It’s now time to put the solutions to the test by presenting the proposed solutions in front of real users. No arguing amongst stakeholders, no “hippos” throwing their weight around, testing gets to the bottom of what really works for the target audience.
Steve Krug’s books, Don’t Make Me Think and Rocket Surgery Made Easy, provided the foundation for my testing approach and to this day, I find his approach as useful as ever. In my practice, I have three rules of engagement that I always abide by:
Be objective - never observe with an agenda in mind for how you would like to see the user interact with the prototype
Don’t “lead the witness” (ie the test subject) - make directions as agnostic as possible to avoid influencing test results
Use your public radio voice - it’s important to have a warm, neutral tone when moderating sessions, again to inadvertently color the results. If I need to improvise in a session, I usually think to myself - how would Terry Gross ask this?