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How to Write Effective Prototype Testing Questions
User Testing

Published on December 14, 2023

How to Write Effective Prototype Testing Questions

Prototype testing is an integral part of the research process, wielding transformative potential for all the stakeholders involved in the product development. But how can we unlock the potential of prototypes?

The answer lies in crafting successful prototype testing questions. In this guide, we have collated everything you need to know about prototype testing questions including specific questions to ask depending on the type of prototype used and the phase of the research.

The Importance of Asking Good Prototype Testing Questions

Prototype testing offers a tangible preview of how users interact with the product before it heads to full development. This provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders to conceptualize their ideas and collect valuable feedback before they proceed with the execution. 

The quintessential importance of prototype testing arches beyond pinpointing areas for improvement as it plays a huge role in fostering user-centric design solutions. However, the output that we get from prototype testing will be only as good as the input and the quality of this input depends on the quality of the prototype testing questions

Ultimately, unbiased and thoughtful prototype testing questions can act as the ultimate tool to get users’ insights and refine the product or service accordingly. 

Questions and Prototype Types 

prototype testing questions

Different Types of Prototypes

Depending on the budget, the goals of the testing, and the nature of the product, there is an abundance of different prototypes that you can opt for. Generally, high-fidelity prototypes offer a more realistic representation of the product while low-fidelity prototypes and wireframe prototypes allow you to test basic functionalities of your product or service.

Here are the most common type of prototypes and their main use cases:

Type of Prototype

Description

When to use

High-Fidelity Prototypes

Highly detailed prototypes that represent detailed design elements and interactions.

Used for testing in the later stages of product development.

Low-Fidelity Prototypes

Basic representations that cover the basic functionality of the product but do not include design nuances. 

Used relatively early in product development and help to verify a concept.

Paper Prototypes

Sketches on plain paper, either hand-drawn or printed.

Used to facilitate manual interaction in the very early testing stage.

Wireframe Prototypes

Visual representations of the product or service in the form of wireframes.

Used to outline the basic structure and general layout of the screens or pages for early concept feedback.

Tailoring Prototype Testing Questions Based on the Prototype Type

As we’ve seen above, different prototypes are used in different cases. Equally, prototype testing questions should be adapted based on the prototype and the specific goals that are associated with it.

Here is a handy guide on the type of questions to ask depending on the prototype:

Type of Prototype

Type of Questions

High-Fidelity Prototypes

Questions around usability that assess the interaction and overall user experience but also the aesthetics of the visual elements.

Low-Fidelity Prototypes

Questions around the functionality and the user flow as well as questions aiming at uncovering early-stage usability issues on basic features.

Paper Prototypes

Questions about the basic user journey and usability.

Wireframe Prototypes

Questions around the structure and layouts of the product, as well as questions that aim at gauging initiate reactions about the overall concept of the product.

Questions to ask when testing a prototype 

prototype testing questions

If you do not know where to start when it comes to crafting your prototype testing questions, look no further. Here are our top 7 prototype testing questions to help you squeeze the best out of your prototype test:

1. How would you describe your overall experience using the prototype?

👉 What do we love about this question: This open-ended question offers a unique opportunity for users to share their overall thoughts about the product or service. The open nature of the question moves away from ‘the confirmation bias’ nature of many questions and gives space for raw insights. Additionally, this question is worded in a way where no negative or positive connotations are used having as a result more unbiased responses. 

2. What features or aspects of the prototype did you find particularly helpful?

👉 What do we love about this question: This is an excellent question to focus the conversation on the positive aspects of the user experience and uncover areas that meet or exceed the user’s expectations from the prototype. Again, the way the question is worded does not frame the response of the user, leaving ample space for genuine user feedback and juicy insights. 

3. Were there any parts of the prototype that you found unclear or challenging?

👉 What do we love about this question: This is another great question to bring the focus of the conversation around potential usability issues and pinpoint areas for improvement. The wording of this question refrains from assuming that issues do exist, giving space to the users to address the areas that they found to be sticky or difficult to comprehend. 

4. In what ways do you think the prototype aligns with your expectations or preferences?

👉 What do we love about this question: This question empowers the user to think of ways that the prototype aligns with their expectations. This is a great way to not only understand the needs and expectations of your intended users but also to understand the extent to which your solution aligns with those. If the design solution is against the expectations of the users, this question can also lead to some unbiased insights on the why behind this misalignment. 

5. Was there anything that you expected to see on the prototype but did not?

👉 What do we love about this question: This is another brilliant question that invites the users to give constructive feedback on the prototype. This is a great alternative to the commonly used ‘Can you share any suggestions for improvement or enhancement based on your experience with the prototype? question which usually puts the user under pressure to find something clever to say, leading most of the time to the opposite results. 

6. How did the prototype compare to your previous experiences with similar products?

👉 What do we love about this question: This is a slick way to see whether your solution goes against the user’s mental models or not. By asking for a comparison with similar products or services, you have a unique opportunity to understand where your solution stands and pinpoint elements that your solution potentially lacks or areas that it does better than similar products on the market. 

7. Can you elaborate on any specific features that stood out to you during your use of the prototype?

👉 What do we love about this question: A very well-structured question that prompts the user to share objective insights about features that stood out for them. The question is not colored positively or negatively welcoming various detailed insights into what makes the user tick! This question can also help you unveil your competitive advantage! 

