Guerilla testing on mobile devices

A couple of weeks ago The University of Dundee’s external relations team released data from some guerrilla usability testing they had conducted during their freshers’ week. It was an incredible data sample, and fresh off the back of our most recent usability testing of the digital prospectus, it seemed like a good excuse as any to try out some guerrilla testing.

What is guerrilla testing?

Guerilla testing is a type of usability testing that can be carried out almost anywhere; like the definition of guerrilla, which is typically applied to fighting, the tests are performed in an impromptu way. Unlike traditional usability testing, participants aren’t recruited beforehand, but are approached by testers out in the street, for example. 

Participants are asked to complete a few tasks in order to test the usability of some software or a webpage. The results are largely quantitative and can illustrate quickly whether the software or webpage is fit for purpose or needs to be improved. Guerrilla tests are also typically shorter than standard usability tests.

Why guerrilla?

Some advantages of conducting guerrilla testing include:

  • can be a quick way to gauge user experience
  • can be cheaper than traditional user testing
  • provides immediate qualitative information about the webpage or software
  • can be conducted at various places, with various groups of people easily.

How are we going to test?

For the usability tests we conduct at St Andrews, we have been using Lookback, which we have found to do the job reliably. Helpfully, the software also caters for mobile testing on Android and iOS devices, so we’ll use that this time and see how it goes.

Myself and Steve will be at the University’s library on Monday 6 March between 2pm to 4pm testing any interested students. Oh, and we’ll have donuts. Incentives are crucial for a good sample size.

What are we going to test?

A few weeks ago, before the launch of the digital prospectusI conducted some usability testing on the subject and undergraduate pages to see if there were any glaring usability issues. In line with the outcomes from that testing, we have:

  • moved the modules section so that it is more noticeable
  • added a link to the modules section
  • made joint Honours information more noticeable on the subject pages.

The purpose of the guerrilla mobile testing will hopefully kill two birds with one stone. We will be able to gauge how users interact with the digital prospectus on mobile devices, and we should also be able to see if the changes we have made have improved user experience or not.

If you’re a member of staff and are interested in taking part in any future usability testing, or are interested in conducting some testing, please email digitalcommunications@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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