You have a great idea, you spend a long time designing and programming a website, and then what happens? You suddenly find out that your users don’t really like it. So what do web experts do to avoid this kind of situation? They involve their users in the creation process. Many designers create wireframes and prototypes to show users and generate feedback, so they can make changes to their concepts before programming begins. This article will look at how even basic wireframes can be used in user testing to help ensure the finished website will be a success.
What is a wireframe?
A wireframe is basically a sketch of the user interface design of a website or software application. This acts as a blueprint for the part of the website that users can see and interact with. Because of the importance of the user interface design, this often requires careful planning to ensure that the application is usable and attractive to the user. Wireframes are created to map out a basic layout of the user interface design, and these are often used to help user experience experts plan the basic functions their application should have.
Advantages of a wireframe
One of the main benefits of using wireframes is that they are quick to create and easy to adapt. Another benefit is that people are far more likely to be critical of a design concept if it does not look like a finished product. There are some wireframe tools that enable designers to create interactive prototypes. By making wireframes clickable, designers can experiment with different types of interaction easily.
The importance of clickable wireframes
With clickable wireframes, it is sometimes possible carry out usability testing in an early stage of the development process. There are different options for testing wireframes. Diary studies are a way of testing a mockup where the test user cannot be influenced by the moderator. This test enables the user to explore the wireframe and then note his experiences and what he liked and did not like. With eye tracking, the eye movements of the test user are monitored while he looks at or interacts with the wireframe. Usability tests can take place in any location. While a lab can mean that the user won’t be distracted, some users do not respond well to being in a clinical environment.
What is the best method for testing wireframes?
There is no best method for testing a wireframe. Everyone has to think about their desired product and its characteristics. For some application designs, it is better to test the wireframes under lab condition, for others anonymity will make the user feel more comfortable. Wireframes can also be tested remotely with some tools, which is ideal if your test participants live far away. What is important is that you get the feedback from your users. Remember, however much you think that a wireframe might just be a rough sketch of your idea, it is never too early to start testing on users. Testing and feedback can help minimize problems later in the design process.
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