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Prototype testing – What, how and why?

Jul 8, 2016 | How To, Terms from the world of IT explained, Usability & User Experience

In the last edition of the series What, How and Why?, we gave you a closer look at Card Sorting. It helps you find the right menu structure for your app or website. Card Sorting is possible at every stage of the development life cycle. This time we would like to take a step back and give you some insight on how you can get feedback on your whole product.

Prototype Evaluation – What it is

In short: Prototypes are the first draft towards the final product. There are two types: software prototypes and design drafts. For usability testing only design drafts are used. First there is a paper prototype: You roughly draw your concept on paper to have a very first concept for discussing with your colleagues. Then you create a wireframe on a desktop. It’s a very simple digital drawing that shows the information architecture and is still black and white. The next step is a mockup. This coloured image gives you an insight on what the product will look like in the end. It’s not clickable, but it can be already used for usability testing. Finally, a click dummy simulates user interactions by connecting mockups with each other. The user can reach other mockups by clicking. The goal is to convince potential clients and investors with this click dummy.

Paper prototypes and wireframes aren’t suitable for crowdtesting. The testers need to have a more concrete idea of your design. If you already have a mockup or a click dummy – let the crowd evaluate your draft before development begins! Crowdtesting can help you find out if the prototype matches your audience’s expectations. The more detailed your design draft is, the better. UX experts call a detailed prototype hi-fi (high fidelity), whereas a rough draft still is a low-fi prototype.



Prototype Testing



Prototype Evaluation – How it works

The tester group, which is selected according to the demographic criteria of your target group, examines prototypes on their own devices for user-friendliness and provides usability feedback. The end users reveal whether the design has the potential to be successful. Based on the results gathered, recommendations can be integrated into the development process of your digital product. In the end you will have a significant advantage over your competitors.

Prototype Evaluation – Practical Example

Imagine you need to know the best user flow for a mobile provider app. It should contain all the necessary information about services, prices, packages and advantages. The best way to do Prototype Testing is a hi-fi click dummy. Here the user can click through the dummy and tell the mobile provider if the concept makes sense. The click dummy should contain the homepage of the app, some category pages (for example “combination packages”) and some service pages (for example “combination package call & surf XL”). The testers should get upfront instructions through the use cases. That means that they get a task like “buy a combination package”, but they are not told how do it. Then they try to reach the goal and answer some questions about their experience: Was the navigation intuitive? Did you like the design? In your opinion, what feature was missing? Did you like the menu? This feedback of your target group can be very valuable before investing time and money in development.

Prototype Evaluation – The Benefits at a Glance

  • Get feedback at an early stage to avoid a lot of work for developers
  • Get approval of the workflow and menu structure
  • Involve target group early on in the development phase
  • Collect new ideas
  • Save costs by being able to adapt the product at the beginning
  • Get feedback from Testbirds prototype testing experts

Would you like to learn more about the possibilities of Prototype Testing? Check out our website or contact us for further information.




Back to Testbirds’ website on Prototype Evaluation

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About the author

Maximilian Schmid

Maximilian Schmid

Online Marketing Manager

Once upon a time, Maximilian wanted to become the prime minister or a formula 1 driver. Today, he makes us visible on the web. Apart from that you can find him cycling, watching movies or playing snooker.



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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.

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