A Toolkit for Mobile App Development for Ending Violence Against Women


Now that we have a prototype, we want to go into the field and start testing.

We want to make sure that the app works well, and that your intended audience can use it for its intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated. We want to make sure that the tasks that could be completed are obvious.

Below are the steps involved in doing user testing

Step 1 of 5

Preparation: Before you go out into the field to do your testing, you want to make a plan for what you want to test about the app and create a series of questions or tasks for the user to try out.

You may want to record the testing session so you can go back and review the results of the testing later on. It also allows others to learn from the testing that you conducted, especially if you have multiple people going into the field and doing user testing. We suggest having one person conduct the user test with their phone, and another person using their camera to record the interaction.

Step 2 of 5

Recruiting: Make sure that the people you are asking to test your app are the target users you identified during the “Hear” stage of the process.

Depending on who your target user is, you want to go to a place where they have the time to give you for testing. For example, if you want to talk to factory workers, go during their lunch break. If you want to talk to students, go to college campus meetings.

Step 3 of 5

Conducting: When you start a user interview, it’s important to make sure the tester feels comfortable. Tell them things like:

  • “We’re testing the mobile app, not you. You can’t do anything wrong here”
  • “Don’t worry about making mistakes”
  • “Don’t worry that you’re going to hurt our feelings. We want to improve it, so we need to know honestly what you think.”

Make sure to let them know what the app is about and why are you doing the testing.

If you’re choosing to record them, ask their permission. Privacy is very important, so let them know that only you and the people working on the project will see the recordings.

When you begin asking the questions that you outlined during our preparation, try to use as few words as possible and focus on observing. Let them figure out how to do the task on their own using your interface. Just relax and watch carefully. Only give them hints when they are completely stuck.

Step 4 of 5

Analyzing: Now that you’re done conducting the interview, you want to analyze the information that you just received.

Focus on the behaviors of the users, and not just their opinions. If one participant gets confused about one of the tasks you asked them to perform, it’s highly likely that others will have that same problem. It’s useful information to record that and see how you can solve those problems specifically. That information is much more useful than, “I like this app,” or “I don’t like blue color”.

Step 5 of 5

Debriefing: You’ve done your analysis, and now it’s time to take those lessons learned and apply them to improving your app. There may be a variety of results that come out of your user testing. If your users are very confused, you may want to identify the gaps in information that you are missing. Return to the Hear section and think through a new set of user interview questions or do more research into alternatives that can be done to address the issues that confused people.

It is always a good idea to go through the cycle at least twice before you move onto the Deliver section. This way you know you’ve maximized your time and effort towards putting together a great app that people will use.

If you are happy with the results of the user testing, you can go ahead and finalize the app with your design and developer team. Get ready to move onto the Deliver section.