When it comes to prototyping an app there are a lot of different factors to take into account. Prototyping requires a lot of thought and work. Once you figure out the bare structure of your app it is important to get an outside opinion and see how users will interact with your interface. This is why user testing is such an important part of the prototyping process. The developer of an app may be blinded to simple problems within their app because they are too close to it, working with it all the time. Bringing in potential users brings a pair of fresh eyes to an app, that can pinpoint potential issues that will need to be worked out before the app is actually coded. Below are a few tips for the user testing process.
- Streamline Your Idea – In order for your user to get the right idea, your app must be focused. During user testing do not add extras to the app. Keep it bare bones, so that its just the simple structure of your app. You want to see how users will interact with it, and if they will be able to follow the flow of the app. You want them to understand how it works and how to use it. If the app is not focused, they make get distracted and confused. This would keep future customers from being able to gain value from the app.
- Keep it to a Rough Sketch – When designing an app, you know in your head what you want the app to look like. You want the aesthetics to be pleasing and to have a simple sleek interface. Design is fun, and is something that everyone likes to work on, but in this phase of user testing it is not important. In fact, its better to keep this prototype to a rough sketch so that users do not get distracted by the design. When user testing, you are testing for functionality, not design. So for this phase, keep your prototype as simple in design as you can.
- Post Testing Questions – During testing you will want to let the users interact with your app without your input. You want to see if the user can work your app without help. If they can’t get through it on their own then you will need to further refine the flow of your app. After they have tested your app, you will want to ask them questions. Ask them about how they liked the app, if they understood it, and if they have any other feelings as to how it is structured. Their input is of extreme value in the prototyping process.
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! Great designs are the result of great functionality. This reminds me of the 80/20 rule. Fantastic article, Grace!