Product Experience

Prototype Testing Questions for Usability User Test and Analysis

Manoj Rana
June 10, 2024
min read
Prototype Testing Questions for Usability User Test and Analysis
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Regardless of what sort of product you are building, prototype testing should be an integral part of the process and completed early on in the development process. 

Launching a product without proper external feedback is like going to war without a strategy. Prototyping is essential because it provides authentic and pre-validated design approaches, which can be used to create a product for a qualified audience. 

To extract the information from the target audience, you will need questions. Questions that will motivate the users to share their opinions and perspectives. Here’s what you will learn about prototype testing in this article:

  • A Basic Introduction to Prototype Testing
  • Pre-testing preparation
  • How to Frame effective Prototype Testing Questions
  • Some sample questions to cement your understanding
  • Benefits of Asking the Right Questions

It’s going to be an interesting discussion filled with industry knowledge, my personal experiences, and a couple of case studies, so stay tuned until the end.

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Prototype Testing Process

What is Prototype Testing, and How Does it Help?

Prototype testing includes a design mockup or a specific feature shared with the target audience to gather feedback. We extract this feedback, and you should want to know two things;

  • What Works
  • What Doesn’t Work

Once you know the answer, the design and development process forward is streamlined. 

It essentially validates the designs, features, and functions before full-scale development. With prototype testing questions, we can identify problems early on to ensure that the final product can satisfy the users.

Effective way to test your Prototypes

But, How Does Usability Testing Help?

Prototype testing includes creating preliminary versions or models of the product to evaluate the designs, user experience, and functionality. The way you present these models for user feedback depends. 

  • Early Issue Detection: Testing prototypes with real users means you can identify usability issues early on. From design flaws to potential areas of improvement, fixing them is easier at the prototyping stage. 
  • Design Validation: Validate assumptions, design ideas, wireframes, etc., during the design phase. This will help you understand how end-users interact with your product while you gather feedback on their needs and expectations. 
  • User-Centric Development: Knowing what your users like and dislike is like a treasure trove for designers and developers. As you gain these valuable insights regarding their needs and pain points, testing lets you solve your users' actual usability problems. 
  • Product Success: I have been involved in several product development journeys. Speaking from experience, products that have undergone prototype testing are more successful than the others. 

Types of Prototype Testing

At Qwary, we have been conducting prototype testing in two different categories;

  • By Prototype Fidelity: 
    1. Low-fidelity prototypes are the basic or raw version of the final product and have a minimal aesthetic appeal. 
    2. High-fidelity prototypes, on the other hand, are more detailed and are interactive models that closely resemble the final product.

Going ahead with the development process with an unmoderated prototype can build products that may or may not be able to satisfy the users.

  • By Testing Method: 
    1. Usability testing is a common method observing the users as they are trying to complete the tasks with the purpose to identify usability issues. 
    2. In A/B testing we show two different prototypes to the end users to record their responses. We have extensively used this method to compare design options. 
    3. There’s another type of testing process, Breadboard testing, but it’s used for feasibility data analysis of physical products. 

Pre-Testing Preparation to Understand the Users

Prototype testing preparation shouldn’t be hard if you know the right procedure. At Qwary, I have seen firsthand the power of defining a target user profile as an essential testing tool. 

I have done both;

  • Conducted product development tests with a broad range of users.
  • Narrowed down the target audience and recruitment according to a detailed user persona. 

A broad user persona development made me realize the mistake, and it trickled down to every aspect of testing. From writing questions that were irrelevant to finalizing testing features, which led to ambiguous answers, we had no clarity. 

Sample User Persona

But the next time we did our preparation, everything was sorted and validated by the team. We recruited the right people for the testing session. This was a big learning moment, and the difference in the results was able to ignite a fire in the team, leading to customer-centric product development. Pre-testing tasks to cover include;

  • User Recruitment and User Research

Define the ideal user profile and recruit the people who can best fit into the shoes of your target audience. This will ensure that you receive relevant feedback that actually reflects their needs. 

Feedback from an audience who dislikes exercising about a fitness app won’t be fruitful. 

