What is a prototype or wireframe?
Prototypes and wireframes are unfinished versions of sites or apps. Your experience testing a prototype or wireframe may vary from test to test. You may see prototypes with very limited functionality, meaning the links won’t be clickable, or the text and images on the page may just be placeholders. Other prototypes may be so fully-featured that you might think you’re testing a live website or app.
This means that you may need to use your imagination when interacting with a prototype or wireframe. In general, it’s more important to focus on what you can understand about the overall page, rather than provide feedback on the appearance. When testing prototypes, customers are interested in hearing your expectations of how the site or app should behave when interacted with.
How do I know if I’m testing a prototype or wireframe?
Prototypes and wireframes come in many different forms, but some of the main platforms we see are InVision, Figma, Axshare, Proto.io, Adobe XD, and Marvel App. If you see any of these names in the URL of the page you’re providing feedback, you’re likely looking at a prototype.
Customers will also usually tell you when you’re about to test a prototype or wireframe. Look out for keywords, such as “prototype”, “wireframe”, “mock-up”, “limited functionality”, or something similar.
How do I provide helpful feedback on a prototype or wireframe?
- Clearly explain your expectations. If something doesn’t work the way you expect it to (or doesn’t work at all), just explain what you would expect to see and then move on with the test.
For example, "I don't like this prototype because I can't click on this button" isn’t nearly as helpful as, "If I could click this button, I’d expect to be able to..."
- Explain what you understand, and why you understand it that way. “This doesn’t make any sense” isn’t nearly as helpful as, “Well, I thought that this icon meant ‘save’ because of the check mark, but now it looks like I deleted it.”
- Don't click before you’re asked to. The customer usually has an intended path for you to follow when testing a prototype. You can disrupt the flow of your experience if you click or tap ahead before the instructions say to do so. Read the instructions carefully before interacting with the prototype.
If you realize that you have worked ahead of the customer's instructions or cannot complete multiple steps as instructed, it's best to quit the test or report a problem.
- Be patient. Some customers build prototypes on platforms that may take longer to load. Slow loading times, improper page sizing, or strange navigation controls may happen. Be patient, and do your best to work around these functionality hiccups.
- Do not interact with the prototype platform unless specifically asked to do so. You may see buttons on the edges of the prototype (highlighted with red arrows in the screenshot) that are part of the prototype platform. Interacting with these may disrupt the prototype flow, so do not click on these areas unless explicitly instructed to do so in the task instructions.
What can I do if I run into a problem while testing a prototype or wireframe?
Testing prototypes can be tricky enough when you don’t run into technical issues. If you ever run into a technical issue during a prototype or wireframe test, please report a problem instead of submitting an incomplete test to the customer.
To do this, click the question mark (?) icon in the task instruction widget. Navigate to “Report a problem” within the menu, and then choose a reason from the dropdown menu. Reporting a problem alerts our Support Team to look into the test and see if there’s an issue the customer may not be aware of. By reporting a problem, you’ll help ensure that others do not run into the same problem that you did.