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Tailoring Prototype Testing Questions for Different Testing Stages

Although the above section is a great source to get inspiration from, don’t forget to be intentional about crafting your prototype testing questions and make sure that those are always tailored to the different testing stages:

Screening Questions

Screening questions play a crucial role in making sure that the participants align with the unique goals of the research study. These questions can also help the user researcher identify those individuals who have relevant experiences with the product or service that they are testing. They help to filter out respondents who are not representative of the target audience of your research and, therefore, make sure that you get relevant insights.

Example questions at this stage can be:

  • Have you had any experience with a similar product or service in the last 3 months?
  • Where do you live?/How old are you?/What is your occupation?

The nature of your screening question will depend on the type of your study and the product you’re testing.

Learn how to craft effective screening questions:

During-the-Research Questions

Questions that are used during the main part of the prototype testing are geared toward exploring the users’ behaviors and perceptions in relation to the product that is being tested. These questions can aid the user researcher in better understanding whether the design solution in question is in line with the users’ mental models and expectations. 

Example questions at this stage are:

  • Can you show me how you would complete the x step on this prototype?
  • Can you show me what you would do next?

Post-Study Questions

Post-study questions are mainly used for gathering feedback about the overall prototype experience. These questions help the user researcher get an understanding of the overall user experience as well as uncover areas or features that meet the expectations of the users.

Example questions at this stage can be:

  • Overall, how did you find your experience with the product?
  • Was there anything that you particularly liked or disliked about the product?

Follow-Up Questions

Finally, follow-up questions aim to delve deeper into the users’ responses. These questions give the participant the space to elaborate more on some of their feedback while helping the user researcher get a more granular understanding of it. These are also an excellent way to get any last-minute feedback that your questions might have failed to cover.

Some of the questions at this stage can be:

  • You mentioned that [ insert user’s feedback], can you please elaborate more on this?
  • Is there anything else that I might not have asked you about but you would like to add? 

Tips for Crafting Effective Prototype Testing Questions

Here are our top tips for crafting effective prototype testing questions:

  • Clarity is Key: Ensure that the questions are clear, concise, and easy to understand. Steer away from ambiguous questions that might confuse the participants as these will have an impact on the quality of the feedback. 
  • Align Questions with Research Goals: Make sure that the prototype testing questions are aligned with the goals of the research study. Avoid adding questions just for the sake of asking, to ensure that the insights gained from the testing are relevant and actionable.
  • Mitigate Bias in Questioning: Steer away from leading questions as those can result in biased answers that can dilute the quality of your data. To achieve this always use neutral language and make sure you include a good mix of open-ended and closed questions.
  • Select an Appropriate Testing Platform: Finally, select the appropriate testing platform. Take into consideration factors like the interactivity and the option to collect both qualitative and quantitative data as these features will allow for a more comprehensive analysis. A good online Prototype Testing Tool will allow you to ask all kinds of questions during, before, and after the study, aiding you in collecting both qualitative and quantitative insights from your test.

 

💡Pro Tip

Discover our list of 6 Best Prototype Testing Tools!

Benefits of Asking the Right Testing Questions

prototype testing questions

Here is why asking for the right prototype testing questions is quintessential:

Accurate Data and Actionable Insights

By asking well-crafted questions you can ensure that you gather quantifiable data that address the research objectives. This can lead to insights that can be actioned and allow for data-informed decisions. 

Effective Issue Identification and Prioritization

Well-crafted questions can lead to the identification of areas of improvement within the prototype. On top of that, asking the right questions can give you a feel for how you should prioritize the issues identified based on the feedback of the participants. 

Increased Stakeholder Confidence

Another great benefit of asking the right questions is increased stakeholder confidence. Using precise and clear questions can instill confidence in various stakeholders, like for instance leadership teams or even investors, and can aid in the decision-making process. 

Optimized User Testing Sessions

Finally, clear questions can lead to highly optimized user testing sessions with an increased likelihood of getting meaningful data from the participants. This can also ensure that the testing process can meet the set timeliness of the research study. 

Wrapping Up

Prototype testing is a pivotal phase of every research study. Asking the right questions will get you the extra mile ensuring the collection of relevant, meaningful data that can be actioned to create user-centric design solutions.

Don’t forget to tailor your prototype testing questions based on the type of prototype as well as the testing stage you are in to ensure optimal results.

If you are looking to kick-start your prototype testing journey but do not know where to begin, UXtweak might be just the tool for you!

👉Register for your UXtweak account and use our Prototype Testing Tool to evaluate your designs with users.

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FAQ: Prototype Testing Questions

How do you test a prototype?

To test a prototype you can use participants to evaluate different aspects of the design such as the aesthetics, the usability, or even its functionality. The end goal is to gather user feedback and refine the prototype in an iterative process. 

Why do you test a prototype?

Testing a prototype provides a unique opportunity to pinpoint areas for improvement or address issues early in the development process. It can be also used as a concept validation tool before businesses engage in full product development.

Elena Mitsiou
December 14, 2023
All author's articles

Elena is a T-shaped UX Researcher with a varied cross-industry marketing background. She holds a BA in English as SLA, a Master of Science in Management and a professional UX Design Diploma. She leverages her marketing background to bridge the gap between users and products, ensuring digital products meet user needs while hitting business goals.

Her career highlights include helping Talanta, an educational start-up to scale into a global remote-first edtech SaaS business and becoming a guest lecturer at the University of Brighton International College.

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