Weeknotes – series 07 episode 14

Planning for some user research

We've decided to do some usability testing on our most recent prototype. We had to narrow the scope to one user group (out of three) and we may only be able fit one round in. But a little bit is better than nothing, and this way, we'll be able to test our riskiest pages.

We worked together to put together a user research plan that included…

  • the activity (remote usability testing)
  • ideal number of participants (in this case, 3 to 5)
  • a scenario for the participants to follow
  • key objectives (things we wanted to test and learn more about)
  • design deliverables (a list of things we needed to make to prep for the research)
  • dates and a schedule for the work
  • a few bullet points we could use to convince users to take part

Making the prototype

My main focus has been making the prototype, however there have been a few distractions, so I've had to fit it and around other things.

Previous work exploring the requirements and reviewing initial design sketches with the wider team is still helping me to move relatively quickly though.

The prototype has one page that is quite tricky, with lots of moving parts. We're asking the user 3 new questions on this page. The questions are linked to each other, and will required using reference data and some JavaScript to make it all work together. The user can also add another thing to a list.

I hope the user will feel it's simple, but there's lots going on behind the scenes.

Prototype scenario setup screen

I've also decided to create a prototype setup screen. This is so we can modify the prototype before the user starts using it. It will fill the pages with relevant information. So hopefully it will feel more real to the user.

In reality this is just a basic form that lets us set the following things as variables to be reused later…

  • user's team
  • user's location (for example region, town and building)

Need to get better at routing the prototype

I'd like to get better at creating routes with the GOV.UK prototype kit. The method I use is quite basic, but I think it's perhaps limiting the scale if the prototypes that I'm making.

User research as a mini product release

It struck me this week, that prepping a prototype for user research, helps me to think more critically about the design. It's a bit like a mini-release. More things about the product have to be ready (or at least better understood) for the prototype to be ready, and for the user research to go well.

Even before we learn if the design is usable, we are taking a few little steps towards a production-ready release.