Can ALL visitors easily use an application, including those who are a bit older, those with large fingers, those with degraded vision, those with poor monitor contrast, those who do not respond quickly to icons, etc?
What do phone users spend most of their time on? Interacting with mobile applications (or apps as most of us refer to them).
A recent study shows that phone users spend 86% of their mobile usage time solely on apps. Another study actually calculated this figure to be as high as 89%. And taking this further, it has also been found that mobile users spend 80% of their mobile app usage time using just five apps (out of the total of 24 apps they typically use in a month).
Thus it comes as no surprise that there has been an explosive increase in the number of phone applications especially those for games and social media. Forbes actually estimates that by next year, there will be almost 270 billion apps downloaded.
That being said, mobile phone applications are still restrained by the relatively small screen size and limited performance capabilities of the devices on which they run. It is true that phones have come a long way with larger screen sizes and increased processing capabilities. It is also true that mobile app design has evolved considerably. However, they lack the screen sizes and processing capabilities of larger devices such as laptops or desktop computers.
Research shows that usability is key for the success of mobile apps. In fact, a common trend among successful mobile phone applications is that they are perceive by users as being easy to learn, user-friendly and less time-consuming when completing tasks. Other researchers have actually identified a direct link between mobile application usability and user acceptance.
Despite the importance of mobile application usability, there is a lack of an agreed-upon list of guidelines. In this regard, the best way to evaluate the usability of mobile applications is through usability testing.