Mobile Recorder FAQ

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2016 11:35AM PST

UserTesting's new mobile recording technology allows participants to take mobile user tests directly on their iOS or Android smartphones and tablets. We record high-fidelity audio and video directly on the device. Gestures like taps and swipes are shown in the video using an overlay.

General Questions

1. What can I test on the mobile recorder?

  • Websites - provide a URL
  • Web-based prototypes - provide a URL
  • Unreleased Android Apps - provide a link to the Android app file
  • Android App in the Play Store - provide the name of the app
  • Unreleased iOS Apps - upload a build, just like you would to TestFlight

Note: App store tests for iOS will need to be camera-based

2. Can I use the device's camera with the mobile recorder?
Yes, testers can activate both the front facing and back facing cameras.

3. What is the recording limit on the mobile recorder?
We recommend that tests be about 15 minutes long. Technically the recorders can record up to 60 minutes of video, but you will need to pre-recruit users with 2GB of free space on their device for a test that long. If you're interested in doing longer tests, please contact your Customer Success team.

4. Can I use the mobile recorder with my own participants?
At this time, mobile recorder testing can only be completed with participants on the UserTesting panel. If you're interested in testing with your users/customers, you have the option to create a Custom Panel to onboard your users. Contact our Customer Success Team for more information.

5. How long does it take to receive completed sessions with the mobile recorder?
As you expect from UserTesting, we're here to provide results incredibly quickly. Most mobile recorder sessions are completed within hours. Demographics and screening requirements will affect fulfillment time. If you're ever unsure about your testing needs, please contact our Customer Success Team.

6. Do participants have to be sitting at their computer to complete a mobile recorder session?
No. Mobile recorder tests may be completed anywhere (except while driving or underwater!). Participants are not "tethered" to a computer. This means a participant can freely move about and test anywhere from the park to the couch at home.

7. Do I need to change how I structure study tasks or questions with the mobile recorder?
Yes. Avoid written answers when possible (have people speak instead), keep tasks simple, and avoid unnecessarily numerous or complex sets of tasks, as users may have trouble following them. Users will navigate back and forth from the task/question interface and the website or app. As a result, they will not have the task text readily available at all times. Please contact our Customer Success team for assistance; we can help review your study needs.

8. What participant demographics are available with the mobile recorder?
You'll have the same participant demographic options as you do with desktop tests.

9. What countries can I test in using the mobile recorder?
The UserTesting panel is primarily in the US, UK, and Canada (just like our desktop computer testing solution). If you're interested in other countries, please contact our Customer Success team.

10. Can I test other companies' apps?
On Android devices, yes. On iOS, this is not possible with the mobile recorder due to limitations of Apple's mobile ecosystem. We recommend camera-based testing for doing any app discovery or comparison testing on iOS.

11. Does the mobile recorder allow a participant to record a test any time they use my app?
A UserTesting test session is required for every video recording produced with the mobile recorder. If you're interested in a multi-part study with the same participants, contact our Customer Success team for more information.

12. Do I see any finger input or gestures with an Mobile Recorder test?
Yes, we show finger taps and swipes in the video recording. You will see animation on the screen depicting the finger gestures.

13. What happens when a tester runs out of space on their phone?
The app will crash and the recording will be lost. Our recorder checks to make sure the user has 400MB free, enough for a 20 minute test. If you're planning a longer recording, instruct the testers to ensure they have enough free memory on their device.

14. What happens if the upload fails?
The tester will receive an email with tips on getting it started again (ensuring they are on WiFi and opening the app as soon as they can). If the upload still fails, we will re-run the test for you.

15. Can I specify that the testers need to be a certain location to do a test?
Yes, but you need to keep some things in mind. If you ask for a general location that the user would normally be in during the day, they will probably be willing to do that with no special incentive (for example, "take this test outdoors in direct sunlight so we can check how viewable the screen is"). However, if you ask the user to make a special trip somewhere in order to take your test (for example, "drive to the grocery store to take this test"), they may not accept the test without proper incentive. For these location-specific tests, you should have a UserTesting subscription with research hours. We'll recruit test participants willing to go to a specified location and will pay them extra compensation for the time involved.

