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What do I have to do to test my website prototype?

After finishing your project and presenting to the client, sometimes it’s needed to do usability tests with a prototype, to understand real users’ needs. So, you can export your hi-fi wireframe into HTML, or even test it remotely using Justinmind Server.

Before doing the test, is recommendable that you:

Prepare the test questions

  • If it’s an eCommerce site, you’ll need the users to buy something.
  • Maybe have them fill a form and submit it correctly.
  • Ask them questions about information on the site: ex: “how much does the book Hamlet costs?” or “does this site ships to England?”.

Note that these tasks should be the ones users will do more frequently, and pay attention to their mistakes or if they don’t understand something. If it happens to them, may happen to other users.

Do not include hints, or help them complete the tasks. It’s important to understand what users feel difficult to do.

Start with the easier tasks. It helps them improve confidence, and sometimes users get nervous when they cannot complete the first task. Reassure them that there’s nothing wrong if they make mistakes. It’s their job to find the potential mistakes, anyways.

Remember always that when a user fails a usability test, it’s a win situation: you can correct something that can be very harmful and dangerous: investing time and money in a bad usability website.

Finding users for a usability test
It’s important to find potential users to your site. Do not test your social network for old ladies with your graphic design friends. They use computers and have different tastes, goals and approaches to a website.

It’s not needed to test with more than 5 people, according to some researchers. Most of the conclusions with more people are repetitive and come to the same results, so 5 is considered the magic number.

During the test of your wireframe
There’s no need to help the users. If the user cannot complete the task alone, it’s ok. Note that down, and reassure him that there’s no problem. Everything users do may be important, from what they do to what they say during the test. Note that down. After the test, ask users why they’ve done something you didn’t understand.

After the test
Tell them it’s important to understand the tasks they couldn’t do, and then improve the site. Explain them how it was designed to work, because you can find more conclusions there.  They must know their feedback is important.

Get all the conclusions and write a report of changes that should be done to the prototype, and, if possible, test again.

Victor Conesa

About the Author

Victor is the Product Manager at Justinmind. His specialties include business analysis, usability, requirements management and prototyping. When not busy doing that he is known to eat or sleep.

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