Mobile and Tablet Testing at Bunnyfoot
Here at Bunnyfoot we’re always looking to improve and innovate on our processes, methodologies and equipment. As a User Experience Consultancy, testing our products on customers is at the very centre of what we do. Innovation in testing is pivotal for us to have the most natural way to observe our participants. Over the last 3 years we’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of mobile and tablet testing we carry out on a weekly basis – mainly driven by the rise of ‘mobile-first’ design.
Filming the user interaction with a phone or tablet provides its own challenges. This is especially critical for us as we need to keep things natural for the user just like they were using their devices at home or on the move.
Step 1: The obvious approach
A participant attempting to order from his favourite pizzeria while we observe using the obvious approach
We started out with a camera on a short arm attached to the phone or tablet. This was great as it let us see the screen of any device and the participant’s hands interacting with it. However, it didn’t make for the most natural experience for participants. Holding an iPhone with a camera hanging over it wasn’t much like sitting on your sofa in your PJs placing an order through to your favourite pizzeria app.
We looked into various methods of wired and wireless screen mirroring in the hope of finding something which would work over a wide number of devices running Android and iOS. There are a number of applications out there which let you mirror the screen of your device to a PC or Mac using WiFi, Bluetooth or a cable connection and they vary in terms of their reliability, compatibility and mirroring delay.
Step 2: The revised obvious approach
We repurposed our HD webcam previously on the phone arm and moved this to a repositionable desk mount to look ‘over-the-shoulder’ of the participant (as unobtrusively as possible) so we could still pick up any rogue finger presses and swipes.
The participant testing with an iPad using the revised obvious approach – the camera is fixed in position and thus becomes less obtrusive
Step 3: The quietly confident approach
We upgraded our picture-in-picture software so we could get a 1080p feed from both of our HD webcams. We combined this with the screen mirroring software to produce a 3-way feed of:
- the participant-facing camera (for facial coding, emotional responses etc.)
- over-the-shoulder camera (for interactions)
- the device’s display via screen mirroring.
We wanted to record all of this in MP4 format so our consultants could grab the recordings and start editing them on their MacBooks immediately after the session.
The complete lab set-up shows 3 different angles we can capture the participant’s usage – over shoulder; front view and screen mirror.
Step 4: Smart User Testing
We’ve hit on a really great hardware and software combination with flexibility to allow us quick switching between mobile/tablet testing, desktop testing, card sort exercises etc. Plus we can have participants sit back on a sofa/armchair in our ‘living room’ lab or at a desk in our normal lab. The team believe the current method has been perfected, so they’ve christened it the ‘MrDommy’!
We get many enquiries and happy reviews about the success from using our labs. You can get in touch about carrying out some mobile/tablet testing at Bunnyfoot in one of our 5 UK labs.
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