7 Budget-Friendly Ways to Conduct App User Testing

  • Mobile App Design
  • 8 July
  • 7 min read

With over 2 million apps out there, building one and launching it is definitely not enough to gain success. If you want your mobile app to stand a chance it would definitely need testing. In fact, it’s a vital part of the development process.


By definition, user testing is the process of evaluating usability, functionality, design and user experience of an app by having real people performing specific tasks in realistic conditions. That’s usually an expensive process. However, it can help developers identify issues that could lead a fully-launched app to a complete failure. This process can be used to build and improve an app to its full potential.


Mobile app designers, developers or researchers are often tasked with user testing on a small budget. That made them think of some budget-friendly ways to do it. We’re going to list some examples of such ways below, so you don’t have to skip this important process due to a limited budget.

Start With a Smaller Group of Users

You don’t need to have thousands of people to test your mobile app. Yes, having more testers might be an advantage, but you can have great results from five participants as well. Providing your new mobile app for testing to a small group also gives you an insight into what you need to improve or fix.


Find your ideal set of users and start with them. Collect and learn from their feedback, then try with some more people. This way you can improve your app step by step, without spending a fortune on user testing.

Use Family, Friends or Some Random Strangers

People around you might turn out to be great beta testers. Don’t worry about reaching out to family, friends, or even random strangers you meet on the street. Any feedback is useful for your testing.


Don’t hesitate to ask people for a few minutes of their time to test your mobile app. Consider your target audience and visit the places it’s most likely to find it. Randomly asking people that look like your perfect user also works great. However, be aware of how much time your test takes and keep it no longer than 5 minutes.


Always make sure to share your intentions of why you are testing the mobile app and what feedback you’d like to receive. It’s best to use a release to help establish trust as participants would be fully informed of the way their feedback will be used.

You Don’t Need Fancy Equipment

You don’t need a fancy lab with high-tech equipment in order to conduct your user test. They might be great but aren’t a necessity in any case. Just a single quiet room might be perfect for your needs. 


Testers should use the app in its natural environment. This provides more accurate results than testing in a lab. They can even try it out on the streets if that’s where it’s supposed to be used. Whether in a conference room or at the mall, you should always make sure your mobile app is tested in the right environment.

Capture Only the Most Essential Problems

Be clear in what you are testing, so that the process is the most effective. Identify the main problems and their potential solutions, then test to see if the solutions work. Having a clear vision of the final result will make it way easier for UI/UX designers to achieve it for a lower cost.


Have short sessions with no more than three problems, as testing many of them at once will most likely lower the accuracy. Work on fixing these top problems before moving on to the next test. Dealing with only a few problems in a specific time frame increases the chances of them actually being solved. 

Ask Your Network for Feedback

Make the most use of what you already have at your disposal. That way you’ll be able to lower the spendings for testing to a minimum. If you have an email list created, for instance, you can use it to ask for feedback.


There’s a big chance that email subscribers accept to be beta testers since they are already following you. Furthermore, you can offer some kind of a gift card in exchange for their feedback. That’s one of the easiest ways to find participants for your user testing, that are also suitable in your target group.

Test Emotional Engagement

It’s very important to test your mobile app for emotional engagement as well, not only usability and functionality. We may consider ourselves logical, but still many of our choices are driven by emotion.


While testing always looks for the emotional response of a user. That’s exactly what creates the complex app-to-user relationship. Developing an emotional connection with your users leads to loyalty. You can ask them if they feel rewarded enough to return to your app, as that’s an easy way to test the emotional connection.


Having some small pieces of animation or sounds can also generate emotional engagement. Collect feedback towards that area so that you know how you can make your app more engaging to users. You can also check these 6 hot trends in UI design that would give an up-to-date look to your mobile app.


Remote User Testing

User testing processes are usually time-consuming and rather expensive as we already mentioned. These are the main reasons why more companies choose remote user testing. With the help of an online software program, the screen of test participants is recorded while they use your app at home or wherever they are.


That’s a good method if your app is designed to be used across the world,  as you won’t visit 5 different countries to perform testing, for example. With remote testing, you can also avoid the lab-based process, which is very expensive. This makes it the best solution for smaller companies planning to run user testing on a small budget. Remote testing is a great cost-effective method for frequent use as well.


User testing is an essential part of mobile app development. It’s highly important for isn’t a success. Usually, smaller businesses don’t have the budget of big organizations and try looking for some inexpensive ways to test their apps. Any usability issues need to be fixed and the general feedback should be positive before launching a mobile app on the market.


We’ve listed some budget-friendly ways to conduct mobile app user testing, so know you know testing could be done under different circumstances and not necessarily in a fancy lab.

You might also want to check these 7 pillars of UI design before developing your mobile app e, so you won’t have to fix that many problems after the testing are done. Good development in the first place also lowers the costs of user testing.


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