Categories: Business / Mobile Apps
Every mobile app has something in common: they’re made for people. You wouldn’t build a house without thinking about how people live. So don’t build a mobile app without thinking about how people will use it.
Mobile apps don’t begin with coding. They begin with research, and lots of it. One crucial component is user research. User research is how you determine whether your app is solving a problem that people have – and whether it’s going about it the right way.
- validates your product premise
- validates the usefulness and usability of your solutions
- saves time and money spent on development.
Five people is really all you need
User research doesn’t have to involve thousands of people. Just five people is all you need for excellent results.
Why five? User one gives you the key insights. Users two and three support and expand those insights. Users four and five validate what you’ve learned from the other three users. Beyond that, you’re just spending time and money to get the same insights.
So how can you target your efforts to get the right five people? Choose users who represent your intended user group. Usually age, location and a specific interest in your type of product is enough. However, be sure to also recruit someone who can give insight into accessibility.
You can recruit from within your company or friend groups, but be mindful of bias.
It’s okay to seek out extremes
While some apps will target more niche users, others will be more general. A supermarket shopping app or a maps app will be more generally targeted than a gaming app, for example.
If this is the case, consider extending your user base beyond the “mainstream”. While you want to ensure that users who are squarely “average” are represented in your research, you can cover your bases by recruiting an atypical user. Having someone who’s less tech savvy, for example, can help identify potential issues that may apply to the long tail of your user base.
Where to find your users
If your app is general enough, you can put out the call through your personal, social and client networks. For very niche apps, you may need to go through a recruiting agency.
Other options for recruiting your users include recruiting via online communities such as Reddit and recruiting from your existing customer base. Once you have your potential users, screen them if necessary using pre-qualification calls and screener questionnaires.
Bear in mind that your users have other things going on in their lives, and you may have some drop-outs. This is especially true if you’re conducting research online. You can increase your chances of getting the users you need by making it easy for them to get to you – and by offering an incentive for participating. Slightly over-recruiting can help as well.
Need a plan for what to ask your users? Try this post.
Building a mobile app and need help with user research? Our team in Dallas-Fort Worth can help. Get in touch!