Testing early – gives valuable insight and stops projects from becoming internalised.
One of the challenges is that Bupa International’s clients are truly ‘international’ and activities such as focus groups and one to one testing were unrealistic even if I do fancy the travel. Additionally ‘clients’ teams themselves are also dispersed between London, Brighton and Copenhagen. So paper prototyping is was not really an option.
Being an advocate of innovative and collaborative working methods [and not a fan of pointless meetings] I needed a wire frame and prototyping tool that was capable of remote screen sharing and group collaboration whilst being flexible enough to be a design and delivery mechanism in a semi agile environmemt. I found this in an application called Pidoco.com Operating as a SAAS [software as a service] business it offers a flexible and evolving platform, although it’s not without its own idiosyncrasies,-which includes not being overly happy with Bupa group HQ IT infrastructure.
For formative testing I used a sketch fidelity on the prototype. Personally I find this useful as it allows participants [as well as stakeholders and project team members] to be a little more divergent in their thinking whist concentrating on structure rather than getting stuck in the details.
Pidoco is capable of recording both audio and video in the sessions but this service is currently only available whilst dialling a German landline or via Skype. Hence we were forced to use Bupas 3 way conferencing facilities to record the audio separately to the visuals, not ideal but still met our objectives
As the subject uses the prototype remotely we see what they see -the way they see it [note: only the prototype screen is available not the rest of their desktop]. Another interesting function is the ability to add notes to the session for later, place markers and push instant messages to the user.