Mobile First – User Research Lab Testing: The Importance of Usability Aspects on Mobile Web Platforms
Designing a mobile web platform, which is centred around user-friendly depends on the understanding of user’s behaviour as well as their convenience and preferences with regards to specific applications and devices. The basic fundamental of User Research Lab testing is to gain unique insights into a target audience and specific user’s needs through observing user behaviour.
User Research Lab sessions can take place at the company’s spare office or conference room or home office. It should be a very quiet place with minimum noise levels. There should be good network coverage and electricity plug sockets to connect the machines and monitors for data analysis, visualisation and sharing of information, results and findings. Alternatively, the lab tests can also be conducted remotely using online collaborative tools.
Image: Jonathan Courtney.
Usability is a technique employed in User-centered design (UCD) or user-driven development (UDD) to evaluate a mobile web platform around the flexibility and user-friendly perspective. Usability practice gives direct input on how users interact with a mobile web platform. In this scenario, User Research Lab practitioners utilise different methods or approaches to evaluate a user interface and user experience design on mobile web platforms respectively. This includes the HCI (human-computer interaction) experience on mobile web platform’s capability to meet the intended purpose. Usability testing emphasises the ease of use of a mobile web platform whilst human-computer interaction studies attempts to formulate universal principles towards user experience design as a practice.
Therefore, User Research Lab helps optimise user interface designs, workflows, understanding the voice of the users, and what the users really need when interacting with the mobile web platforms. Through lab sessions at a specified location: designers, stakeholders and anyone else involved in the project, observe the process of how a user interacts with the mobile web platform. User Researchers make observations while actually using tools to collect the lab data from a mobile web platform. The User Researchers work in collaboration with innovators, engineers, scientists and developers to understand how the user interacts with the mobile web platform being tested. Through this design process, developers identify issues implicating the users interacting with a mobile web platform.
Similarly, the results and findings from a lab test are compiled and summarised in a report. The report includes recommendations and specific action plan. The extent of recommendations and action points depend on the degree of methodologies chosen, implemented and executed on a mobile web platform.
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