To help designers understand how their idea will work in the complex world of the actual user
Varies on project and tests used
Small groups 2-6
What is Real World Testing?
Real world testing is testing a prototype in the actual setting in which it will be used with the actual users that will be using it. Students are challenged to find real users who are able to test their prototype in real time. This is a more advanced testing tool because it can often take more time and it requires that the students have a pretty well developed prototype. Real World Testing can require multiple tests with different potential users and different settings.
Why use Real World Testing?
As students become more advanced with the design process they will begin to create things that will actually be used in the world long term. Real World Testing offers an authentic assessment of how their idea will work in the long run. Real World Testing is also a great way for students to connect with their communities through design challenges.
How do we teacher Real World Testing?
Real World Testing is best done as a part of a larger design challenge. As teachers the challenge is to mentor students through the process of designing an authentic test. Each project and idea will require a different kind of test. Some questions that may help providing guidance to the students are:
- What are some examples of your target audience in our community?
- What are examples of extreme users for your idea in our community?
- Which variable(s) are the most important to test with your target audience?
- What kind of setting will provide the most authentic assessment of your idea?
- How are you going to capture feedback (video, recordings, notes, pictures etc)
- What are the key questions that you have for the users about your idea?
Once students have determined who and where they will need to be testing they may need some support reaching out to community members.
Sample Lesson (multiple class periods and outside time)Materials:
A prototype, camera/recorder/notebook for recording findingsPre-work:
Students should have a well-developed prototype, students should also be exposed to a wide variety of design strategies to effectively design their real-world testing scenarios
This lesson works best if it is treated more as a mentorship relationship between teacher and students. Teachers can use the questions below to guide students through the following steps:Site Selection:
Who needs to be there?
What does the space need to be like?
Time of day/ specific weather needed for effective testing?
Length of time for testing?Feedback/recording findings:
How will you solicit feedback?
How will you record feedback?
How will you record results?Test:
How will you run the test?
What materials will you need?
Who needs to be there? (from your team/experts etc...)
Other logistics to think about?Share Findings:
How well did your test work?
Would you change anything about the test if you had a chance to do it again?
What feedback did you get?
How will you move forward with your idea?
What advice do you have for others?
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