Here’s another thing to test when you’re doing mobile app usability testing – how easy the app is to use from different holding positions. According to UX expert Steven Hoober, there are three major ways users hold mobile phones. Of those he and his team members observed interacting with a mobile phone in-the-wild:
- 49% held the device with one hand
- 36% cradled the phone with one hand and used the other for actions
- 15% held it with two hands
The differences don’t stop there though. Steven observed at least two different ways users might hold a phone for each of those three categories. Here are some illustrations of how people might hold their phone and how it effects their reach. (Green means good accessibility, yellow requires a reach and red means the user will have to shift to reach the area.)
Of those observed holding their phones one-handed, 67% used their right thumb to touch the screen.
When users cradled their phone, 72% still used their thumb to perform actions. The remainder used a finger. Users were more likely to hold (or cradle) the phone with their left hand, using the right to navigate.
Though it offers better access to the entire screen, only 10% of those observed using their phone with two hands were using it in landscape position. Either way, users hold the device with their fingers and use both thumbs on the screen.
It’s not something we think about often, but if you want to be a thorough mobile app tester try hold the phone in different ways to make sure the app is just as accessible.