16. Will users' faces be recorded?
No. We only record a user's screen, voice and gestures.

17. How much do test participants get paid for mobile recorder tests?
Test participants will be paid $10 for mobile recorder tests. For camera tests, they will still be paid $15.

18. What are the limitations of the mobile recorder?

  • Fingers are not visible, as the recording is done by the mobile device itself. Instead taps and swipes are animated on the screen.
  • Recruiting external participants is not available for mobile recorder tests; test participants must be in the UserTesting Panel. However, if you are interested in testing with your own participants/customers, there is an option to create a Custom Panel to onboard your own participants. Contact your Customer Success Team for more information.
  • The iOS recorder can record only within your app, or a web site. It cannot record other companies' apps, due to Apple's security restrictions. So if you want to do an app store discovery test on iOS, or a competitive test, you will need to do a camera test.

Technical Questions

1. What Mobile Operating Systems and devices are supported?

  • Android 5.0 and later
  • Kindle devices with microphones (like Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire phones but not epaper tablets or paper readers)
  • iOS 8.0 and later
  • iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus
  • iPad 3, 4 or Air and iPad Mini or Mini 2

2. What are minimum requirements for users to be able to test with mobile recorder (OS, battery life, free space)?
Test participants must have iOS 8 or Android 5.0 or higher, 400MB of free space when they try to take a test, at least 20% battery life, and one of the following devices (iOS only): iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6 or 6 Plus/ iPad 3, 4, or Air/iPad Mini or Mini 2.

3. Where do I obtain the iOS SDK?
Click here for more information.

4. Another SDK? Do I have to?
We do our best to integrate our SDK for you so you don't need to bother your developers. In some cases manual integration is required.

5. How long does integration take?
Less than 10 minutes.

6. What does integrating the SDK do?

  • Your build will no longer be app store allowable. You should think of these builds as disposable "test" builds. They aren't meant for production, and won't see the light of day outside of a UserTesting test.
  • The app can only be opened during a UserTesting test. Opening the app outside a test will show a message saying, "You must be in a test to use this app".
  • You'll know you've integrated correctly if you see UserTesting messaging when you run your build in the simulator.

7. How do you deal with landscape (horizontal) vs. portrait (vertical) mobile usage with the Mobile Recorder?
The UserTesting video player interface has a rotate function so you can view both landscape and portrait usage easily.

If the user rotates their device during a test, you can use a button on your dashboard to rotate the playback.


8. How do I send the app to testing participants for mobile recorder tests?
Just upload your build like you would to TestFlight or HockeyApp.

9. How do I run an mobile recorder user test with an InVisionApp prototype link on iOS?
To complete a mobile recorder test on iOS using InVisionApp, you'll need to adjust the Force "Add to Home Screen" when being viewed on iOS devices to OFF when generating your share URL.


Note: The URL generated by Flinto prototypes needs to be appended with "?in_browser=1". This will allow the user to interact with the prototype inside our recorder and prevent the user from having to create an icon on their home screen. This might cause issues however, as it will push the prototype down the page a bit. This may obscure smaller icons or buttons.

App Testing and Security Questions

1. My team has some questions about app security with the iOS SDK. Can you tell me more?
The UserTesting SDK for iOS locks your app to the test. You can't run the test version of the app outside of the UserTesting environment. If someone tries to run your test app outside of a test, an error message will appear and your app will not be accessible. The downloading of the iOS app to the test participant is also securely facilitated through UserTesting. A user's login is linked to the app download (once they qualify for the requirements of the test).

2. Do I need the SDK to test a website on iOS?
No. The SDK is only for iOS app tests.

3. Do I need an SDK for Android testing?
seconds ago
a minute ago
minutes ago
an hour ago
hours ago
a day ago
days ago
Invalid characters found