  • Focus on User Goals

Well-defined user persona gives clarity on their specific goals, relevant to what you are trying to achieve. Using this information, you can design the testing scenarios to directly address the target audience’s goals and pain. 

  • Tailored UX Research Test Tasks

When building a user persona profile, knowing your user’s background can help create personalized testing tasks. 

Don't ask questions that can’t be answered.

This means that you need to differentiate the questions relevant to beginners and experienced users. 

Here are three crucial questions to ask when preparing for Testing a Prototype:

  1. What are the demographics and psychographics of your ideal user?

Demographics information gives you the users;

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Education, etc. 

Psychographic information reveals;

  • Values
  • Interests
  • Attitude
  • Lifestyle preferences, etc. 

When prototyping for a language learning mobile app, your ideal demographics can include young adults aged between 18 and 35 with disposable income. The psychographics for them include an interest in travel, understanding global cultures, and a need for self-improvement. 

  1. What are their pain points and goals relevant to your prototype?

Find out the specific problems of your target audience and what they hope to achieve from using your product. Using prototype product testing, find out their;

  • Pain points, including challenges, frustrations, and unmet needs. 
  • Goals are to ascertain what they wish to accomplish or the outcomes they seek. 

For the same language learning application above, a user’s pain points can include a lack of engaging learning methods, and goals might include achieving conversational fluency in a foreign language. 

  1. What is their current experience with similar products or solutions?

Know your target audience’s existing experiences with similar products. Make sure to include their likes and dislikes about the product and its features. 

Include a section in the prototype testing survey about the user’s existing experiences through specific questions and how they find the products they are using right now. 

Answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of your end users. This is going to help you in recruiting the right people, source authentic information, and streamline the development process. 

Crafting the Best Prototype User Test

Ah! my favorite part of the testing session. Building an effective prototype is mandatory to hold a successful session. A crucial part of this exercise is setting the right prototype testing questions. Here’s what I have learned in this so far…

  1. Creating Effective Prototype User Testing Questions

Your prototyping questions will depend on the test scenarios and what sort of data you want to obtain. Questions to extract qualitative data will be different from those to extract quantitative data. Different tasks and scenarios are executed with a unique narrative, which is brief but can give your testers the right context. Here’s a good method to build scenarios;

  • Focus on User Goals: Don’t make the mistake I did “of focusing on product functionalities and features.” Instead, focus on user goals with preferential treatment to usability. 
  • Tasks that Resemble Real Life: For testing and other purposes, ensure that you are setting the right tone. For instance, testing your prototype for a flight booking experience should explain a better scenario and give it a personal touch. 
  • Don’t Explain Your Product: In prototype testing, you must let users take suo moto action on using your product, without you motivating them. 
  1. Sample Questions to Ask in Prototype Testing

Let me give you a few sample questions to help you set you on the right path. Make sure to customize them according to your product and testing goals. 

  • Design/Idea/Concept Validation
    • What do you think this app will be used for?
    • Have you ever used any app that resembles this one? 
    • What aspects of the prototype did you find helpful? 
    • Were any parts of the prototype unclear or challenging to use?
    • What’s the initial impression of the design and layout?
  • Task-Specific Questions (By Use-Case)
    • On a scale of 1 to 5, how easy was it to (book a flight) to complete a task?
    • Did you find sending money through the app safe?
    • Were there any moments in the prototype where you were confused or unsure about the next step?
  • Usability Analysis
    • If you had the power to change one thing about the app or its design, what would it be?
    • How would you rate your overall experience?
    • Did you find everything you expected from the prototype?
    • Did you feel that something in the design or prototype was out of place?
    • Did it take more or less time than expected to complete the given task?

When writing questions, ensure to;

  • Ask task-specific questions.
  • Include open-ended and closed-ended questions.
  • Don’t ask misleading questions.
  • Use neutral working that prevents biased user responses.

Benefits of Asking Right Prototype Testing QuestionsLet me say it again that I have seen the transformative power of a well-executed prototype testing exercise. In this, the questions we decide play a pivotal role in getting the feedback we need and unlock a goldmine of insights. 

