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It would be great if this group could develop guidelines/best practices for mobile testing our websites before they are launched. 

Need a way to have a site available outside of the network, but not necessarily broadly available, so that we can have users test on a number of different devices.

This is something that my group has bumped up against quite a bit . We know that we need to do mobile testing as we are developing our web sites and web applications. However, we cannot get to non-public websites without being on the network. So, this limits our ability to do any mobile testing to only those employees with USGS mobile phones. There are a few issues with only being able to use USGS devices – in my experience, many USGS employees with mobile devices have iPhones which behave differently than other devices, so we would not get a broad picture of how the application works across devices. Also, it limits our pool of who can do the testing since they would need to be internal and would need to have a USGS mobile device. My group has tried to deal with this in a couple of ways. We have used desktop emulator tools to test out how an application will look on mobile, but is quite different from how someone would actually interact with the site when holding a device in their hand. We have also created a "beta" tier of a website that is public, but has a nonsense URL so that it would not be easily discoverable. For many of our products, this has been an OK solution; however, I could see some products being more sensitive and this practice being more risky. 

Need a solution for developers to test features through a local host, so that they can make changes and immediately see the results.

There is also a question of being able to do efficient mobile development of the software, which is hard to do right now because you cannot start up a local host on the network unless you have a USGS device. This means that you need to push your changes up the chain and merge into a repository then deploy to your test tier before you can see what effect your change had. This may be a question for the software dev cluster, though. 

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Platt, Lindsay R, per our discussion, I will schedule the following:

    • A resource review to share the strategy/elements to consider when designing and testing user interaction/experience for a website/web application that will need to be available on different platforms.
    • A town hall to discuss why and how to test websites/web applications on mobile devices.

    Please let me know if you would like me to modify this plan in any way. Thanks!

    1. Unknown User (chungyihou@usgs.gov)

      Hi Platt, Lindsay R, I have created a resource review to address the topic of usability/UX design for mobile applications. I know you are more interested in the testing part, and I will create another resource review for this topic. However, I think integrating UX design is helpful as part of preparing/optimizing the testing, so I hope this first resource review is helpful. If you have any feedback/additional questions, please let me know. Thanks - Sophie.

      1. Unknown User (chungyihou@usgs.gov)

        Hi Platt, Lindsay R, I have now posted the resource review on testing usability with mobile devices/applications. I hope you will find the resource review helpful. As always, if you have any feedback/additional questions, I would be happy to discuss further. Thanks - Sophie.

  2. Unknown User (chungyihou@usgs.gov)

    A resource review has been created and posted to address areas relating to this topic: 

  3. Unknown User (chungyihou@usgs.gov)

    Another resource review has been created and posted to address areas relating to this topic: