Usability Testing for Smart TV – Quick Tips and Considerations

04 / May / 2017 by Anurag Singh 0 comments

Usability is the degree of user-friendliness of any application. Hence, the primary focus of usability testing is to understand the way real users interact with a product and possible solutions to improve its design.

However, when it comes to usability in Smart TV Apps, the focus branches into multiple aspects such as focus handling, scrolling, network supportability, and back navigations. It should be smooth and comprehensible.

One must set the following goals to bring about a continuous usability in a Smart TV App:

  • A user should find it easy to accomplish tasks the first time they use it
  • When a user comes back to using your App after a long while, it should seem familiar to him
  • Users should be able to complete tasks quickly on your site once they are acquainted with it
  • Users must enjoy the design of your App
  • The number of errors users make on the App should be less or must be recoverable without difficulty


A usability test brings the users into play while they are working on typical tasks that are of high priority. This way you can uncover usability shortcomings in your application.

Why is Usability important?

Usability can complete tasks accurately providing a seamless user experience. It is mainly used to identify the rigidness of any process, whether it is easy going or not. Ease of app is necessary when it comes to usability testing in Smart TV.

How to achieve high usability?

  • Iterative design process
  • Measure
  • Evaluate by using early UX stages

There are certain key points that a QA should keep in mind before testing the usability of Smart TV Apps. They are enumerated below.

Understanding of the System

  • Comprehend the system well before you start working as a QA.
  • Empathize with actual users- What kind of improvement, the current users of a Smart TV looking for from usability perspective.
  • Perform sanity checks using the principles of Heuristics.

A minimal number of Button Clicks on the Remote

  • While using Smart TV Apps keep a minimum number of clicks on its remote to maintain the level of interest in users to use the app further.
  • Every app should also keep the least number of the press of remote keys and do not force a user to click multiple times on the same key and should work on single click.

Use of intelligible Content

Make sure the app you are developing for a Smart TV does not have any content which is not clear or obscure. Users should readily understand it, whether using for the first time or coming back fresh after a long time.

Appropriate Visual and Navigational Views

  • Navigation between menu, header options, tabs, and buttons should be clearly visible and identifiable.
  • Visuals should be neat and elaborative so that a user can use the app smoothly without getting confused between different navigations, focus, scrolling, and clicks. It must also be able to fit various screen sizes and resolutions.
  • Categories and subcategories of an App must not create confusion and be understandable.
  • A maximum number of design reviews should be made to make the visuals sharper and bug-free when it comes to alignment, spacing, etc.
  • Test the loading indicator or progress rate displays while loading or buffering.
  • Test whether the languages on the App Info page of the Diamond system are supported in the App properly.
  • Test whether the menus and functions are implemented the same way as App Description.
  • Test whether all buttons on Help bar in the app is working normally. Execute all menu and functions to see if they work smoothly and are easy to use.

Robust Search Support in the App

  • Providing the content Search feature in the Smart TV App is necessary to reduce the lost-and-find effort of a user in the app.
  • Users mostly depend on a user manual to learn the procedure to access system data within the app. Thus, we must provide with a support Search option to look for any query.
  • An auto-search must be implemented in the app to predict partial matches to search items and potentially save the users from entering the entire string of characters.
  • Display recent Search history. It will enable users to recall their query if they forget it or move on to the next.
  • Use or implement the alphanumeric text keyboard in search to make the user easily search any content either its numeric or char to perform searching based on the selection made by the user.
  • Implement an alphanumeric on-screen keyboard in Search to make it easy for users to look for text, both numerals, and alphabets.

Decision Making Support 

  • The App should assist users in not only locating a particular content but also in browsing, and content discovery.
  • As users browse large sets of content like the channel guide or the VOD programs, the design of screens should provide the right information in the right way and at the right time.

Usability testing provides a seamless functionality and improves the user experience to a great extent and can be further enhanced if the mentioned methods are taken care of.


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