Low Fidelity User Testing, Round 1 of 3

For our capstone project, my team – comprised of Christina Davis, Catherine Woodiwiss, and myself – conducted research into the education and life experiences of young, first generation Americans in Austin. In quarter 3, our synthesized research has led us to develop a range of potential concepts for products and services which address the problems we identified. We came up with nearly 200 original concepts and down-selected to our top 5, which we fleshed out last week by making storyboards, lean canvases, and theories of change for each, to get a better sense of how user would interact with each design solution, and their potential impact.

After creating artifacts for our 5 original concepts, and receiving critical feedback, we realized that we weren’t as excited about all of them as we felt we should be to take them all forward in the design process. We decided to ideate more on our most compelling concept at this early stage, teasing it into several other variations that addressed the same problems with different ‘answers.’ Instead of down-selecting from our initial 5 concepts to 3 that we wanted to go out and test, we actually created an entirely new design concept, to test alongside 2 of our originals. Although partially going back to the drawing board set us back in our testing timeline, we felt it was better to iterate early on, and pursue products that were compelling to us and connected most with the problems that we identified in our research, rather than committing to lackluster ideas that we weren’t very excited about.

Over the next 3 weeks we’ll be running user tests with low-fidelity prototypes to test the value of each of our concepts with our target audience(s). We do this with 3 concepts concurrently to give ourselves more opportunity to explore potential solutions, rather than decide on a single solution and iterate on that one alone. We’ve crafted specific hypotheses for each concept that must be validated before moving forward with our product, as well as a prototype or testing method for each. Our concepts, hypotheses, and testing methods for each of our 3 distinct design concepts are outlined below.

CONCEPT 1: A digital tool for managing life and tracking personal goals.

Young people (under 30) will use digital tools with tailored options to manage life (bills, personal goals, etc).
Young people will do the upfront work to load their information into the tool.

Testing method:
We asked our original research participants to take photos throughout their day of things they wish they had help managing, and told them we would text them reminders throughout the day prompting them to take the photos.

camera challenge
Test Rationale:
The camera probe activity tests:
– That people will do work on the front end, because if they are willing to take photos throughout the day, they’ll likely be willing to do work of loading their info into a digital tool.
– Which areas of life are the most important for participants to manage.
– That reminders throughout the day are effective (because the tool we envision will do this as well).

Results so far:
We’ve had 2 participants respond to our camera probe request so far. One of them, Ashley, didn’t take the photos, but she did give us useful feedback –
I use Google calendar and the iPhone’s ‘Reminders’ notes to remind me about various tasks or appointments. It would be nice to have everything on one app though since Google calendars takes more effort to coordinate a task … and the Reminders notes app tends to get busy and filled up.”

CONCEPT 2: An online advice forum for First Generation Americans, written by First Generation Americans

Young, first-generation Americans will actively seek out answers to their needs and questions.
Young, first-generation Americans will value doing this anonymously, online.

Testing method:
We asked former research participants to fill out a brief questionnaire of times when they have sought out advice.
Advice questionnaire
We posted similar questions to 3 Reddit channels:  r/Advice, r/Immigration, and r/ApplyingtoCollege

1st generation Americans, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten about choosing college/career? from Advice

Test Rationale:
– The questionnaire posted on Reddit tests that young, 1st gens use social/online channels and will gauge whether there is value in this type of advice.
– The request of former research participants tests that our target population has asked for advice, has found it helpful, and is willing to share that advice with others.

Results so far:
We’ve received 2 in-depth responses from previous research participants.
For example, Kristen told us, “In the last year, I needed to ask anyone who was good at financial planning for advice. I had just gotten my first new car, a credit card to build credit and other bills that piled on top of these big ones, because my paychecks were not aligning with them. I wished I had a guide for that, but I figured things out as time moved.”

Based on feedback so far, we feel that young first gen Americans would value a forum for seeking advice on navigating challenges, including and beyond the scope of school.

CONCEPT 3: A First Generation American Pecha Kucha event – Professionals who are first gen Americans will present on their work and experiences to an audience of young student first gen Americans

First generation American professionals are willing to participate as presenters of their work and life experiences.
There is an interested audience – specifically, 1st generation American young people/students.

Testing method:
We created a landing page for our Pecha Kucha event with the ability to be put on the attendee list, and are attempting to drive traffic to the site.

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 9.52.57 PM

We’re also recruiting presenters from our previous research contacts: including SMEs, stakeholders, and personal connections.

Test Rationale:
– The landing page gauges potential audience interest.
– Commitments from presenters validate our ability to host the event, and excitement around sharing their experiences.

Results so far:
We’ve had 5 email signups from first gen college students eager to attend the Pecha Kucha event, who we met while seeking feedback out in the field, at UT and St. Edward’s University.

Reworking our original concepts delayed testing, so our initial round of testing will run through the beginning of next week in order to allow time for the participants that we contacted to respond. During the remainder of the first round of tests, we’ll be continuing to reach out to known contacts and referrals for their feedback on our concepts, as well as going out to university areas to solicit feedback in the moment.

Next week we’ll use the test results from week 1 to refine our concepts, refine the hypotheses that we test, define new prototypes to test with, and get more feedback to keep iterating on our design solutions.