Sometimes, prototypes are experiments that help validate hypothesis directly with the user. During our project Dovase, before developing the App, we established some hypothesis to build little by little but soundly our App.
We only used two hypotheses for Dovase that helped us defining the idea according our technological possibilities.
We determined a key fact by using the hypothesis matrix (the one from the example and those we developed aftwards): people appreciated the most being able to design their own pottery but they were annoyed and upset by doing it in less than two seconds, like our drawing tool proposed. Users asked for a functionality that allowed them to save their designs to retouch them whenever they wanted.
The hypothesis matrix helped us see the evolution in later prototypes of our proposal and to determine whether we were doing it right or wrong.
When we were about to finish the launch of the platform www.bydsea.com, a series of User’s Test were proposed to validate if the potential users/customers figured out the main functions of the website.
Because of this, we defined a variety of tasks to test with eight or ten users every possible bug of the platform in order to improve it. Tests were focused on the performance of the most common tasks on bydsea and also the most specifics. Some actions were handed over to the “testers” such as*:
– Adding contacts
– Registering routes
– Adding spots
– Setting up alarms
– Organizing trips
Tests allowed us to know the usability failures that were not detected by the team. Those were tiny errors that even as subtle as they could be, they could condition the good experience we had built.
The User’s Test tool allowed us to fine tune the platform before its launch, cleaning it up from the errors we detected.
*Many more tasks were performed; we are only listing a few ones.
When we were testing the idea/platform www.handmademap.com, we wanted to show it to potential users to see how they felt about it before continuing to develop more web functionalities.
We elaborated qualitative interviews with some basic questions, yet open enough to help users providing more complete answers. The objective behind these interviews was to know if the user could use the platform. In case the answer was no, we would ask the user to explain the reasons so we could correct any possible failure.
Even if these qualitative interviews can be very open, we were able to draw all the attention to the concept thanks to the prototype. This “open” focus plus the template helped us gather valuable information during the development stage of the prototype.
Example: Rayphone. Project: Mobile activation for vision impaired people
Rayphone is a company that provides smartphone solutions for vision impaired people. Our challenge was: For security reasons, how can I turn on my phone without using the voice control option?
After working on several prototypes/ideas with different insights, we tested them with the end user to see if it was feasible on their daily life and what problems could be detected. The most important was to let them do the talking because we wanted to see their expressions and first impressions. For this reason, we gathered all the ideas and improvements with a feedback matrix.
Thanks to this focus on early ideas, we were able to understand very quickly if we were on the right way, by optimizing time and resources.
For our project Bikini Tour, we developed a visual prototype. We showed it to potential users to know their thoughts about our idea.
With the tool Feedback Matrix, we gathered insights and verbatim (literal sentences from the user) to see the real impact of the idea and to collect the feelings expressed by users.
After collecting several sensations and analyzing the feedback matrix, we determined that most of the interviewed people were excited about the idea and they even suggested different applications we haven’t thought about (new touristic experiences, organized trips, random tourism).
It was important to use the documented feedbacks and then thinking about them for the following phases of the idea development.