When it comes to prototype usability testing, it’s crucial to get accurate feedback and data so you can move forward in the UX design process. One of the best ways to ensure accuracy is by writing appropriate tasks for your users to follow. However, this is not an easy feat. Because prototype usability testing features incomplete designs and user interfaces, there is an art to how you set up tasks. In this article, we will illuminate the best way to write tasks for prototype usability testing.
The importance of prototype usability testing
As we have discussed in previous articles, prototyping is an important step in the design process. This means that prototype usability testing is also important. It allows you to have an early view of your design’s user experience. That way you can make crucial changes before the design goes into production, saving your team time and money correcting mistakes on the back-end.
However, because prototype usability testing features working with your design at an incomplete phase, it’s important to write your usability test in a way that users can easily navigate it. It doesn’t matter if the prototype is high fidelity or not. You have to be strategic about how you write your tasks to get the best possible results. Let’s get into some tips to writing prototype usability testing tasks.
Tips for writing prototype usability testing tasks
Creating usability tests for a prototype is a completely different ball game from other types of usability testing. This means every aspect of the test should be strategically put together. Task writing is the foundation. Here are five tips to ensure that your prototype usability testing tasks are well-written and appropriate for the situation:
Set clear expectations:
It’s important to set clear expectations with your users. Start with defining the test scenario in a way that users understand the context for this design. As well, set the stage for users by letting them know that at this stage, there may be broken links or limited ability to click through or navigate the interface. This way they can focus their feedback on other aspects of the user experience.
When users come into the test with the understanding that this is not a fully fleshed out website or mobile app, they can focus on the early stage elements you may need to work on before moving to the next phase.
Focus on visuals, layouts, and information:
When writing tasks for a prototype usability test, it’s important to focus on the visuals, information shared, and layout of the interface. Because many of the links and buttons may not be functional, it’s futile to write tasks that focus on these elements. You should ask users to assess the way things are placed or have them walk you through how they might move through a particular page.
From there, get their insights on how intuitive the workflow or navigation appears. You can also ask them if the design contains enough information about the brand, product, or experience. This will help you figure out what content is helpful to the user’s workflow.
In addition, ask users about their feelings towards the visuals overall. Ask questions about color schemes, text size, image placement, and other visual elements. This will help you determine if your user experience is accessible to all. You may find that you need to use larger font or more visual contrast between text and color elements.
Ask reasonable and realistic questions:
Because a prototype is part of the early stage design, it’s necessary to set up tasks that your users can actually complete during the prototype usability testing process. It is a waste of time to have users clicking dead links or assessing navigation that you haven’t fully fleshed out yet. A more purposeful use of the test time would be to focus on what’s there for users to navigate.
Guide users through the workflow:
Since parts of the prototype workflow might be inaccessible for testing and feedback, you should guide users through the workflow that they can follow. While you don’t want to be overbearing in your guidance, your tasks can include specific elements to work through. As well, you can direct them to try specific links or buttons, if they are active. So long as they are aware that this is a rough draft, they should be able to provide commentary on the user experience without difficulty.
Get overall feedback:
A key component of prototype usability testing is getting overall feedback on the design. It’s important to ask a culminating question that users can answer by sharing reflections, overarching opinions, and suggestions. Because there are parts of the design you can’t fully assess, getting this overall response allows you to tap into your user’s feelings about the product design and user experience. This closes the gap in real-time emotional feedback.
The long and short of it is this – your tasks are the foundation of your prototype usability test. Without solid, well-written tasks, you won’t get accurate feedback and data from your users. Therefore, it’s important to implement the tips above to elevate your prototype usability testing.