A new article for the 5th and last step of design thinking, the testing phase. In this article we will give you some tips on how to test efficiently. Testing your prototypes is the last step but it will also allow you to make observations that will lead you to the previous steps in order to optimize your solution. So don’t see the design thinking process as linear.
It’s time to test your prototypes !
The importance of testing your prototypes
The testing phase may seem easier than the previous phases because the creation work has already been done, but this is a mistake! It is essential to prepare meticulously the tests of your prototypes. It is during this step that you will be able to evaluate if your solution is in adequacy with the users’ needs. If the tests are not prepared in advance, you risk validating a product or service that is not a viable solution to the problem you have defined. Or conversely, you risk abandoning a solution that is in line with the needs of your target audience.
Mistakes during testing can be extremely costly financially and can result in a significant loss of time.
Preparing for the testing phase
It is not enough to leave your office with your prototype and go out to collect opinions in the street. To start with, you can take your data from the empathy phase to target the potential users to be interviewed. You need a representative sample of your target.
You also need to think about all the exogenous variables that could influence the results. Here are some examples:
- Avoid interviewing your colleagues, friends or family members. Their opinions may be biased by their feelings for you.
- Think about the user’s environment. For example, do not test your prototype indoors if your product or service is intended for outdoor use.
- The day of the week, or the time of day you test is not to be overlooked either. Your sample may, for example, use your prototype differently depending on how tired they are.
There are many other variables that will depend specifically on your prototype, so be forward thinking and try to get as close as possible to the actual usage situation.
5 tips for a successful testing phase
The 5 tips we will give you here come from the Interaction Design Foundation.
- Let your user experience your prototype by himself. Present the prototype as simply as possible, don’t tell him how to use it
- The tester must speak during the discovery of the prototype. Ask him to express his impressions and feelings while using the prototype. You need to know if it corresponds to his expectations or if some features surprise him.
- Observe his reactions. Never tell him that he uses the prototype badly. Every mistake can be used to improve your concept. It is the prototype that is tested, not the participant.
- Once you have given him time to experiment, start asking him questions. The goal is to get more precise information about his feelings. Pick up on phrases they have said previously and try to go into more detail to get the most complete data possible.
- It is important to insist on the criticisms, they are what will allow you to make your prototype evolve. Prototypes exist in order to make mistakes at a lower cost.
The think2make method
When you analyze the results, don’t just focus on the average. Also pay attention to the standard deviation. Specifically for an innovative concept, you don’t want everyone to think your prototype is “cool”. You want to provoke reactions from users. In innovation, indifference is your worst enemy! A product or service that provokes very different reactions deserves your attention. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it will be a success either, no one can be sure of that.