When you test your prototypes with users, you’ll get invaluable insight that can save you time and money later in the project—and reduce the risk of launching a flop! That’s because it’s generally cheaper and faster to change a prototype based on user feedback than it is the finished (or nearly finished) product.
If you’ve never tested a prototype before, it’s tempting to wait until you’re in the later stages of prototyping to get started, but you don’t need to. Best practice is to run multiple smaller rounds of UX testing against prototypes at every stage to quickly identify changes.
How to UX test prototypes
When remote testing you'll ideally want your prototyping tool to generate shareable HTML that users can access online. Tools like Axure, Invision and Marvel all allow you do this (we explain how to generate URLs from these tools below).
If your prototyping tool needs participants to install a viewer to see your prototype (e.g. as Flinto for Mac does) then you'll need to get in touch with us and run it as a Research project with our team since we'll need to contact participants in advance.
Lo-fi and incomplete is fine, just let users know
Even if the prototype is far from polished visually and not everything is working, all you need do is set expectations for users using something like this:
“We would like your feedback on something we are working on - it is not yet finished, and not everything works. So, no need to comment on the fact it’s black and white and if you get stuck please go to the start again.”
You can use the Special Requirements task type to specify this in your test design.
If it’s top secret, remove the branding
Even though all of the WhatUsersDo panel have signed NDAs, there are a couple more steps you could take to appease any internal concerns over secrecy:
- in some prototyping tools you can add a password to protect access to it (just remember to add the password to the task instructions so users can get in!)
- remove your branding from the prototype
How to generate URLs from popular prototyping tools
To prevent participants being distracted by the prototyping tool’s menus it’s best to generate a URL that removes them. Here’s how to do it in the three most popular tools:
- Upload your prototype to Axshare
- Open the prototype in a browser
- Click the Get Links icon
- Copy and Paste the Without Sidebar URL into your WhatUsersDo test as a Link to Visit task type
- Select the Share button (not the icon)
- Click more options on the Share Prototype pop-up
- Turn everything off
- Copy and paste the URL into your WhatUsersDo test as a Link to Visit task type
- Select Share and copy and paste the URL into your WhatUsersDo test as a Link to Visit task type
- If it’s an app prototype then include this as the first two user tasks:
- Open the link and then press the menu in your browser to add this to your phone’s Home Screen (you can remove it after the test).
- Go to your Home Screen and open the [name of prototype] app
See this article for more help on asking users to add your prototype to their home screen.
Testing a pre-release app prototype
If you’ve got an Android app that’s not yet in the Play Store then simply make the app available on a URL with these instructions:
“Open the link on your SmartPhone’s browser and install the App (please remove it after the test).”
Testing pre-App Store iOS Apps requires contact with participants—so unless you know them, it's likely you may need to use a Private Panel for these purposes.
That final pre-live check on your staging servers
Most staging servers are IP restricted, limiting access to staff on your network. With permission from your IT Team, we can set-up access to external users for the purposes of testing on our Research plans.