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Handheld Devices Usability Testing – Why This Matters

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Mobile phone and PDA usability tests is critical on your business. Actually mobile and handheld usability testing could possibly be even more important than computer-based usability testing. The primary reasons for this are:

– The number of persons accessing the Internet from portable and hand held devices can be increasing in a massive cost – in 2008 only there’ll be an estimated 54.99 million PDAs sold around the globe.

— People generally have way less experience of employing their mobile to continue online than they do of using their laptop. This means that computer-based users could be assumed to have a higher level of existing expertise than mobile and handheld users.

– The platform whereby users gain access to your site is usually far less estimated when using mobiles. Computer-based site visitors generally only differ from the other in their web browser and os (i. electronic. most people will use a screen, mouse and keyboard), whereas the several types of mobile phones and PDAs are different can considerably.

Which usually mobile phones and PDAs should you consider?

Cell phones and PDAs can differ from a another noticeably, and this might radically modification how people experience and use websites. Some of the ways that handheld units can differ contain:

– Screen size (small versus large)

– Display screen layout (portrait vs . landscape)

– Input unit (stylus, numeric pad, dial-wheel, QWERTY keypad)

Because the cellphone / PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANT that somebody is employing will have this kind of a deep effect on their very own experience of your web sites, you should try to test with as much mobile phones and PDAs as it can be.

Of course , examining with every cellular phone and PDA is very unlikely. Here are some ways to help narrow down the number of equipment you’ll need to test with:

– Your cellular site visitors might belong to a certain audience. Specific audiences are likely to prefer particular types of phones (e. g. cellular phones with big screens that will support on the web access or small-screen types that aren’t).
– There are ‘phone families’ that offer a very similar user knowledge (and will never need to be analyzed individually).
— You may only want to test with the most well-liked mobile phones in Europe or maybe the most well-liked models that are to be used to gain access to your site (you can look at your site stats to find out this information).

Who do you want to test with?

The people you want to conduct the mobile phone user friendliness testing classes with can, of course , be based upon your particular business and its projected audience. Some things to make note of include:

– How much experience they should have of employing their mobile phones to gain access to services. That is particularly crucial as the market meant for accessing on the net services through mobile phones keeps growing and the percent of ‘complete novices’ (i. e. people using the technology for the first time) will be a long way higher than to get computer users of the website.
— Which cellular phone or PDA they have. We would usually advise that people make use of their own cellphone in a appointment, so the test can give attention to your website instead of on the way the handheld device performs.

Wherever should cell usability testing sessions be conducted?

Cell phones and PDAs are used inside the real world and so usability examining of hand held devices should certainly therefore not simply take place in a usability clinical.

Where, when and how a mobile phone is needed is critical to a person’s experience of the site they are accessing. One of the following conditions could affect this encounter and therefore things to consider of the web site’s usability:

– Lighting
— Background sound
– Distractions
– Concurrent tasks (i. e. nearly anything the person has been doing at the same time)
– Physical movement

As such, we’d recommend, if at all possible, that any kind of mobile phone and PDA user friendliness testing is conducted both in a clinical and also in the ‘outside world’.

How you approach and manage mobile phone functionality sessions will be based on your organization and its target market, but the the majority of popular strategies to mobile functionality testing contain:

– Lab-based (using a camera to record the session)
— Diary-studies (asking people to hold a diary of how they have used all their mobile phone and any problems they encounter)
– Newspaper prototypes (running usability testing on a paper based version for the site, applying mobile phone screen-sized pieces of paper)

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