How to test Figma prototypes
Usability Testing

Published on October 1, 2021

How to test Figma prototypes

Have you ever wondered if there is a way to create a digital product that provides a good user experience from its early stages of creation? Well, we are here to tell you that there certainly is one! Testing your Figma prototypes in the early stages of the design process can uncover all the downsides of your designs long before the development process.

In this article, we are going to show you how! This piece will cover everything you need to know about Figma prototype testing. Usability testing with prototypes may sound complicated, but when done right allows you to prevent some serious website issues from happening. After all, it’s better to fail at the prototyping stage than having to fix some post-development mistakes later on, right?  

What is Figma?

Figma is one of the most popular graphics editing apps. The reason designers love it so much is that apart from outstanding graphics, it allows you to create high-fidelity prototypes and wireframes, build user flows, and literally see your designs in action.

How to test Figma prototypes

Why is testing Figma prototypes so important?

What if we told you that you could avoid half of your future UX mistakes and start building a user-friendly product even before the beginning of the development process. Well, that’s exactly what prototype testing allows you to do. Instead of fixing flaws in an existing product, you can just prevent them from happening. 

Testing your Figma prototypes is the ultimate way of uncovering the possible downsides of your designs. You get to collect both qualitative and quantitative feedback from your users early on, see what works and what doesn’t, and prevent yourself from making poor design choices.

As a designer, you can sometimes get a little too excited about the launch of your website or app. You’ve spent countless nights trying to make it visually pleasing and it really does look amazing. 

But what looks good doesn’t always work well. 

The truth is, you never know how the users perceive your designs until you run a usability test with them. That’s why testing Figma prototypes is so important. The feedback you’ve collected will give you a clear picture of users’ thoughts and expectations, the one you need to create an intuitive product with good UX. 

What are the benefits of testing your prototypes?

Saves you tons of money

Imagine investing tons of money in the development just to later realize your product has rather poor UX. And imagine spending another fortune on fixing these issues later on. Solving usability problems on an already running website generally will cost you a couple of times more than doing the same but with the Figma prototype. Not to mention all the time and clients you are going to lose as a result of your bad UX choices.

Gives you all types of feedback

Depending on what testing method you choose you can get all types of insights: from navigation to heatmaps. You test user flows, discover drawbacks, and evaluate your designs in a way that allows you to gather both qualitative and quantitative feedback. And the best thing is, when recruiting the right participants you can be sure that your studies are unbiased and objective. 

Proves or breaks your doubts

Testing Figma prototypes will answer all the confusing questions beforehand, assuring you have a confident launch of your new website or app. Is your navigation intuitive enough? Do users understand the labels and categories as they are intended? Is there something that might keep the user from achieving their goal? What are their thoughts on the process? 

It all becomes crystal clear when you watch people directly interact with your product.

Discovers new ideas

This amount of user feedback will not only help you improve your current design, but also uncover countless opportunities for future development. Getting in close contact with users can sometimes bring insights we didn’t know we needed and even inspire your future upgrades.

The key to solving a usability problem might become a new website element or feature which you would never even think of before, all thanks to conducting a simple test of your Figma prototype. 

When and with whom should you test your Figma prototypes? 

The reason we love prototype testing so much is that you can do it at any stage of creating your designs and it will still be insightful. The best way to do it is to undertake several rounds of testing during the whole process. This will allow you to detect any upcoming mistakes and fix them as you go. 

The final round of usability testing, of course, should be conducted with a finished interactive prototype so that you can easily follow the user flow and see how they perform certain tasks. It’s also a perfect time to run some session recordings and heatmap analysis as it will basically represent the finished web. 

We also recommend you conduct some preference tests as you move through the design process. It always comes in handy when you struggle to make some important design decisions or rushing between multiple options. Allow users to reduce your doubts by simply telling you which variant they like most.

As for the participants, you normally don’t need more than 5 testers for gathering real insights. This number, however, may significantly vary depending on the goals of your study and the methods you choose. Quantitative studies usually require a bigger number of testers as it’s necessary for accurate statistics.

Keep in mind that those people should represent your target audience so take your time and define that user profile. It would be also useful to do some segmentation, this will help you get the most of your study. Recruiting people for your Figma prototypes testing should not be a problem. A great way to do that is using the Recruiter Widget that allows you to get your real website users to participate in a study for a little reward.

How to prepare for the test?

Start with the IA tests

Testing your Information Architecture before the final rounds of usability testing is a must. With the help of a simple card sort, you’ll be able to structure your website’s information in a user-friendly way, label it all correctly and prevent most of the future navigation problems from happening. Run some tree tests to assure users won’t get lost in your menu. All those things will help you reduce needless confusion during the tests and allow users to focus their attention on other usability issues. 

Run a pilot study

Testing Figma prototypes can sometimes get tricky as it’s not a real product and not all the buttons and elements might work as they should. Test your study first to ensure all the elements are clickable and users will be able to complete your tasks. Do it with somebody who did not take part in the prototyping process and sees your design for the first time, they may help you uncover some things you didn’t notice. 

How to get the most of your Figma prototypes: testing tips and tricks

Use real content 

The truth is, content directly influences the user’s decision-making process. That’s why using realistic labels and photos is so important. You don’t have to fine-tune every piece, after all, it’s just a prototype and not a real website. But try to stay away from the “lorem ipsum” labels and texts as well as some unrelated pictures.

Define what you are testing

Setting a clear goal will help you later with analyzing insights. Be specific. 

Instead of: “I want to test my Figma prototype” try “I want to know if people are able to log in to the app through my prototype”  

Write good questions 

Writing good questions is a key to getting high-quality feedback in the usability testing of prototypes. Your questions should be unbiased and not pressure the tester to answer a certain way. Here is a great article from NN Group covering some common biases. It will help you learn how to choose your words wisely.

Test your prototype in different environments

Your product is probably intended to use on multiple devices. Test your responsive layouts as well and make sure everything works perfectly whether it is a desktop, mobile, or tablet.

Don’t change the tasks

When testers get lost in our designs or struggle to find a solution to a given task we, as UX researchers, might feel pressured to alter the tasks, making them easier to complete. That’s the wrong approach which kills the whole point of usability testing.

If a user finds themselves lost or stuck on the wrong page, instead of changing the task just prepare some follow-up questions. Find out what was the confusion point, why they decided to click there, and what they were expecting to find. 

The faster you fail, the sooner you succeed

Testing Figma prototypes is an ultimate way to take a quick glance at the future and be able to prevent the usability issues that may occur on a real website. It assures you launch an already user-friendly product that meets your customer’s needs and expectations. Start running usability tests with your Figma prototypes as a part of the design and development process and improve the performance of your digital products!

UXtweak Team
October 1, 2021
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