Published on November 21st, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
Why Usability Testing is Vital in App Development
So you have a great idea for a digital start-up and want to do this idea justice! If so, it’s time you start getting acquainted with the concept of trial and error, UI mapping, and a surprising amount of communication and collaboration. The single-most important step in any app’s development process is usability testing. Here’s why!
User experience trumps generalised assumptions
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during your app’s development is basing decisions off just assumptions alone, and that’s not limited to the very first assumption that your proposed product or service is something that people have wanted and thus, will immediately flock to. Of course, it’s natural to make a myriad of assumptions in the formation of any business idea, but if you’re acting off of your assumptions alone, then you’re really only making an enterprise that will suit the needs of one person. The same goes for app development.
If you’re basing your platform’s layout off a singular user’s experience, you’ll be producing a platform with many flaws, the least of which will include the fact that it possesses an incredibly limited or alienating visual language. You can’t make the assumption that any user will possess an intrinsic knowledge on how to navigate your app, just as you can’t make the assumption that your app will be in-demand upon release. Doing your UX research will ensure that you’re building on genuine user experiences rather than generalised assumptions. And yes, although some of your assumptions will always be correct, you absolutely need to conduct UX research to nail your finer details. That’s how a digital platform’s design goes from good to outstanding.
UI mapping ensures an intuitive flow
With the growing ecosystem of apps and digital platforms, it’s becoming increasingly important that you take time to engage with your UX findings as a means of ensuring that your app’s design and development stands out from its competitors. Because chances are increasingly high that you have competitors, and the only real thing that determines which platform comes out on top is convenience or accessibility. You can maximise your app’s accessibility by regularly revisiting your design process and consistently UI mapping. The more you fine-tune your platform’s layout, the more intuitive your app’s layout should become, thereby making your platform easier and hopefully more enjoyable to use.
Think about the best social media platforms and why they work. Apps like Facebook and Instagram possess a simplistic and straightforward layout, presenting a fixed number of pages that are all identified by a set of unique and highly readable icons. All the base information that you need from these platforms is presented superficially and so the app feels seamless to use.
These apps didn’t get this way overnight, in fact, Facebook is consistently developing and redeveloping, and it’s incredibly likely that the app will continue to receive slight ‘Facelifts’ as the years progress. Why? Because they’re keeping up-to-date with user habits, and reacting to fresh formats or operative styles that may develop with the introduction of new platforms and new technology. And how do these big players keep up-to-date? By harvesting and responding to their user data. Facebook and Instagram responded to the negative effects of ‘likes’ by removing numeric value from their platforms. They also continuously update their business analytics tools to cater to user demands. As a result, they will most likely continue to be heavily utilised by users in both a personal and professional capacity.
A lot of people see usability testing as one step in an ever-ascending staircase when in actuality, usability testing should be seen as a reference point whenever you need one. When something’s not going to plan, your UX findings are meant to act as a map to set you back on track. If you’re able to use your UX research in this capacity, your app will most definitely continue to experience positive development.