Last week at the MIX conference in Las Vegas I spoke on putting your prototype where your mouth is by running user research and tests. By continuously prototyping and testing on users throughout the project cycle you gain one big plus; undying focus on user intent. The hour session video lives here.
I showed 2 different testing scenarios; one easy, thumb nail prototype for A/B testing ideas or tone (the example I use is a marketing vs. services site focus), the other is a multivariate test where blocks or quadrants of the site are chunked out to research user tasks and content placement. The A/B test has 3 rotating questions, prefect for remote testing. The multivariate, surfaces the results like the A/B but would be best to observe in person. But don’t let that stop you from using it remotely, write specific tasks for the user to step through and record screen while they work. A multivariate test is perfect for testing pages where there’s a lot of user needs being addressed and/or the site or product has a rich amount of functionality or content.
Testing_Research is the sample Expression Blend 4 with Sketchflow file used in the testing demo. And if you’re a whiz with the xaml-ly goodness, check out Screen_1.xaml.cs under the A/B test page and the MultiVariant_test.xaml.cs under the Multivariate test page to see how the testing logic works. //Color commentary and the technical heavy lifting, much thanks goes to Lee Brenner for the help!