Mobile Usability Research techniques and tips


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  • Nice summary for someone who hasn't done mobile testing in a while. Thanks!
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Mobile Usability Research techniques and tips

  1. 1. device usability testing techniquesWalt Buchan - July 2012 1
  2. 2. The goal for mobile device testing has been to recreate the desktop usability testing and record the screen of the device. Typically this has meant mounting the device on a sled with a webcam, or t wo, to video the screen and the participants face. 2
  3. 3. That struck me as the wrong approach. Like putting a participant under a microscope. We know that people use phones and tablets anytime, anywhere, anyhow. I wanted to get testing closer to that ideal, real environment of use. 3
  4. 4. Something where the participant is as unimpeded by recording equipment and technology as possible. But without the cat. 4
  5. 5. The technique needed to acknowledges the revolution in usage that phones and tablets have achieved. No more do you have to sit at a desk on an office chair in room on your own. Now you can watch TV at the same time too. 5
  6. 6. Wait a minute, the guys that are paying for the testing still want to watch the test and sleds allowed that But using a sled creates an opportunity to video the screen and the participant’s hands. Now we can see how they physically use the phone too. 6
  7. 7. No sled here, just a camerasuspended over the areawhere the participant willuse the phone.Now they can pick the deviceup, put it down, switch tolandscape and back. Notingto impede their usage. Andthe clients can still watch thestreamed video of the test. 7
  8. 8. How to record a mobile user test 8
  9. 9. cxpartners first mobile phonetest rig back in 2007 DV/HDMI .Cameras are great as theyhave optical zoom and fixedfocus.Webcams, unfortunately,appear to autofocus on humanskin not shiny screens. Thatmakes videoing people usingphones very difficult. 9
  10. 10. Capture a contextual video. Theusability kit in development, this kitcan be used without the table in usertesting sessions.Kit includes:• DV cam• Microphone stand• EasyCap capture card (Windows and OSX compatible)• Use the EasyCap soft ware to record the test session• Mirror the computer screen via VGA to an external monitor for clients 10
  11. 11. Other ideas to get that video qualitytip top.• Use black sugar paper or ‘photographers velvet’ to reduce white balance problems• use phones with black cases, if possible• anti-reflective sticky screens for the phone to cut the glare• indirect lighting 11
  12. 12. Alternatively use a document camera. The lower quality of the camera means the participant will lose flexibility of use. 12
  13. 13. Wish list - The Note-Taker system using a Point Grey Firefly camera and the super clever system developed by David Hayden. The combination of a machine vision cameras and pan and zoom control of the picture is irresistible. 13
  14. 14. Sleds are available 14
  15. 15. behavior-research/accessories/ mobile-device-camera-mdc There are some great sleds available, if that’s the direction you choose. 15
  16. 16. My sled, made of K’Nex (mykids haven’t forgiven me) anda phone holder that wouldnormally be stuck to a carwindscreen.It’s very cheap, very light,fits any phone and spins toallow landscape use ofphones. 16
  17. 17. Sleds are likely to makepeople use t wo hands whenthey normally use one handPeople can feel uncomfortableholding them for long periodsof time (to be fair mobiletests shouldn’t need people tohold the phone for a longtime)People may not pick the sledup leaving them to jab at thephone with a fingerReferences are included atthe end. 17
  18. 18. Alternatives that capture screen activity 18
  19. 19. Display Recorder Only works on jailbroken iOS phones. That’s not something I’d recommend, particularly in a test environment. 19
  20. 20. UX Recorder Very promising soft ware to record mobile websites and shell apps. Currently waiting for approval from Apple, I assume ( in July 2012) 20
  21. 21. Test Studio A kit to add whilst an app is being developed. that will record how Beta apps are used. 21
  22. 22. Summary 22
  23. 23. There’s been a debate that the technique used to capture the session depends on the objectives of the test. e.g. Comprehension of the content - maybe a sled is better Ergonomics of the app - maybe a contextual video is better 23
  24. 24. I think the debate is over. Always gather a contextual video. With the right camera you’ll get context and see, in detail, the screen the participant sees and you’ll see how the device is used. If you can, add a screen recorder to collect and stream the screen of the device. You don’t need a sled, their days are numbered. 24
  25. 25. Reference list:HCI Beyond the GUI. Design for Haptic, Speech, Olfactory, and Other Non-traditionalInterfaces. Edited by Philip Kortum - 2008, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc.Henry Been-Lirn Duh et al. Usability Evaluation for Mobile Device: A Comparison ofLaboratory and Field Tests - 2005Rudy Schusteritsch et al. Towards the Perfect Infrastructure for Usability Testing on MobileDevices - CHI 2007ApologiesI’m aware this presentation is skewed toward testing iOS devices. It’s a reflection of thecommercial testing I’ve been involved with.I intend to revise the presentation to include ideas for user testing Android and Microsoftand other OS devices. 25
  26. 26. Thank youWalt Buchan @silverfoxyboy 26