Schedule Time & Gather Materials
- Time to Prepare Low-Fidelity Prototypes: 1 – 2 Hours
- Time for Testing: 1 – 2 Hours
- Testable Product or Prototype (paper, or laptop with clickable prototype loaded)
- Compensation for participants (for example, low-value gift cards, $5 bills, etc.)
- Recording device and/or notebook and pen
Carry Out This Method
- Choose what needs to be tested. This might be the intuitiveness of a single interaction or affordance, the general layout of a page, the clarity of brief instructional text, or a very short workflow or process. This is not the best method for testing long blocks of text or complex tasks.
- Choose a public place – like a public square, coffee shop, or conference – where many types of people gather. Offer people a small compensation, like a gift card to pay for their coffee or a $5 bill, to look at your interface prototype and share their thoughts.
- Ask participants, “What is the first thing you would click on to find [an element]?” or “If you needed to [perform some action], where would you click first?”
- Record time it took for the user to respond, and whether or not they gave a correct answer on the first attempt.
- Record participants’ general impressions, expectations for the results before the interaction, and confidence that they performed the task properly.
- Test as many people as possible. Depending on the test duration and current foot traffic at your location, you can test between 10 and 100 people.
- Collect the results and share them with stakeholders and the product team.
Try These Tips
This testing method can be customized as needed to accommodate the researcher’s budget and schedule. Change locations, compensation, or prototype as necessary, but be aware that times of day alone can introduce new user types. The more variables you introduce, the less reliable the data.