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A Look Into Our User Testing Process

Chris Cameron April 12, 2011

Just recently we released our latest iteration, version 5.0, of the Layar Reality Browser. This version introduced a few new features to the browser, including social sharing and 3D animation effects, but also included many improvements to the overall look-and-feel of the app itself, namely, a simpler navigation and a cleaner look.

These changes aren’t pulled from a hat; here at Layar, we conduct surveys and tests with our users in order to create the best experience for them. Chiefly responsible for these tests is our user research lead and interaction (UX) designer Klasien van de Zandschulp, who you may remember from our profile of her last December.

Klasien conducted several user tests prior to the 5.0 launch. Before features were built into a working beta version of the app, clickable PDFs were created for testing using an iPad or an iPhone. While the users in these cases were merely clicking through rough sketches of interface ideas, the information gathered was invaluable to the overall production of the app.

“In user tests, the most important thing is to have the user feel comfortable,” she says. “It’s important not to have the person feel like you are testing their knowledge or skills. You are testing if the design and flow of the app are clear for the end-user.”

The focus of a test is usually about usability issues, like the meaning of an icon, the logic behind the navigation or whether the user is able to find what they want in the least number of steps possible. Other results we collect during the user tests include the user’s mobile device usage habits, their sharing and discovery habits and what they feel is missing from the app.

We have found user testing to be invaluable to the process of developing iterations of the Layar platform and apps. Klasien believes that it’s very important for a UX designer to be involved in the usability test in order to experience how the end-user responds to, and interacts with, the design. Going forward, we plan to conduct more tests in different environments and situations, including outdoor tests.

Participate in a user test
We are always looking for people who want to attend a user test! If you are interested, please send an e-mail to

Join Layar’s User Panel
Now you can help us create an even better Augmented Reality app! We created the Layar User Panel because we want your opinions and feedback. Participation in the User Panel includes responding to occasional online surveys and being among the first people to test the latest beta version of our Layar app. Fill out our user panel application form to join!

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