Why Usability Needs Quality Assurance
It might not seem obvious from the outside, but it’s impossible to just go and create a flawless app or website. Bugs and errors are always there until you detect and fix them, and this doesn’t mean your developers’ work is bad.
- Any interface, even in a very simple app, is a set of interactions. Different features created by different people, or just at a different time, may not connect with each other perfectly and cause errors.
- Apps and especially websites may be run on other platforms and devices, which may also cause unexpected issues that are hard to detect during the development process.
- And yes, human errors may also occur. Your team may have been working on the development of an app for a long time, and there may be things they haven’t noticed just because their eyes are blurred.
So, it’s not always obvious where a mistake may occur. You need “hunters” (professionals in UI and UX testing) who know how to find these big and small bugs that may spoil your users’ experience and who will report to the developers in the right way.
If UX and UI testing are an integral part of the product development process, you can implement quality assurance at each level, from the creation of a separate feature to the app release and updates, to make sure everything works right. You’ll fix problems as they arise, not after users report them to you.
Which, in turn, saves you time, increases the quality of your product, and helps you increase your customers’ satisfaction.
What Are the Main Requirements for Web and App Usability?
There’s a standard list of requirements that fits most of the apps and if they are met, chances are high that your app or website will have a good usability score. These requirements, in a more or less equal form, are used by all professionals and vendors that provide usability testing services.
The product should be accessible to the largest number of its potential users. People with disabilities should be able to use it via assistive services just as easily as an average target user. People with different backgrounds and native languages shouldn’t have issues using your app either.
All parts of the interface should be easy to perceive and have alternatives. For example, if an image is unavailable, it should have alternative text or a caption so users can understand what it represented.
Another example is providing captions in video material and a transcript for audio.
This usability requirement concerns user activity and means that everything that is conceived should be possible to use, for example:
- All the features should be available and working.
- User needs to have enough time to read the interface and its content.
- The content should be physically safe (e.g. it should not cause seizures in predisposed people).
Ease of Navigation
On the same note, what makes an interface operable is good navigation, in any type of website or software, from the simplest to the more complicated ones.
Navigation should be made as simple, easy, and seamless as possible so that users don’t think about doing something, but just do it.
To gauge the performance of your site or app, you need to be aware of the speed at which it loads pages and content, especially high-quality images. Text loads faster than images and illustrations, so the aim here is to make sure your product is in no way sluggish and loads within a matter of seconds.
And in terms of design, you should think about what’s happening while the content is loading. For example, the spinning wheel was introduced to interfaces so users know that something is happening and the app didn’t just freeze.
In an understandable interface, the content is readable – there’s no fine print or clash of colors. It also operates in predictable ways so users can avoid making mistakes.
For example, if a user is filling out a form and missing a required field, a window will pop up alerting them to the problem.
Since handheld devices are used more than computers and laptops these days, it’s important to keep up with the times and adapt content and web design for phone use as well. This poses a web design challenge because most sites are designed with computers in mind.
Responsiveness is all about your site working smoothly and cleanly regardless of the device it’s opened on. You can even do this adaptation on WordPress, but it still needs to be tweaked to look as presentable as it would on a large screen.
Learnability is the ease and pace at which a user picks up the ways to use a product. It used to be very common for user interfaces to require training to operate them but the current trend is toward creating UI that is usable for every kind of user, right away. This is why learnability is such an essential requirement; it makes sure that different kinds of users, including complete amateurs, can get on board easily.
Credibility means that your product should inspire justified trust in users. This means people are trusting that:
- The product will do what it is intended (or expected) to do;
- It will do it in a safe and harmless way;
- It will be of the expected quality and do it in the expected time.
It’s simply impossible to deliver your product with its UI and UX if it is not trustworthy and people don’t trust using it. Users will just go elsewhere.
This just means that the UI should be a pleasure to use. This could mean aesthetically pleasing designs, quick navigation and loading times, and any other features that users love to see on their interfaces. This is such a big requirement because many users base their opinions about products and interfaces on how user-friendly they are.
Absence of Errors
This means that it should be virtually impossible to give wrong results when information is fed into the app or website. It should be bulletproof against the entrance of invalid data or unexpected user scenarios. The harder you make it to make an error in the first place, the better the error tolerance of your product will be.
A good flow is a combination of actions that follow seamlessly, exactly as a user intuitively expects it to be. Some examples of bad flow are:
- Unreasonably long processes with many steps and screens to pass;
- Unnecessary or irrelevant pop-ups between commands;
- Repeated steps or expected steps missed.
In terms of website usability, flow also means that one relevant page is followed by another relevant page without any additional information being thrown at the user.
It deeply depends on each app or website; however nowadays, we’re used to customized experiences and we expect a certain minimal level almost everywhere. This basic level includes the ability to manage such things as user names and avatars, color schemes, and timezones—it’s what we do in many apps, from email accounts to games. In more complicated apps, the expected level of customization may go deeper and include many more features, corresponding to the product.
Visually stimulating content that is fun and interesting to look at guarantees user engagement. Certain apps boast much higher user engagement levels than others and one huge reason for this is that they promote the kind of content that they know will garner the most user attention and engagement. This means that the majority of users should rate your app’s tools as fun to use.