Short guide to testing prototypes

The process for the editor is moving to prototyping and that means an opportunity for testing and getting some feedback. What does that mean? What feedback is useful? How should you do those tests?

From now on, when there is a prototype or something that needs testing exactly, a post on make.blog will be made. The idea there is to also give a place for feedback (one today is coming for the latest prototype).

Beyond that, here are some basic more general suggestions:

  • When testing focus on tasks. Ask people to do specific things.
  • Record somehow the test, be that images, audio or video.
  • Try and test with a range of people and abilities if you can. Meetups are great for that, also look at both users with different levels of experience.

Format wise, how is it best to report?

  • If the prototype has a blog post calling for specific testing, then add as a comment there.
  • If something has bugs, pull out those bugs and report them into the repo for example for the latest prototype.
  • If you record videos, make sure to take notes and also pull out action points.
  • Split the user problem from the user (or yours) advice and solution. A user suggesting a UI change is referring to a deeper problem, and the user isn’t in the position of evaluating all the needs and whys of a change.

Thanks to @folletto and @joen for helping me with this post.