In Research-Driven Design Project, or during Design Sprint, there are key milestones for user input. If the team has built a concept hypothesis or prototype for one of these milestones, we need to evaluate it accurately according to the Interview Protocol.
Evaluating the strength of ideas before they’re built out is crucial in avoiding waste. But concepts are hard to articulate, and prototypes may be over- or under-specified in their level of detail. These vehicles for ideas—concepts, prototypes, design hypotheses—are designed to express a view of how the thing might be; they are not the real thing. Your explicit task may be to evaluate a limited set of questions around performance or viability. Implicitly, your goal is to project implications of these concepts to a live experience of use, to what may happen if people use “the real thing.”
Stress testing new ideas or evaluating prototypes will bring the team confidence and more granular information, either for the next iteration of design or a change in direction. Consider how we can establish that feedback loop, through facilitating participant engagement with design artifacts.
Therefore, conduct tests with prototypes or conceptual artifacts that allow the team to evaluate their hypotheses when formed well-enough to be expressed through design. Identify the elements core to the hypothetical experience of use: behaviorally, emotionally, or reflectively. Construct a test where participants actively participate with your team's ideas through critical scenarios, in a format that simulates the core experiences of use as reliably as possible.
Take care with Well Managed Data and making sense in Interview Debrief. Use Affinity Map or more detailed Sensemaking Workshop for complex and highly technical tests. Ideally, the team has been involved throughout the testing process and is ready to act; regardless use Effective Reporting so the entire team can understand and challenge your interpretation, and include your effort in Public Project Index.