User Testing Techniques

One tip to promote increased learning at SXSW or any conference, is to go to sessions that you know little to nothing about. Such was the case in the “User Testing Techniques” session. In this room of programmers, I found myself watching users’ body language in affirmation of a point and used “bobbing heads” as a cue for a note. Here are a few points this layperson was able to capture, feel free to edit …

The end goal of user testing or “unmoderated study”, is to ensure a swipe and swoosh to the flow of a web program. Such information is gathered through end user feedback gleaned from quality data. Usertesting.com was suggested as one tool.

Because most clients don’t have the time or money for lengthly study, the panel agreed with RITE or Rapid Iterative TEsting, that occurs over the course of about three days to test, debrief and prepare final report. The disagreement among panelists circled around the best prototype to present to stakeholders and end users …

High Fidelity prototype presents …
Most like a real web experience
More like a finished product
Clients’ own data
A visible data end experience

pro =
Helps client cross over visually more quickly from theory to practice
con =
Prototype looks so complete, the client is loathe to see and/or ask for changes

Low Fidelity prototype presents …
More paper oriented
Unfinished look
Visual characteristics first to discover visual design

pro =
Feedback given more freely
Can be changed easily
Stakeholders involved more
Think outside the “snow globe”
con =
Client stays in theory-land longer

Good panel discourse. One of the best cues I heard were two programmers in back of me say … “They both have a point.” Those are my thoughts exactly.

It depends. Is your client more apt to imagine and appreciate a more unfinished prototype to clearly identify their end web goal. Or is another client more of a “show me” disposition who only focuses with tangibility. Or do most clents fall somewhere in between the RITE High and Low Fidelities … that crazy gray area! Tailor your response.

Linda