Have you conducted usability tests with real users?


The purpose of testing a prototype is to gather feedback from users and stakeholders on the usability, functionality, and overall experience of your idea.

Once you understand the purpose of testing, it’s time to create a test plan. A test plan should outline the objectives, tasks, and metrics for the test, as well as the timeline and resources needed.

Step 1

Articulate your objectives for your testing ie what you are trying to find out about your prototype. Don’t try to solve too many things at once, as this will cloud your results. This will guide everything that follows.

Step 2

As a team, identify which persona(s) you want to research with. Find out from people at the extremes as well as in the mainstream, as the extremes will give you greater insights (eg. first time users vs well-versed users).

Step 3

Decide on the criteria that best suit your research objectives and your prototype (eg. geographic location, online vs in-person). If you have a physical prototype, you may need to research in person.

Step 4

Choose the type(s) of research that will give you the best results. Online surveys and focus groups are good for sentiment and data, while indepth (one-one-one) interviews allow for deeper empathy and understanding of your users’ experience, motivations and needs.

Step 5

Ensure you are asking the right research questions to meet your research goal and what you are trying to understand. Here’s a set of criteria to help ensure you get honest, unbiased feedback:

  • Introduce your prototype as a work in progress
  • Invite participants to treat your rough prototype as if it were real
  • Invite honesty, stay neutral (don’t sell your idea/journey), and be curious
  • Don’t be precious – be willing to change/adapt anything
  • Be prepared to integrate feedback and iterate on the fly

Note: you can repeat this process with higher fidelity versions of your prototype, once you have iterated based on research feedback.

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