June 10, 2014 How To Gauge The Usability of Your Mobile App Usability is one of the most critical aspects of a mobile app. Here are a few tips and methods to gauge the usability of your mobile app. Usability is one of the primary performance indicators of a mobile app. As an app developer or owner, you should always be concerned about the usability of your app since it can have a direct impact on your app’s conversion rates and the extent to which it contributes towards your business objectives. In simple terms, app usability refers to the ease with which a user can interact with your app and use its features. At the same time, from a business perspective, it also refers to how smoothly a user can be routed to your app’s call to action and achieve the objectives you’ve outlined for it. But while it’s a critical performance measure, it’s often difficult to gauge because of the different variables involved in it. Many app companies and developers rely on direct user feedback to measure their app’s usability. They do this through different surveys and through direct user feedback comments. Others rely on usability tools that record user interaction with your app and identify key focus areas through heat maps and other analytics. Tips and Indicators To Measure App Usability In order to accurately measure usability, you need to quantify it and create certain key performance indicators (KPIs) that truly reflect the app’s usability. With this background, here are some of the key performance indicators and tips that can help you gauge the usability of your mobile app. 1) Time Spent on App The amount of time a user spends interacting with your app can be a fair indicator of its usability. According to a recent study conducted by Flurry, a mobile analytics company, an average American smartphone user spends around 168 minutes daily using his mobile device. 145 minutes out of that time, approx. 86%, are spent using different mobile apps. The challenge for your app is to consume as much time out of these 145 minutes as possible. The more time users spend using your mobile app, the happier you can be about your app’s usability. 2) Number of Conversions The average time spent on your app is a good indicator of its usability, but it doesn’t show the complete picture. If users are spending a lot of time on your app but still not performing the actions you desire, or in other words if your conversion rate is low, then that is an alarming sign. It either means your call to action is not visible enough, or your app flow doesn’t direct the users towards your call to action. Either way, the conversion rate should be one of the primary KPIs you should consider while evaluating the usability of your mobile app. 3) Number of Downloads per Week/Month If your app’s usability is good, you should see a rise in your average monthly/weekly downloads. This might not be a direct indicator of your app’s usability, since other factors may also affect downloads, but it still is an important factor and should be monitored. The frequency of measurement for this KPI (monthly or weekly) should be decided on the basis of your app’s popularity. If your app is primarily B2C then weekly measurement is more suitable. For B2B apps, monthly measurement usually works well since the volume of downloads is smaller as compared to B2C apps. 4) Positive/Negative Reviews User reviews should play an important role in measuring your app’s usability. Both positive and negative reviews can help you identify improvement areas in the design and user interface. Your aim, of course, should be to minimize the negative reviews and maximizing the positive ones. 5) Number of Uninstalls per Week/Month The number of times users uninstall your app is another general indicator of your app’s usability. Just like app downloads, this should also be measured weekly or monthly based on the general frequency of downloads. Poor user experience is one of the primary reasons apps get uninstalled. 6) Live Testing An obvious usability tracking method is to test the app yourself in live mode. While you may still not identify several issues that users may come across, you’d still get a good feel of your app and how it takes the customers through different app screens and features. Random user testing and group testing can also help you identify various user experience loop holes. Apart from analyzing these major indicators, here are a few other ways you can improve the flow and user experience of your mobile app. App Content Analysis Internet users in general, and mobile users in particular, have short attention spans. While developing your app, you need to make sure each and every screen serves a clearly visible and well communicated purpose. Users should be able to grasp your screen content within 3 seconds. Minimizing Typing Requirements Nobody likes to type on a mobile device. Your app should minimize the typing requirements for users by using text autocomplete, drop down menus and social login options. Adding Hints and Help Guidelines Even if your app’s functions are simple to use, adding small hints and guidelines at different steps will help users interact with your app much more easily. But instead of linking users to detailed help documentation on your website, add quick tips with screenshots to encourage more engagement in your app. Tools To Help You Measure App Usability There are several tools that can help you track mobile usability statistics on the basis of which you can measure the KPIs discussed in this post. Moreover, certain tools allow you to record the on screen activity of users and measure it through heat maps. Here are some of the tools you can explore further. Flurry Analytics Flurry Analytics measures user behavior and collects data for your app. It allows you to gain powerful insights from many different metrics. An added bonus is that because they track so many apps (over 500,000) you can see how you are doing against competition with category-based benchmarks.[/av_iconlist_item] Geckoboard Geckoboard monitors your business’s vital signs on a visually appealing live dashboard. They have native widgets that can allow you to customize your dashboard for almost any metric you can think of. Lookback Lookback allows you to gain insight on how people really use your app. You receive video recordings of actual users experiencing it. Lookback can also help you find bugs more easily than reading through a list to reproduce it. Appsee Appsee offers a combination of user recordings and live analytics. It will automatically highlight crash recordings so you can see the exact workflow that led up to it. It offers some interesting metrics such as heat maps of where the user is touching the screen while using your app. Conclusion At the end of the day, app usability comes down to how easily and willingly your customers can be driven to perform certain actions within your app. You need to strike the right balance between what appeals to your users and what your app objectives demand. The indicators discussed in this post will help you keep track of your app’s usability and allow you to take corrective actions where necessary. Tags MobileCultureDesign StrategyDesign Share Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Sign up for our monthly newsletter. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.