A great idea can be ruined by a poor user interface. People know this, and they often go to great lengths to create flashy, complex interface that’s supposed to entice users.
The thing is, flashy doesn’t always work. In fact, sometimes the opposite is true. What matters is that your interface is appealing to the user. An easy to use, simple to understand interface is the key to having users that enjoy your content.
The only way to make sure your interface works well is by performing great UI testing. But how do you test a user interface? There are a lot of methods, but we’ve broken down some of the best ones in order for you to great the best product possible.
Winning Ideas for UI Testing
Each application has a different set of qualities, so there’s a chance that some of these tips might not apply to your idea. That being said, there are a lot of similarities among apps, and those are the areas that we seek to pinpoint today.
It seems that the majority of UI mistakes come from the cracks; the errors are in places that you wouldn’t expect. Everyone knows how an app should look and feel at first glance, but it’s what comes after that trips people up.
1. Screen Resolution and Different Devices
You don’t want your idea to work on only one or two screens. While it is tedious, you need to ensure the quality of your application on the majority of screen sizes on the market.
A huge element of this comes from aesthetics. Buttons, text, sections, and more are all design with visuals in mind. Functionality is huge, and we’ll get to that, but a large part of an enjoyable system is the way it looks.
Your product may look excellent on a tablet, but the buttons and text might be out of proportion when it is used on a cell phone. This can get in the way of functionality, with buttons overlapping large portions of text and links.
Also, make sure that there’s consistency when the device is flipped onto its side. When a device is turned, the screen shifts into landscape mode and the entire configuration of an application is thrown on its side.
This means different proportions, text sizes, button arrangements, and more, depending on the application. To combat issues here, you have to test your application on a few different devices. Try a few cell phones and tablets in various sizes, and make sure that each page on your application works exactly how you want it to.
Doing this will allow you to make any adjustments before the product releases.
2. Consult With Actual Users
The real test comes when your product is set loose into the world. Before that time comes, gather a number of potential users and have them test the application.
There’s no better judge than the person who will be buying your product. You might even want to have a few stages of user interviews while you’re in development. This way, if there are some glaring adjustments that need to be made, you can make them without backtracking too far.
Don’t leave them to make their own comments, though. While you should have an area for users to give general feedback, their input should come mostly in the form of a questionnaire.
Ask them to rate the feel of the application. Do they like the color arrangement? Was it easy to navigate from point A to point B? Would they want to come back to this application again?
You want to find out which elements of your idea stick out as inconveniences to the user. Things like button size, text, arrangement, and variation among screen sizes are all extremely relevant to you here. The best practice is to have users rate these items and give a brief explanation of why they rated as they did.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the entirety of your application is a statement. Would you rather be a person who says inconsistent things whenever they change settings or someone who holds true throughout different situations?
The inconsistent site is less likely to develop a good name. Users like it when each page on a site carries over from the last. The graphic design and color arrangement should be grounded throughout your site.
If different pages have different styles and methods of navigation, people are going to get frustrated and choose a competitor.
This might seem intuitive, and it is, but there are a few situations when this happens. Things like error messages, advertisements, and contact pages are all usually a little inconsistent. There isn’t too much effort required to put those pages in line with the rest of your page.
It’s simply a matter of font, size, color scheme, and arrangement. Keeping all of those in line will help you to establish a positive relationship with your user.
4. The Little Things
There are a lot of things that we take for granted when using a quality site. Those are the loose ends that you should tie up before your product releases. We’ll list a few of them here.
Make sure that the color and theme of your icons is consistent across all pages. Check the column arrangement and ensure that it is the same throughout your site.
Test every link on your site to make sure that it isn’t dead. When a page is loading, look to see if the progress indicator is signaling that the page will change. Finally, make sure that the virtual keyboard doesn’t pop up at unintended times.
The ins and out of UI Testing can get difficult when it comes time to make adjustments. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. There are professionals out there are can solve your problems and make your page sparkle.
If you’re interested in getting help with your user interface, contact us and we’d be happy to help.