Prototyping and Testing for Successful User Experience Designs
How can you ensure a successful medical software product launch? At MPE (Formerly Mindflow) we do so by utilizing UX design prototypes in combination with in-depth user testing in our one-of-a-kind usability lab.
When designing a user experience for a software product, the tools used are crucial for a successful outcome. After analyzing client requirements, design research, and other inputs, we roll up our sleeves and hit the whiteboard as a quick and convenient way to flesh out initial direction. It’s really the best way for a team of user experience designers to collaborate and build consensus. Once we have a clear direction for the app’s user flow and fundamental functionality, we begin to design the user interface in our favorite UX/UI design programs.
Collaboration Between Design & Software Product Testing
We employ tools such as Adobe XD, Sketch, and Invision to craft the user interface’s look, feel, and functionality. We chose these tools for a couple of reasons. The first is because they are broadly used across the worldwide UX community, which makes collaboration easy. Another reason is they make it very easy to crank out functional prototypes for usability testing. One thing our clients value most is the speed at which we can create prototypes, test them, and make the required changes. These tools allow us to do so quickly.
An important thing to consider when planning testing is the resolution of the intended production LCD screen. It’s easy to get carried away and excited seeing your designs pop on an iPad’s retina display. If you’re designing for an iPad, that’s great, but if it’s used on a device of lesser quality, make sure you emulate that accurately with your test prototype.
On a recent project, we requested and received an LCD demo unit from the screen manufacturer. It was the actual screen our client specified for their product. Procuring one was a little bit of a hassle, but we knew we needed to preview and test our work on the actual display. By connecting it to Wi-Fi, we were able to view our interactive prototypes via a URL link on a web browser. Having a working prototype on that demo device was essential to dial in the design of the interface.
The working prototype was equally important in proving to our clients and other stakeholders the validity of our design solution. Getting executive approval was a breeze, and our clients were thrilled with the results!
The ability to share our interactive prototypes with a URL link allows us to review the proposed user experience firsthand with our clients even if they’re not local. It’s a tool that promotes transparency and collaboration with our clients no matter where they are located. MPE (Formerly Mindflow) strives to include our clients in every step of the user experience design process.
After key workflows are designed and reviewed with our clients, we further vet them with users through formative usability evaluations. Testing early and often is essential to our process and expected by the FDA. It assures that we’ve found and filled any gaps before handing our user interface design specification over to software developers.
We have a dedicated usability lab in our San Diego office that makes this testing very convenient. It’s comprised of a simulated hospital room that can be viewed from an adjacent viewing room through a one-way mirror. Joystick controlled cameras strategically located on the ceiling allow our clients to view even the most subtle interactions with prototypes. Clients can watch the testing on sight from behind the glass or via our streaming video service anywhere in the world. Testing in our lab has been vital to solving problems and sharing product feedback promptly and effectively.
As a seasoned user experience designer, these tools and processes have been crucial in getting the user experience for an app just right — before investing a client’s development time or budget. I’ve seen time and time again that MindFlow’s methodology for designing prototypes and conducting thorough testing is the best way to ensure the end product’s success in the market.