Ely Duran

Paper Prototype User Testing: Building in Bloomfield

Project Brief

Once a workflow was defined, I created thirty “screens” on index cards to test the interface against user mental models. Five users of varying skills and background participated in this study. Two tested the manual prototype, three used the interactive interface (paper wireframes, loaded into an interactive interface).

To align with the main functions of the app and the target audiences (described here), the user scenarios were:

  • You’re a recent homeowner in the town, and you’d like to start work on your 100-year-old fixer upper. Please use the app to find out how you could start the renovations.
  • You’re an architect preparing drawings for the homeowner of a 100-year-old house. Please locate the information you’ll need to execute this project.
  • You’ve come home to your renovation and found a stop work notice on the door! The house is a mess, and your contractors are gone. Use the app to resolve this issue.

Some of the key findings were:

  • Several users lost track of the scenario/goal for each activity, indicating that the basis of testing may have been too complex/granular.
  • Because this is tailored to a very specific group of people, it was helpful to have insights from outside the arch./construction field to understand how to build an app that is approachable to homeowners.
  • Digital/click-able prototypes make organizing much easier, but raise expectations of functional ability as they encourage users to explore beyond even what the designer anticipated.

User testing videos are available through the presentation, as well as a more complete list of findings and next steps. The most valuable takeaway was that users will find their own path and not necessarily follow those which the designer creates for them. This knowledge was critical in the development of the high-fidelity prototype, bringing forth the challenge of balancing options without causing overwhelm.

Tools & Resources:

  • MarvelApp.com
  • Canva.com
  • Index Cards
  • Markers
  • Sticky Notes
The key functions of the Building in Bloomfield App.

Lo-fi Prototype Introduction & Key (click to view PDF of paper prototype screens.)

The user testing script is critical to create a relaxed environment for users and assure them that there are no ‘wrong’ decisions.