Mobile technology has redefined the way many of us are working now. Gone are the days when mobile technology was used by employees/users mainly for accessing the internet and email communication apart from the voice communication. Now with enhanced functionalities provided by various apps and improved access to data from anywhere aided by cloud technology, we see that users are now able to complete many business related tasks with their mobile devices. People often prefer to use software products on their mobile devices, as mobiles provide them more flexibility and comfort along with the portability in their busy life. While this is good news for software product companies as it adds one more touch point to their consumers, they should take into account the mobile usability of their product, as the experience a smartphone provides to the user is altogether different from a regular desktop.
Mobile usability in simple words refers to the subjective satisfaction that our target users achieve which in turn shows the application’s efficiency.
As mobile devices provide portability, context or environment benefits around devices, however, they keep on advancing frequently. It’s important to understand that one cannot provide great mobile experience to their end customers by just shrinking original web app to mobile dimensions or applying regular usability principles/heuristics. Let us look at the different factors product companies should ponder over to enhance the mobile usability for their product:
Mobile applications should accommodate to various environmental changes. The app usage in the daylight is different if compared with night usage. Many applications switch from day mode to night mode showing low glare content at the night.
Context and Scenarios
Unlike desktop computers, mobile applications suffer higher interference of chaotic external environment. Several external factors influence the mobile device usage like the background noise of traffic or people talking, etc.
Similarly, there can be a huge variation in the purpose of using the mobile devices. Users of different age groups use these devices for different purposes. For example – A college student might use it for quick messaging or for entertainment, and a professional may use it for quick access to his meeting schedules or mails.
Each user has his way of handling mobile devices. There are many behavioral differences as well, as some users prefer typing while others have comfortably moved to voice command. Designing powerful Voice UX requires a good understanding of the activities to be performed and the target audience.
In general, UX designers need to study all relevant context/scenarios in which the user may use the application. It is also important to get the application tested with maximum possible scenarios.
‘Real-life’ Research and Testing
There are many ways to implement Mobile Usability Testing, however, field research is crucial for mobile testing, as it offers “real world” insights. The results UX experts get derived through field- testing are more accurate.
Conducting a field research becomes costly and time-consuming. But UX experts can simulate the field conditions in the lab to ensure the accuracy of their research. Here are some innovative ways to simulate real-life environment inside a lab.
- To create noise and distraction, we may use people to walk and talk around the floor. They may interact directly or indirectly with the user to divert his attention.
- Background music or video can be played in the lab
- Internet connections with speed variations can be used to check performance of the application
- We can set out a walking course with barriers to simulate the effect of using the device on the move
Through this method, designers can capture user’s emotions and responses while using the app in real-life changing context inside the lab. Without understanding the nature of use, it becomes difficult to bring flawless experience in the app.
With the rapid and continual rise in the functionality and capabilities of mobile technology, there is a huge scope for mobile applications to be used in various context/scenarios. At Harbinger, we can help you achieve your mobile strategies effortlessly, by implementing, best practices, accelerators, and mobility frameworks. To learn more how Harbinger can contribute for your mobile application development, write to us today.