2 min read

How to test your mobile site without spending a fortune

Barry Briggs

Representing NUX Manchester, Barry Briggs (aka @quiffboy – for fairly obvious reasons for anyone who’s met him) gave a highly entertaining and informative talk about the-client-won’t-pay budget usability testing.

His slides are fairly self-explanatory (if missing some of the jokes). However, some key points he brought up were:

  • If you’re prepared to do a bit of DIY (which he gave a warning sign about) you can buy a few things off Amazon and make a mobile rig for less than £50.
  • While heavy duty industry usability software such as Morae cost a fortune (admittedly it’s because they are pretty powerful), you can get slightly less stripped back but useful options such as
    • Silverback (for Mac and usually cheap and currently free while there are some retina issues),
    • for iOS, Reflector (which my company use and is well worth the $US15 or so for it),
    • for Android, Mobizen (free!)
    • Open Broadcaster Software (free, and even on Ubuntu!) – though install Homebrew and FFMPEG on your computer (and be prepared to use the terminal) in order to get it out of FLV and into a more Vimeo friendly format.
  • Speaking of video – he recommended uploading the videos unedited to a private vimeo account that clients can access. You can use it for free but if you’re prepared to pay a bit more you can then allow for higher def video – this means the clients can use it as a reference. (Personally we tend to edit the videos, but this is a massive time sink).
  • You can recruit people
    • from your building using signs in the lift promising a £15 voucher for £15 minutes of their time, and allowing sessions at lunchtime and after 4pm.
    • From coffee shops for a cup of coffee or cake after they’ve ordered – do ask permission first though. (I’ve also had success out and about getting people at Megabus bus stops and waiting for the library to open, though in those scenarios you need to get the window of availability right).
  • Making your reports a one-pager not only saves you time but means they’re more likely to be read “if you give your client a 20,000 word report, they’re going to f**king hate you”. Similarly, grouping by task, making them actionable, and using something like a traffic light system of good (it’s important to include any key good things so they’re not changed), concerning, and bad helps make it easy to parse and do something with. Briggs made the point that a lot of reports are long as they count as a deliverable justifying a lot of expensive work – quick usability testing doesn’t need to attempt to do this.

Finally, a nod to his epic shoes.