User testing is an invaluable step in the mobile development process. It can make all the difference in the success of your app. However foolishly, developers often forgo the process, seeing it as time-consuming and expensive. That’s not exactly wrong, some companies have spent tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of employee hours on user testing, but we’re here to tell you there are cheaper and less laborious ways to test your app and garner valuable insights.
1. Use Friends, Family and Co-workers
Put those connections to good use! Reach out to everyone you know to get a pool of beta testers. A large pool is nice, but you could get valuable insight from even 8-10 users. Online social networks like Facebook and Linkedin are a good place to start to find friends, family and colleagues who might do you the favor of testing out your app. People love to give their opinions, try reaching out to people individually to make it feel that much more special and exclusive. They don’t have to be developers or experts to give you the feedback you need, chances are they are just like the people that will be using your app anyway.
2. Get Out of the Lab
Fancy testing labs are nice, but they are also expensive, and a quiet, distraction-free environment maybe not be the best environment to receive relevant feedback on your app. In fact, it’s probably best to encourage users to test the app in their natural environments. If you are developing a productivity app, let users try it during their normal work day or at home. If you have a music app, encourage folks to try it in their cars or at the gym, places they would normally use the app anyway.
If you really want to do classic user testing in a quiet, isolated room, consider using your office conference room. If you don’t have an office, you might be able to rent a conference space in a co-working building from a company like WeWork.
3. Utilize Free (or cheap) Online Tools
There are some pretty awesome tools available for free and cheap user testing.
Usability Hub is a free online tool that allows app developers to test and evaluate various designs, navigation systems, and screen flows by submitting designs to the larger user testing community. Usability Hub works on a pay-it-forward system, you pay for your usability testing with credits you earn from testing other developers apps.
Optimizely is an extremely user-friendly A/B testing platform, which allows users to track visits and conversions. The tool offers an impressive range of features, including mobile website testing, cross-browser testing, visitor segmentation, geotargeting and multivariate testing. The best part is…it’s free.
Crazyegg is a $9/month, click-based user experience tool with four main features:
- ‘Heatmap’ logs where each visitor clicks on your web page.
- ‘Scrollmap’ shows how far down the page each visitor typically scrolls.
- ‘Overlay’ breaks down the number of clicks on each page element.
- ‘Confetti’ provides detailed insights about visitor sources, search terms, and other components.
Do you have other user testing hacks? Let us know!