When you design a wireframe, make it interactive and publish the prototype in Axure, you usually need to validate the solution somehow. This is exactly when the usability testing (or sometimes called user testing or UX testing) comes into the place.
User testing on your Axure prototype can provide you valuable data that helps you to understand what in your prototype works and what doesn’t work.
There are two basic types of user testing for your research: qualitative and quantitative.
As for qualitative UX research you need a few people (5-6 is usually enough) and you need to spend some time with them, conduct interview and ask deep questions about their experience with your Axure prototype.
With quantitative UX research the situation is different a little: you usually need tens or hundreds of respondents for testing your Axure prototype. With a quantity you can always go broad with your questions, but not deep.
Qualitative user testing for Axure prototypes
If you want to do qualitative user testing of your Axure prototype, then it is very much the same as for testing any other application, system or the software: you need to create the script for the testing based on the user flow of your Axure prototype, recruit a several people, invite them for the testing, conduct the testing (showing them the prototype in Axure and ask them to do different tasks according to your testing script) and once finished, you review all the research data and try to find interesting insights for your next iteration.
Quantitative user testing for Axure prototypes
If you aim for quantity, the situation is different. You need to recruit (or reach out) to much more people: as I mentioned usually tens or better hundreds of people. You can recruit them on your own from your customers, you can “purchase” them through some specialised testing services like UsabilityHub or you can leverage your influence you have on social networks like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and spread the word about your research there.
In the case of quantitative research you usually need some automated service where you can upload the link for your Axure prototype and then create the user test with tasks for the participants in this research study.
One of the services you can use for this is UXtweak, an user research platform that is quite nicely integrated with Axure and its Cloud service.
User testing of your Axure prototype happens online, it is remote and you can get actionable data in a few hours which is really cool!
At the moment you can use for remote usability testing of your Axure prototype a feature that is called Replay Tool. With this you can simply watch the recordings of the people using your Axure prototype and trying to accomplish the tasks you created for them. It’s really simple and it just works.
Is better qualitative or quantitative research when it comes to testing your Axure prototype?
The general practice in UX field is to do both: first you start with quantitative research (for testing your Axure prototype you can use tools like UXTweak as mentioned above) that helps you to get some general insights and understanding of how people use your Axure prototype and how do they interact with it. This helps you to validate the direction of your prototype and it will basically tell you what are the major issues. Once you know what’s happening, you need to find out why it is happening. And this is the moment when you need to plug in the qualitative research: you select a few users from the quantitative study, you’ll get in touch with them and ask them clarifying questions and basically you go more deeper and try to understand their behaviour.
This combo of qualitative and quantitative research is great for improving any prototype – you can use these insights for mobile apps, desktop apps or websites. It can be used really for ANY prototype that you publish from the Axure.
What is your experience with research and testing of Axure prototypes? Feel free to share your comments!