Validating test questions

In this article I will champion the benefits of validating product design ideas with low-fidelity wireframes and provide a framework that can be used to implement the practice within your design organisation, if you aren’t doing so already.

Short of scribbles on napkins or sketches, wireframes often represent the first tangible stage of the UX design process and low-fidelity wireframes in particular are perfect for validating early stage ideas and concepts.

The number of users you test with should also be considered.

A common assumption is that a larger testing group will yield a greater number of insights (more people=more insight), which isn’t necessarily true.

They represent a quick and easy way to get feedback on your initial ideas and don’t allow you or your users to get distracted by details afforded by prototypes or ‘design’ work ...

Essentially they allow you to answer two very important questions early on in the design process -Without either of those questions being answered you are at best designing something that works well that nobody wants to use, and at worst, well let’s not go there.

The rough visual aesthetic of the components helps to keep things informal too, and ensures you and the people you are sharing them with focus on the bigger picture, rather than design details.

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Tasks that users will be able to complete are obviously platform specific, but here are some examples of the format tasks may follow - for general feedback from users is not a good approach to user testing, opening up the floor for people’s thoughts and opinions can prove useful.I generally follow a very simple five step process when validating ideas with wireframes.This allows me to move quickly, building out a rough product structure and experience with wireframes, get them tested with real users and then refine them based on feedback.You can create wireframes in all major design software, but for low fidelity wireframes in particular i’d recommend Balsamiq.Their drag and drop library of low fidelity components makes it quick and easy to build layouts for testing and refinement.

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