What Is Prototype Testing?

At a Glance

Prototype testing consists of sharing prototypes or wireframes with contributors to view on their desktop or mobile device to assess the viability of a design during the development cycle. Read more on how to get started.

Overview

Prototype Testing with UserTesting

Getting Started

Clickable Prototypes and Best Practices

Learn More

Overview

Prototype testing is a great way to test a design or concept that is not finished. A fleshed-out, completely linked prototype is not necessary for testing. We suggest starting the testing as soon as you have a rough mock-up of an idea. Then continue to test as you revise your prototype. We find that getting user feedback early and often helps to ensure a successful site or app launch.

Prototype Testing with UserTesting

Your prototype can range from a static image to a less than fully functional prototype of an app or site, and can easily be shared with contributors through a prototype test or by linking to the content via a URL link. Once the prototype is ready, you’ll then determine which research methodology will be best for your test.

Your prototype can range from a static image to a fully functional test app/site, and it will need to be shared with study contributors. Once your prototype is ready, determine which research methodology will be best for your study.

Getting Started

You can share static images through the UserTesting Platform. To share higher-fidelity prototypes, consider programs like InVision or other tools. If you build a prototype in-house, UserTesting can help you share it with study contributors. (Please keep in mind that your firewall may restrict contributors from viewing the prototype.) 

Once your prototype is ready, place a link to it in the “Starting URL” field of the order form or within the first task of the test. We recommend that you use Dropbox to share static images on mobile devices as this hosting service does not require login credentials to view the file. 

If you are interested in testing static images for your prototype, you can add the image using an Image task found in the test plan building page in the UserTesting Platform. Image tasks are easy to add and the following files are accepted: PNG, JPG, GIF, TIFF, and PDF. Files are limited to a max file size of 5MB.

Clickable Prototypes and Best Practices

If you are using a clickable prototype, it is easy to get feedback from contributors. UserTesting supports a broad range of prototyping tools. Simply extract the URL to be shared from your prototyping tool of choice and include it as the starting URL for your test. Or insert it into a URL task within your test.

Best Practices for Conducting a Clickable Prototype Test

Some tips to consider when using a clickable prototype:

  • Turn off hotspot hinting as you don’t want to bias contributors by showing them where to click. 
  • Share the correct sharing link, because if contributors can’t reach your prototype your test will likely go on hold. 
  • Make sure to tell contributors they are working on a prototype and that not everything might be functional. You don’t want them to spend much time giving feedback about the functionality of the prototype. 
  • Give clear instructions when you want contributors to click on something and when you simply want them to respond where they expect to click. 
  • Test the experience, completing a dry run and pilot so as to affirm you're getting the feedback you need to answer your research objectives.

We recommend that you use Dropbox to share static images on mobile devices as doing so does not require login credentials to view the file. For more information about unreleased app testing check out these articles for iOS and Android.

 

Learn More

Need more information? Read these related articles:

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