Design

What Are The Right Tests To Do During The Design Phase?

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 3/03/227 min read
What Are The Right Tests To Do During The Design Phase?

Table of Contents

  • Test-Driven Design: What Is it and What Are its Benefits?
  • The Right Tests to Do During the Design Phase
  • Key Takeaways
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

You can’t afford to make a design decision without having customer contact and interaction since the user input is essential to the test driven design process. It makes sense to get feedback from the specific people the design is meant for. UX designers run usability tests before passing the draft to a developer. It’s typical for design teams to conduct usability tests a couple of times during the test driven design process, which may continue until the end.

Otherwise known as “summative testing” in design parlance, testing a prototype is the closest a designer can get to the real thing. Late-stage usability testing is crucial for designers, and formative testing, or tests conducted even when the design is not complete, also forms a part of the design and testing process.

Formative testing, especially in the early stages of a test driven design process is crucial as it lets you pinpoint issues before they get embedded in your design. You can prioritize the significant design issues, making it easy for you to iterate on your design quickly with precision. In formative testing, you identify which elements of a design work and which ones don’t. The next step is usability testing, during which participants perform set tasks with a specific part of the design to determine how easy or challenging it was. 

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Test Driven Design: What Is it and What Are its Benefits?

The test driven design is an important process in designing and development. A major benefit of this process is that your design becomes more manageable and also helps you cut down on the number of hours you otherwise would have to spend on testing and maintenance-related activities. Studies indicate that you’re likely to spend twice as much time if you don’t adopt a test driven design approach.

Below we will discuss some of the approaches to test driven design and their benefits.

Low Project Cost with High ROI

A significant benefit of the test driven design is the sharp decrease in the general cost of designing. This is mainly because maintenance and time rectifying issues decrease drastically. Plus, you will have to put in less effort, resulting in a low one-time cost and significant cost savings throughout the lifetime of the design. 

Without a test driven design approach, you are likely to spend much more on the design, and the risk of having to rework or face failure is very high because user flow and other technical issues can plague your design project. Without built-in testing standards, your design team will spend more time fixing such issues.

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Less User-flow Issues for Designers

A test driven design approach ensures fewer errors and user-flow issues. This approach also guarantees complete test coverage, thus enhancing the quality of the design. Your designs are at a greater risk of running into user-flow or page navigation issues, which may be avoided by using a test driven design process.

Product Definition

Did you know that one of the most significant phases in the UX design process has to be done before a designer creates anything?

For instance, before you can build a product you must understand the purpose it’s going to serve. And it is the product definition phase that sets the stage for the final product, whether it is an app or a website you’re designing.

In this phase, designers brainstorm ideas for the product with members of the development team and stakeholders. Value proposition mapping is done using the test driven design approach, where the key aspects and value propositions of the app or website are discussed– What is it for? Who is going to use it? Why will they be using it?

During the design testing stage, such questions allow you to create a mockup of the website or app, otherwise known as concept sketching.

Product Research

Once the product concept has been defined during the test driven design process, the designers move to the research phase.

This phase involves user research as well as market research. Most designers believe that spending time on such test driven design examples is a good investment as important design decisions are made, which helps save time and money in the long run.

Project research phases can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the design, the resources available, the timing, and many other factors. Typically, the phase also includes:

Individual In-depth Interviews (IDI)

Qualitative interviews can be used to determine who the design is intended for (target audience), their wants and needs, motivations, pain points, and behavior. 

Competitive Research

By conducting competitive research, designers can better understand industry standards and identify opportunities within a niche for designs of this type.

Analysis

As the second phase of the design and testing process, the analysis phase seeks to gain insight from the information collected during the research phase. Now is the time to move on from “what” the users want or need, to “why” they need it. As a designer, you can confirm that your assumptions are all correct, in this stage. This phase of the UX design process allows you to:

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Create user/buyer personas

The user/buyer’s persona helps you determine your target audience. Personas are nothing but imaginary characters who fit into the different user types for your website or app. Thus, it’s important to design your website or app based on user/buyer personas since they are your intended audience.

Weaving user stories

Designers can understand the product user interactions from the buyer’s point of view by using the user story as a tooSource

Storyboarding

The tool that helps designers connect buyer personas with user stories is storyboarding. It’s nothing but the story describing how a person engages with a website or app.

Design

When a designer is clear about the users’ needs, wants, and expectations from a website or app, it’s time to move to the design phase. As part of this process, other team members assist the designer as they create the information architecture (IA), before moving on to the actual UI design. This phase is highly collaborative with active participation from all team members. It involves several iterations to validate the ideas. The phase typically includes:

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Sketching

It’s one of the easiest ways that help visualize your ideas. Designers prefer to either use a piece of paper, a whiteboard, or a modern digital tool to accomplish this. Sketching can be very helpful during the brainstorming stage as several design concepts are visualized before settling for one.

Wireframes

These are handy tools that help designers conceive the basic structure of a page that’s going to appear, along with how the key elements fit into each other. Wireframes are the backbones of the website, and designers can use them to create mockups to create prototypes to demonstrate to users.

