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Rapid Prototyping and Testing for Better Designs - GA workshop

I recently attended the Rapid Prototyping and Testing for Better Designs workshop at General Assembly. Whilst I was already familiar in creating wireframes and prototypes, I didn’t have much hands-on experience with user testing, or the “rapid” part of prototyping. I was keen to know more! 

After running through some introductory slides about the value of prototyping and testing, it was time to get hands on. 

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Our teacher Alex, a Senior UX Designer at ANZ, put us into groups and gave us a brief to design a prototype for public transport. Accompanying the prototype, we also needed to develop a scenario and a research question. 

Concept:
Our group decided to base our idea around tourists on trams. We all had seen people miss their tram stop because the stop isn't announced and/or no-one had pulled the cord. 

Our scenario: 
- You are a tourist
- You want to go to Melbourne Museum
- You know what tram to get, but you don’t know when to get off

Our research questions: what visuals would most clearly enable a user to successfully depart at their desired destination. (We were later told that this was quite broad, and we could also have tested smaller pieces too, such as a single element like an icon). 

Prototypes:
We had 30mins to develop a prototype(s). Time ran out fairly quickly but we managed to produce three rough prototypes with varying degrees of visuals and text. The point of the short timeframe meant was to ensure that we only had time to get the absolute basics of our idea onto paper, and not waste time getting stuck on details.

User testing:
Then it was time to user test our prototypes on another group. Lloyd from our group acted the facilitator, with Sarah and myself taking notes as observers. We made sure that the user felt comfortable and understood that this was not a test, and that there were no wrong answers. 

Lloyd explained the general concept of the app and then revealed each prototype, asking them what they thought was happening on each screen. It was quite hard to not lead them at first! A key question that Alex highlighted as an important one to continually ask: “what do you expect to see”. 

Results:
It was really exciting to see how much could be revealed from just an hour-long session of prototyping and testing. 

Key findings:

  • We hadn’t considered how it would feel to use if you weren’t confident in English. Iconography to accompany text was useful (e.g. the ‘search’ icon on prototype #1)
  • Following on from the language barrier, the notifications from prototype #2, if they have trouble reading english then they might think the first push notification was asking them to get off.
  • They considered having a choice of stop list or map (prototype #2) to select your destination to be the most successful. 
  • Overall a combination of visuals and text would be the most successful to communicate: select where you want to go.