Three Tips to Prepare Your Prototype for Usability Testing

While it’s not mandatory for a prototype to be high-fidelity, getting it to a certain standard is essential for usability testing to be constructive and effective. Because low-fidelity prototypes are less fleshed out, they are more conducive to conceptual testing. Conceptual prompts often consist of Users being asked to imagine themselves in certain scenarios and to describe their expectations (i.e., “What would you expect to find upon clicking here?”). Users need more handholding in this scenario because links are often not yet clickable. If your goal is to allow Users to navigate freely on their own without prompting, this is only possible with high-fidelity prototypes.

Whether you plan on testing a low or high-fidelity prototype, below are some tips to keep in mind when creating visual assets for testing:

1. Define your research goals to determine the testing flow

First and foremost, define the main goals of what you want to learn from testing. Do you want to learn how efficient your product’s buy flow is on mobile? Do you want to understand how Users might interact with the site’s information architecture? Whatever the goals may be, figuring out the flow you want Users to take during testing will help you assess which pages and sections should be more fleshed out. In addition, identifying the flow for testing will aid the moderator in setting appropriate scenarios for Users to follow.

2. The less Lorem Ipsum, the better.

Often mistaken for Spanish, Users find the ‘lorem ipsum’ placeholder text to be distracting. If it’s not possible to replace the lorem ipsum in every section of your prototype, make sure that the primary sections of the testing flow are filled with real copy. This will prevent Users from getting hung up on text that looks foreign to them.

(Read our blog post on lorem ipsum here:

3. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Through all of our User testing, we have learned conclusively that Users across the board love images. Inserting relevant images into the primary sections of the testing flow will eliminate User distraction and confusion that may arise when looking at a generic wireframe image placeholder.

Testing at every stage holds value. A better prototype, whether low-fidelity or high-fidelity, means better opportunities to gain valuable User feedback for your product, making each subsequent iteration that’s tested even more insightful.

At User Insight, we take an iterative approach to design and take advantage of the unique opportunity we have to talk to real consumers and professionals every day. Our design team is directly involved in formalized research with real Users. This research influences your ultimate design ensuring that your customer is always at the forefront of your design efforts.

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