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
- Technical questions
- App testing and security questions
- Additional mobile testing resources
1. What can I test on the Mobile Recorder?
- Websites: provide a URL
- Web-based prototypes: provide a URL of web-hosted prototype
- Unreleased Apps: upload the build
- Android App in the Play Store: provide the app URL
- iOS App in the iTunes Store: provide the app URL
Note: App store tests for iOS will need to be camera-based unless you are able to upload the build of the app.
2. Can I use the device's camera with the Mobile Recorder?
Yes, test participants 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’ll need to screen for participants that have 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 Manager.
4. Can I use the Mobile Recorder with my own participants?
At this time, you can conduct mobile website tests with your own participants using My Recruit. Mobile app testing with your own participants is not possible at this time. Please contact your Customer Success Manager for the latest information on when this will be available.
5. How long does it take to receive completed sessions with the Mobile Recorder?
Most Mobile Recorder sessions are completed within hours. Demographics and screening requirements will affect fulfillment time.
6. Do participants have to be sitting at their computer to complete a Mobile Recorder session?
No. Mobile recorder tests may be completed anywhere that’s safe and legal to use a mobile device (i.e. never while driving). 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, rather, have people speak them aloud instead.
Additionally, keep tasks simple, and avoid unnecessarily numerous or complex sets of tasks, as participants may have trouble following them. Participants 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.
8. What participant demographics are available with the Mobile Recorder?
You'll have the same participant demographic options as you do with desktop studies.
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 solution). If you're interested in other countries, please contact your Customer Success Manager.
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 your Customer Success Manager for more information.
12. Do I see any finger input or gestures with a 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 participant 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, screen for participants who have enough free memory on their device.
14. What happens if the upload fails?
The participant 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 participants 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 participant 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 visible 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 participants' 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.
- Currently, you can run mobile website tests on the Mobile Recorder with your own participants using My Recruit. Mobile app testing with your own participants is not possible at this time. Please contact your Customer Success Manager for the latest information on when this will be available.
- The iOS recorder can record only within your app, or a website. 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 order a camera test.
The UserTesting app requires usage of the mobile device's microphone to record the participant's narration. If your app also requires usage of the mobile device's microphone, you will need to order a camera test.
Our iOS mobile recorder will not record videos that appear within your app or on your site. The test participant will see and hear the video during their test, however since our recorder can't capture it, you'll see a black screen in it's place when you get your feedback.
- There is a developer option in Android which allows windows or views to be marked as ‘private’. These windows can’t be recorded by our app. Please ask your developer team for more details.
- Android 5.0 and later
- Most Kindles with microphones work (like Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire phones but not epaper tablets or paper readers)
- All iOS 10 or newer devices.
2. What are the minimum requirements for users to be able to test with Mobile Recorder (OS, battery life, free space)?
Test participants must have iOS 9 or Android 5.0 or higher, 400MB of free space when they try to take a test, at least 20% battery life
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 in the order form so you don't need to bother your developers. In some cases, manual integration is required.
5. How is the SDK integrated into my app in the order form?
Upload your iOS app build into the order form, and our order form will take a couple of minutes to attempt to integrate the SDK into your app. You’ll know it’s successful if you are presented with the option to use the Mobile Recorder. If you do not see that option, you will need to ask your developers to manually integrate the SDK.
6. If my developers need to manually integrate the SDK, long does it take?
Less than 10 minutes.
7. 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 or your developers will know you've integrated correctly if you see UserTesting messaging when you run your build in the simulator.
8. 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 participant rotates their device during a test, you can use a button on your dashboard to rotate the playback.
9. How is the app distributed to participants for Mobile Recorder tests?
Upload your build into the order form, like you would to TestFlight or HockeyApp. Your app will be distributed through our system to participants who pick up the session.
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?
Additional mobile testing resources