Tag Archives: usability

20 Questions Product Managers Should Ask about Mobile App Testing

I’ve worked as a product manager on several different types of mobile apps: Android, HTML5, iOS, phone, tablet…but always B2B. Building a new mobile app is a great experience. During testing, changes can be made very quickly to overcome weaknesses of the app.

The most challenging part of building mobile apps is building to the devices. Devices have limitations. Not everyone buys a new, high-priced phone or tablet every two years. Therefore, both the test plan and the project plan for a mobile app are dramatically different from a browser-based version of the same workflow. Product managers need to know the different scenarios in which the user runs the app, and they need to convey that information to the team. Below are some good questions to ask the team:

1. What are some ways we are testing security?

2. How are we testing with different screen sizes?

3. How are we testing the install and uninstall events?

4. Which carriers are we testing with?

5. Are we testing with no storage space available on the device?

6. Are we testing with low battery?

7. Are we testing with “dirty” devices (OS not upgraded, apps not upgraded, generally neglected)?

8. Are we testing with low-priced devices?


9. Are we testing with incoming calls?

10. Are we testing with the devices in different positions, alternating between portrait and landscape?

11. Are we testing with screen covers?

12. Are we testing with different pixel densities?

13. Are we testing using public Wi-Fi, maybe at Starbucks?

14. Are we testing with different screen brightness settings?

15. Are we testing whether we can walk and use the app?

16. Are we testing whether we can use just a thumb to use the app?


17. Are we testing with headphones plugged in to the device?

18. Have we looked at https://appthwack.com for automated testing?

19. Have we looked at http://www.perfectomobile.com for automated testing?

20. Why will people not like using this app?

 

I hope you enjoyed the post. Leave a comment on other questions to ask. For more activities for product management, read the Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.

10 Things Henry Ford Could Have Taught You about Product Management

I’ve been reading through Richard Snow’s I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford, and I’ve found a lot of parallels to my work in product management. Below are some things you could learn about product management from Henry Ford.

 

  1. A product can be wildly successful without being user-friendly. The Model T could literally break a user’s arm if the engine backfired during cranking. Just watch how difficult it is to use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0hQh_Ej_34
  2. Find a blue ocean. Ford’s blue ocean was people who worked in agriculture. The red ocean for automobiles at the time was the rich, monocle-wearing type; Ford instead focused on the middle class and dominated.
  3. When you’ve done something better than your competitor, make sure everyone knows it. If Ford won a race in the early days of automobiles, everyone knew it. When Ford offered his workers a higher rate of pay, everyone knew it. He took every opportunity to tell you why his company and product were better.
  4. Talking about new features means you’re going to have to continue doing new features. New features were not important to Ford, because his product was already correct. The customers became trained not to request enhancements.
  5. Don’t focus on innovation for innovation’s sake. Experiment with new product design for months before you commit to changes. Consider lots of prototypes.
  6. Once you know how to do it, build it quickly and cheaply. Focus on the efficiency and sustainability of your product.
  7. Have a single throat to choke when it comes to your product. Everyone involved with Ford’s product could have an opinion, but Henry Ford was in charge of that product. Someone else wanted it redesigned? Henry Ford noted it, but change was his decision.
  8. Eat your own dog food. Ford drove a Model T, and most of his workers drove one, too. He let his wife have a more drivable car, but he made sure most people around him were using his product.
  9. Let people talk about your product if they want to. There used to be joke books about the Model T and how cheap it was. Ford didn’t mind; he let people who discussed the Model T be a positive force for his product.
  10. When you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep your big mouth shut. Ford didn’t understand that his big mouth often hurt his product. He didn’t understand what we know as PR, but you wouldn’t make the mistakes he made.

For more information on product management and UX, read the Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.

New Product Managers: How a Simple UX Project is a Great Way to Get Started

Congratulations; you are a new product manager! Product managers need to pick the brains of existing users and potential users of products. They need to understand the different personas of users. They need to understand pain points of using the product and looking at the product. They need to have users that they can ask clarifying questions over the course of a year. If a new product manager does a simple UX project (like this one), she will have all those things early.

 

Recruiting

Recruit 5 expert users of the product. Recruit 5 users familiar with the product. Recruit 5 potential users of the product.

 

Questions

Have the participants answer a few questions about themselves and then have them complete about 10 common tasks using the product. Ask their name, age, and any other relevant demographical data. Ask their experience level: (a) I’ve never used it and never seen it, (b) I’ve never used it, but I’ve seen it, (c) I’ve used it once or twice, or (d) I’ve used it weekly or more often. Have them briefly take a look at the product. What do they think it is there to do?

 

Tasks

Start using a screen capture tool. I’ve used Screenr and CamStudio, and both are acceptable. Screenr is better. If data security is a concern, be careful with what you’re recording and where you’re storing it. Ask them to perform ten tasks. This should not take them more than 30 minutes.

 

More questions

Ask them, on a scale of one to ten, how easy it is to use a product. Ask them how the product could be improved.

 

Conclusions

The most difficult parts of the project will be fine-tuning the script and recruiting the users. Both of these activities are very valuable to a new product manager. By watching the recordings, figure out how long it took them to perform tasks. Look for patterns in the problems the participants experienced. Look at the quotes from participants and use them. Lastly, write a short paper with recommendations on UX improvements and translate the recommendations into business requirements and functional stories.

 

For more information on product management and UX, read the Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.