User involvement is very, very important in any design process (if you ask us) since in the end, it will be the users who has to live with the design you’ve come up with. Involving users and/or customers can be difficult though and you might not speak the same language as them when talking about design. Successfully facilitating the communication between you, as the creator, and the user is important.
User / customer input
WytePads are great for very early phases of product development, including the concept / design development in collaboration with the costumer / user. Actually WytePads were created from this very need. The issue we often experienced was that customers found it hard to communicate their ideas to us while keeping them specific and related to the smart devices they aimed to develop for. WytePads solve this issue, by assisting customers and users in communicating their ideas through sketches on the WytePads. The physical qualities of the WytePads ensures that the smart device screen size is kept in mind, and it allows both you and your customers / users to hold the design in your hand from the get-go which makes it that much easier to imagine what the final product might feel like. Having the qualities of whiteboard people drawing on WytePads naturally perceive the sketching as temporary and easily adjustable, making it less frightening to sketch in front of others.
So you’ve sketched, sketched and sketched some more and now you’ve ended up with the design that you think will hit the spot and give the users just what they need. Time to put it to the test!
With some WytePad sketches in your hand a couple of different aspects can be tested.
With just sketches you can sit down with a number of users and walk them through the design in an interview like fashion. Start by asking the user to tell about their need or the scenario where they might use such an app / website. Then show the user the sketches and walk them through the content in the sketches and the possible actions, continuously asking the user to talk about what they need and if the content and actions in the interface are relevant to them. Often this will reveal if changes to data / interface content is necessary at this stage.
As a preparation for this test first step is to make an interactive prototype. With an interactive prototype in hand you can invite users to actually try out your design very early in the design process. An easy to perform usability test method for this phase, that we would recommend, is think aloud testing. Basically you ask the users to think out loud, i.e. say what they’re thinking, as they navigate through the prototype. You can either give users tasks to perform in your prototype or ask them to navigate as they would like, had they downloaded it for the first time. Often it is necessary to prompt the user continuously during the testing to keep them saying their thoughts. Read more about this usability method and it’s benefits and downsides here. This testing can reveal interface and interaction issues and provide basis for e.g. further interview questions to the user after the test.