  1. Fail Fast

I think it’s better to fail fast rather than iterating through different scenarios and ideas only to waste your resources, time, and effort in building something your users don’t even like. Effective prototype testing lets you test a product or service by asking specific questions and making user-centric decisions before launching the product. 

  1.  Improve Your User Experience

When your users cannot directly share their frustrations and unspoken needs, asking the right questions at the right time will reveal valuable insights. However, the trick here is to play with words to extract a favorable response. 

For instance, a simple question like “How was it?might not get a favorable response. But if you ask it like this: “What surprised you most about using this platform?” You can extract specific information from your users, which becomes your opportunity for innovation. 

  1. Assumption Validation

Prototype testing is done to validate assumptions on one or more aspects. Whether you want to check how end users will interact with your creation or want to check whether a particular design element is comfortable for your users, you can test all the assumptions with the target audience. 

When asking questions make sure you’re addressing the users interested in sharing their insights. This will help you understand the user’s thought process and expose unexpected complexities. 

  1. Get Out of the Tech Debt Trap

Prototyping is one of the ways designers and developers use to get out of tech debt. This means instead of spending time and money on fixing errors, prototyping gives them the opportunity to know all the issues about basic usability to completing a complex function, before coding. At a time when developers spend around 35% - 50% of their time in validating and debugging, prototyping is important to let you know the issues beforehand. 

  1. Set the Right Priorities

The test results will provide a wide range of information, including potential improvements, opportunities, etc. But with the right questions, you can effectively prioritize them. Asking the users to rank the product features and functionalities on the basis of importance will automatically set the priority order.

When Companies Were Successful in Building a Great Product with Testing Prototypes

  1. Nielsen Norman Homepage Redesign

Nielsen Norman redesigned their homepage with prototype testing, which led to iterative design. The company created low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes for user testing on each version. 

How did it help? 

Usability testing helped the NN group achieve its goals of building credibility with its audience. The designers were able to create an aesthetically appealing interface while ensuring access to the primary offerings. The prototype testing questions revealed that the users preferred a list of relevant articles over the grid format. 

  1. Airbnb Experiences to Streamline Booking Experience

Airbnb asked questions from their audience regarding their booking experience. The prototype testing results demonstrated how the long booking process was confusing, leading to a high drop-off rate after the fifth screen. These insights facilitated a change in the strategy and thought process that led to a user-friendly and transparent booking process. 

Test Your Prototypes with Qwary

Questions are the key to unlocking valuable insights in prototype testing. Set the right questions for prototype user testing to discover hidden needs, validate assumptions, and prioritize improvements. Following the insights, you can build a user-centric product while incorporating the design changes, features, and functionalities to deliver a memorable user experience. While prototype testing is recommended, the execution exercise is time-consuming and complex. 

Qwary allows you to take advantage of a specially designed system for prototype testing. We have intuitive testing tools for recruitment, crafting questions, and analyzing results. You can use our tool to set prototype testing questions and get rich user feedback, transforming the prototypes into products and solutions that users will love. Sign up for a free demo today to learn more about how Qwary can help you conduct effective tests. 


  1. What are other ways to test a prototype than conducting a survey?

Instead of a survey, you can go for usability testing A/B testing, conduct interviews, discuss among focus groups, and run cognitive product walkthroughs. Each method has a unique way of execution and extracts insights for better product development. 

  1. What are the four types of prototype testing models?

Four types of prototype testing models include;

  • Rapid throwaway
  • Evolutionary
  • Incremental
  • Extreme 
  1. What follows prototype testing?

After testing, we gather user feedback and make the required changes or improvements to the design, feature, functionality, etc. The updated information is shared with the development team so they can build the final product. 

  1. How can Qwary help me with prototype testing?

Qwary offers a host of friendly tools for prototype testing. You can recruit testers who match your ideal user persona. The effortless integration with Figma and InVision means you can import your designs. Plus, there’s a 50+ repository of prototype testing questions templates that are designed according to the purpose. 

  1. How many questions should I ask in the Prototype testing survey?

The ideal number of prototype testing questions can vary according to the type of prototype. After completing several prototype tests, I would recommend adding 5 to 10 questions. This will keep the test short, encouraging the users to participate without hesitation.