What will testing achieve?
Testing the prototypes created in the previous stage allows for valuable feedback with real-world customers who could potentially use these products once they launch. This will help you to find out how well your prototype solves the problem that was initially defined. This step is essential for fine-tuning a prototype, or spotting a problem before too much time has been spent on designing or developing it.
Why is testing important
It’s important to constantly learn and question the actions and motivation behind users decisions. It’s important not to instruct a user how to use the prototype or give them guidance, as in a real-world scenario this wouldn’t be a true representation of how the product would be used. The primary goal is to learn and analyse how the user interacts with the prototype. It’s fine to question the user’s thoughts and actions in order to learn more about the prototype.
How to best structure the testing phase
The test phase should be structured in a way that we can learn something from the user. Defining what you are hoping to achieve from a testing session beforehand is the best way to conduct the testing phase. Are there any pain points throughout the process? Any positives? What should be iterated on in order to improve the user experience? The user should carry out their journey as naturally as possible, allowing for questions at the end to further understand their experience.
If it’s possible, recording the workshop can be extremely beneficial. It allows for a further understanding of body language and captures any feedback that may have been missed or overlooked first time around.
Although it may not seem obvious, it’s always wise to include more than one person to analyse and document the test phase. Rather than delegating your focus to multiple areas, have one person set up the scenario, explain the context and interview the user, while someone else focuses fully on observing everything the user does in relation to the prototype or product they are testing. Again, filming the outcome is the most ideal scenario but this may not be possible in certain circumstances.
Observe and document
Observing and documenting can give valuable insight into how a product is used or misused compared to its original intention. Often as designers, we can create something which is designed with a specific intention or direction, however, without actual interaction with potential real-world users through testing, there’s no way of knowing exactly how they’ll use it.
This method can be great to figure out what design or user experience users prefer. This can range from an entire page to button styles, navigation elements etc. Being able to test both options, or multiple concurrently, users are able to compare between both A and B. Observing and questioning each participant’s actions allows for feedback to be gathered on both. Not all users may prefer one or the other, they may prefer specific parts of A and specific parts of B.
Using web-based prototyping tools can be a great way to get feedback from users. At Komodo, we use inVision to upload our wireframes or designs, in order to create prototypes that can be used on a number of different devices. Users can test the prototypes and leave notifications directly onto the designs, often detailing specific feedback in relation to changes etc. Addressing any pain points at a loose wireframe stage can be far more beneficial than discovering a change that needs to be implemented further into the project.