Introduction to Axure - Part V - Usability Testing With Axure

Posted 7/18/2014 8:22 PM by Curtis Lauterbach and Michael Nelson

There are many tools on the market for usability testing.  Axure allows your team to test a prototype throughout the iteration process.  With Axure, project teams no longer needs to produce different designs for different stages of the project’s development cycle.  We discuss the different features of Axure that make it a model tool for prototype usability testing.

Versatility

As UX professionals, getting feedback from users before designing is crucial.  It makes little sense to create products that do not meet the user’s needs.  Axure can be used in focus groups to gather important information, as users openly discuss what goals they have and how to accomplish them.  Designers can take the discussed ideas use Axure’s drag and drop interface to quickly create a bucket style prototype of the layout for the product.  Then users can give more feedback.

Bucket-style design

Concept and IA Development

Once the layout has been decided upon the team can show users the prototype for intuitiveness.  Give users a scenario, and then ask them where they would search for specific information.  With testing, your information architecture can be efficiently evaluated.

Interactions Provide Authenticity

As the team reaches the end of the design process, specific interactions can be added that will show users how the prototype will interact and provides a real-world experience.  However, Axure does not allow for storing information users input.  We recommend providing users with the specific information that will appear on the prototype once it is entered.  This will provide a more authentic and smooth experience. 

Measure Performance

No matter whether you are testing a basic design (i.e. buckets) or a high-fidelity prototype, your team can measure performance as users can interact with the prototype.  Although Axure does not record user interactions, it is still a very powerful tool for usability testing.  The elements provide a means of interaction that allows users to display their cognitive processes in relation to the product, and tells you whether the prototype meets specific requirements.

Assists with Feedback

Sometimes interacting with a mid or high-fidelity prototype with color and full content (not the default “Lorem ipsum” that Axure provides) can make users feel the prototype is almost ready to be released.  They may feel that giving negative feedback or suggesting major changes could hurt the researcher or create more work and stress.  In these cases, the team will not get the information they are seeking.  Therefore, it is important to use the prototype for any and all testing.  In earlier stages, buckets and a lack of color allow users to see the prototype is not completed and they might be more likely to openly provide feedback.  As the product nears completion, more features, such as, color and interactions can be added that provide users with an authentic real-world experience.

Buckets test concept/layout

High-fidelity provides authenticity

Make Quick Changes

When testing, if a major flaw occurs such as a button that does not take them to a specific page is identified, a team member can quickly make that change before the next user arrives.  We have experienced this and the ease of adding interactions has saved us valuable time as we were able to make the changes within a couple of minutes while the next user was filling out forms.  Quick changes allows the team to keep up the pace during testing, and keep the project on track.

Tests Interactions

In UX there is a huge disconnect between designers and developers.  Developers know what is possible with programming and can provide great insights.  Axure can act as a bridge between the two camps, whether you work with developers directly or indirectly.  Different interaction types can be tested with users to determine which type is more efficient.  Just this week, we spoke with one of our developers about choosing an interaction that would be efficient and possible.  We learned that our idea was not currently possible, but openly discussed alternatives that accomplished our goal. 

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Article Series

  1. Introduction to Axure
  2. Using Axure RP
  3. The Pros and Cons of Axure RP
  4. Project Lifecycle with Axure RP
  5. Usablility Testing with Axure RP