uncover in the traditional way.  Be mindful of how many features your users are finding by searching.  Some may be niche services, but if you find them using search to get to some primary ones, you might consider what is preventing them to get there from the landing page or screen.

Don’t Make Data the Enemy

Many business-oriented sites and apps rely heavily on sharing information, and often in large quantities. Be sure to pay attention to how your data is arranged.  If you have a table, are columns and rows sortable? If you have charts, are the relevant keys easily understood?  Many users are intimidated by these features at the best of times, so be sure that your site or app eases that suffering and doesn’t contribute to it.

Applying These Lessons

Magora developers place a lot of stock in how successful the applications of these technologies and this testing is in the assurance of quality end-products. User behavior is incredibly fickle, changing at a speed comparable to that of the technology in their hands.  User testing then is not as much a litmus test how well a program is designed, but more a useful indication of how the product will be treated on the market.  Magora developers learn a lot from watching the videos and analysing the data, and then they make changes and compromises to ensure the greatest value is delivered to the largest audience.

If you are interested in learning more about successful user testing, we have collected some useful links:

Evgeny G.
May 19, 2016
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