Why are we asking questions about our wireframes, designs or products? As designers, shouldn’t we know what looks good? Well, as designers we DO KNOW what looks good. You could have the best looking designed app in the world, but if it’s hard to use, no one will use it. How are we going to know if a design is effective? We’ve got to ask the questions. Trust me on this one. For example, I learned early on in the design process of Sierra Instruments’ website that you had to have the customer log in information on the right hand side of the page on the same level as the navigation. No one could find it where I had it placed originally.
When crafting your questions, keep them as open as possible. Don’t try to guide the people you are testing into certain funnels of experiences or answering the questions a certain way. Let them be free. You’ll learn a lot of insights. Sometimes people will bring up things you were not asking about originally and you’ll learn huge insights from those findings.
For example, if you’re testing if people can find the log in on your website wireframe or early designs, you can have a print out of the web page and ask the person you are testing to “please point with this pencil where you would go to log in on this website.” If the person can’t find it, then ask them where it should be located.
Another way to conduct a test is to make a simple HTML site in DreamWeaver (or some other software) with your designs as images by creating an image map.
What’s an image map, you say? This sounds complicated, but it’s super easy! It’s similar to placing a background image in Photoshop with another layer over the background and changing something on the layer above it. Image maps allow certain items on the image in a web page clickable by adding “hot spots” over them. The hot spot is an invisible box that is a clickable link. When I was building out UX tests at Sierra, I did this so that way our software engineer didn’t have to fully code out the unfinished designs for me to conduct the testing.
Image maps are super easy to make. Here’s information on Adobe’s website on how to make image maps: https://helpx.adobe.com/dreamweaver/using/image-maps.html
Remember, as tempting as it is to help the person taking your test, DO NOT HELP THEM. If they’re getting frustrated, just tell them it’s ok and we can stop, if necessary.
Some types of questions to ask:
- Please show me how to find the phone number for Customer Service
- Show me how to make a new account?
- Where would I go to find out the price on a camera (if you are a retail site)
- Where is the newest blog post?
Your questions need to focus on key experiences for your website, especially in the early stages of your designs / wireframes. As your website’s blue print becomes more refined, your UX tests will be more refined as well, to test the details of the site, such as placements / colors of icons, buttons, wording for calls to actions, etc.
Here are some additional resources:
- Ok, so I understand that UX is important. What’s next?
- 20% growth maintained for over a year after this website makeover. Learn why the details matter.
- Reframe Your Way of Thinking of Design
- Building Sustainability with Validated Learning
- Lean Startup: The Alternative to Design Thinking