The test mode is another iterative mode in which we place our low-resolution artifacts in the appropriate context of the user’s life. In regards to a team’s solution, we should always prototype as if we know we’re right, but test as if we know we’re wrong—testing is the chance to refine our solutions and make them better.
To refine our prototypes and solutions. Testing informs the next iterations of prototypes. Sometimes this means going back to the drawing board.
To learn more about our user. Testing is another opportunity to build empathy through observation and engagement—it often yields unexpected insights.
To refine our POV. Sometimes testing reveals that not only did we not get the solution right, but also that we have failed to frame the problem correctly.
Show don’t tell. Put your prototype in the user’s hands. And don’t talk (yet). Watch how they use (and misuse!) what you have given them; how they handle and interact with it; listen to what they say about it, questions they have.
Ask users to compare. Bringing multiple prototypes to the field to test gives users a basis for comparison, and comparisons often reveal latent needs.
ID a variable. Identify what’s being tested with each prototype. A prototype should answer a particular question when tested.