Dec. 2, 2016 | Lesson 5 (Mapping Design Process)

After finishing with the content strategy phase from the previous lesson, the next step is pre testing and it’s the first of several testing phases.

User testing is an essential part of the web design process. Me my client, and anyone else working on the web design project are not valid representatives of the end user. Even anyone associated with the client could be tainted by some bias and are therefore unfit to represent the end user during this testing phase.

The reason for this because we all have an understanding of the web design and/or its content that the user may not have. We cannot expect their understanding to be the same as ours.
For example, the triple bar, or hamburger, has become the default icon for a hidden menu, but most web users do not understand the purpose of this icon unless it’s explained.

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The end user is all that matters, so everything we do must be understood by them without us having to interact with them to make that understanding happen. For this reason, extensive user testing is important.

There are two different tests that the videos from this lesson point out: card sorting and paper versions of the wireframes.

The purpose of the card sorting is to get the end user to organize the website content into hierarchies and information architecture they feel is intuitive. This is done by using flash cards and each card represents one page on the site. Place them in random order and instruct the end user to sort them how they think is logical.

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In the wireframe presentation, we will give the user paper versions of the wireframes and have them access the content and pretend to navigate through the different sections. If they navigate to a new page, swap pages. This is to see how the user will interact with this website.

It’s important not answer questions and allow them to find their own way. If there is something in particular you want to test give the basic instructions like “make a search,” “subscribe to a newsletter,” or “ask the site owner a question” without telling them how to do this.

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After all the data from these testings is gathered, they should be analyzed to adjust the content of the site.

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