Prototypes

Wireframes are to do with the look (visual effects), whereas prototypes are to do with the look and feel of a website and provide the desired interactive experience. It’s more like a virtual representation of the site and may include clickable wireframes or coded prototypes.

Design Specs

Design specifications are crucial for turning prototypes into workable designs as they contain all the visual design assets.

Creating Design Systems

Designers need to build a system of components, styles, and patterns to ensure that they and the developers are on the same page. It especially applies to large projects.

Testing or Validation

Validation is a very significant step in the entire design and testing process, as it gives crucial information about how the design works for the users. A designer must go to the validation phase only after the high-fidelity design is ready, and testing such prototypes gives real-time feedback from end-users. Typically, such testing sessions help designers to validate the website or app with the stakeholders and the users.

The validation process includes:

In-house trials

A designer decides to test the product in-house after iterating the website. Other team members help by testing the website in-house (before letting it go live) to detect usability flaws if any.

Testing

The designer next tests the website with a cross-section of the people picked from the target audience. A designer may use moderated or un-moderated usability testing, A/B testing, niche groups, beta testing, etc.

Surveys

Surveys can help designers capture qualitative and quantitative information from end-users in real-time. Designers usually add open-ended questions like “Which part of the product don’t you like?” to get honest opinions to help correct/improve the performance.

Analytics

Analytics tools provide crucial information like the number of clicks, navigation time on a specific page, search queries, etc. These insights are helpful to determine how users interact with your website and decide what changes need to be made.

The Right Tests to Do During the Design Phase

Testing during the design phase is very important and no designer can afford to underestimate it. Here are some tests a designer must do before letting the website go live:

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Functionality Test

Once you’ve finished designing your website, you must check if it is functionally correct. Functionality testing lets you check the database connection, the various links to the web pages, forms used for capturing user details, cookies, etc.

Functionality testing needs to be done in the early stages of the test driven design process to speed it up and prevent last-minute glitches. The testing can be done using software or manually by using a human tester. Comparing the test results with the expected output gives you a fair idea of how the website will function.

Usability Test

The next step in the process is usability testing. It is a combination of functionality and a very critical user experience. It’s not to be confused with the user acceptance test.

Usability testing is done with the help of external testers. It entails checking the navigation and content, recruiting participants, and conducting the tests with in-house experts. Analyzing the test results can help improve your website performance.

Interface Test

It’s a web page test that helps check if all the interactions between the servers are running smoothly. All aspects of communication need to be tested, along with any error messages that may appear.

Compatibility Test

With more hand-held devices on the market today, compatibility testing for all types of screens is crucial as the display should be the same on a PC and a smartphone. The designers have to run the browser compatibility test to view the display on different browsers. Mobile compatibility is becoming increasingly important as more people browse websites on their smartphones.

Key Takeaways

  • A designer must look at several test driven design examples to understand how users react.
  • User interaction is crucial to ensure that all aspects of user experience are covered in the test driven design process.
  • Responsive design is another aspect of designing that all designers must follow religiously.
  • Each step has to be followed at the right time to get the right outcome.
  • The benefits of following the right tests during the design phase can significantly reduce the time and cost.

Conclusion

Following the above testing guidelines and examples should help any designer create a website keeping the end-user in mind since user experience is of prime importance. Testing, using multiple proven methods is crucial to ensure smooth functioning.

FAQs

1. What is meant by the test phase in design thinking?

Unless you have the test driven design, the outcome may not be what the users expect. The testing stage in design thinking is when the users test the solution in a real-life setting. Tests are your only opportunity to test your design in real-time and determine whether you framed the problem correctly. With the feedback generated on a particular prototype, you get a deeper understanding of how users react to your design. You can then refine the design further based on user feedback.

2. What is a good test driven design example?

Test driven design is a development approach where test designs are developed as prototypes and then tested for performance. When the prototype fails to perform during testing, it must be modified or checked to determine how and why it fails. Redesigning is easier using the test results. Design thinking helps you figure out the problem even before arriving at the solution.

3. What steps are involved in the design process?

A test design definition can be best described as defining the problem, as no solution can emerge until there’s a clear idea about the issue. The design and testing process starts with collecting information, sketches, photos, and data, to develop concepts. Next is the brainstorming and analyzing stage, leading to developing solutions. It’s imperative that you collect user feedback as it helps improve the design at the testing stage itself.

4. What are the things I should consider during the design process?

As defined by the Stanford School of Design, test driven design involves the design thinking process that can be split into five stages, before testing a designer must first empathize, then define, ideate, and prototype before the final testing. The UX design process can also be divided into five stages: product definition, followed by product definition, which must rely on research and analysis before the final designing and validation.

5. Why is prototype testing important?

Testing a prototype can help confirm whether the product works the way it’s intended to or whether it needs further refinements. In general, testing a prototype will allow the designer to assess the design’s viability.

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