Prototype usability testing is essential when it comes to analyzing your product status. This helps you know what users like about your product or what they want to be changed. As a result, the overall user engagement with your product is improved. But there always are some mistakes that people neglect in prototype testing, which ultimately affect the testing results. This article is all about those mistakes along with a short and suitable solution to avoid them.
Top 8 Mistakes
Mistake #1: Testing a prototype that’s either too unfinished or too polished
Testing prototypes at a lower fidelity level is a good idea as a general rule. To understand how users will react to the product, your mockups don’t have to be perfect.
There is, nevertheless, a delicate balance. You don’t want something that’s so low-fi that it doesn’t look anything like the final product. If it’s too high-tech, you will waste time polishing one version rather than obtaining new and actionable input.
Test a couple of different versions at different levels of fidelity.
Make a couple of rough versions with similar fidelity, not too low or too high. People may be less likely to give you the candid and critical feedback you need to move the product forward if you only have one prototype or that prototype is too highly developed or not developed enough.
Mistake #2: Being underprepared
Users may feel lost before they’ve even begun engaging with your product if you don’t provide clear instructions that they can examine before the test.
These instructions should include the context of the prototype. Outline any restrictions they may have with this iteration upfront, so that hiccups in the prototype are expected rather than distracting.
Provide simple and direct instructions.
It doesn’t have to take a long time to write a guide. If your instructions are short and simple, they will be easier to follow.
While you normally need some direction and standards for user testing, this is a scenario where they’re very important. However, it’s important to keep the guidelines straight to the point.
Mistake #3: Assigning unsatisfactory tasks
Assigning faulty tasks is analogous to having someone taste ingredients from a recipe rather than preparing a meal.
Similarly, don’t take your testers on specific user journeys or site flows that you’ve planned but are unrelated to the typical user experience. Sending your users on a single path may lead to confirmation bias, and your assumptions about user flow aren’t questioned.
Create tasks based on your actual goals and anticipated user experience and flow. You must go beyond the research box and consider real-world circumstances in which a user or consumer would be seeking a product similar to yours.
Testers may want to learn about additional services available, look up nearby venues, or read reviews. In this way, scenarios enable you to learn more about the context for the design, and crafting the proper ones can help you avoid many prototyping errors.
Mistake #4: Asking the wrong questions during prototype usability testing
Think of prototype usability testing as being similar to a treasure hunt. If a map is like a goal, and user insights are like a treasure, then questions are your directions. Asking the correct questions can lead you to the proper information and user input, which can help you make better design decisions.
The approach is simple: consider if the questions you’re asking will provide you with more information about your final research goal or about how users completed activities.
Mistake #5: Asking too many questions when prototype usability testing
You run the danger of upsetting your users and producing survey fatigue if you ask too many questions. This is one of the most prevalent prototyping mistakes.
If you irritate your users, their feedback will be skewed against your mockup. Meanwhile, survey fatigue, or the exhaustion that occurs from answering too many survey questions, will lead to lower-quality data near the end of the testing period.
Select your questions with caution.
After each task, ask 1-2 follow-up questions, with a few questions at the end of the test. If you’re searching for specific questions to ask, check out Step 4 of our guide to prototyping here.
Mistake #6: Recruiting too strictly
Another big prototyping blunder occurs when deciding who to conduct research with. One of the most typical reasons for skipping user research in the early stages is the belief that you can just go off of your most recent user persona.
You’re losing one of the most important aspects of user testing if you go too narrow or aim for a large set of testers. To get a fresh perspective on your product, put it in the hands of real people. And don’t shy away from gaining insights from new users!
When it comes to selecting user research subjects, we should all “recruit loosely and grade on a curve.” Any user research tester, not simply those who perfectly match the profile of your ideal consumer, can identify usability difficulties.
You don’t need to concentrate on only recruiting those who match neatly into a narrow target demographic, unless your technology is designed for such a niche group that only a small portion of people can use or comprehend it.
Mistake #7: Not having a system to collect prototype usability testing feedback
Whether your testing is moderated, unmoderated, remote, or in-person, you’ll need tools to collect feedback ready to go on the day of the test. The time you just spent on testing sessions will be lost if you don’t have a system in place to collect feedback.
It will take longer to sort your feedback if it is disorganized. It will be prone to so many inaccuracies that it will become unusable if it is not precisely captured and instead relies on the moderator’s memory in some way.
Choose the approach that is most convenient for you.
A paper survey may be the ideal option if you’re testing with paper prototypes. Remember that paper surveys will take more time to enter data and code responses afterward. For wireframes, digital prototypes, and other online early-stage designs, you will want to consider a remote usability testing platform like TryMyUI.
Mistake #8: Forgetting best practices on the day of testing
There are various prototype errors that you must avoid on the day of testing. This includes forgetting best practices.
You should seek written and signed authorization before collecting any type of personal information and using testers’ responses or recording sessions for later analysis.
When you’re discussing your prototype, make sure the terminology you choose is neutral. Furthermore, if you’re a designer engaging in the research process, don’t reveal to users that you created the prototype.
Make sure to avoid these mistakes during prototype usability testing for getting accurate test results. Consider the solution of these mistakes in order to avoid them easily.