The earlier and more often user feedback can be solicited in the design process, the better. When usability testing is delayed, it becomes more difficult and costly to change the design. Waiting to have a fully functional prototype is not necessary; User Experience (UX) walkthroughs and usability testing can be done with rough prototypes or sketches.
When engaged in a co-design process, the entire team, including users and other stakeholders, can participate in quick testing and feedback cycles. In each of these cycles a number of ideas can be tested by team members themselves. Feedback is used to enhance those ideas or come up with new ones; these ideas can then be run through another cycle of testing, feedback and discussion.
Early and frequent usability testing is a critical component of an inclusive and efficient design process that helps to achieve a successful design solution, and safeguards against costly after-the-fact changes.
- Get feedback early in the design cycle using rough sketches or paper prototypes
- Get feedback on a regular basis throughout the design cycle
- Stay open to design changes for as long as possible
- If you don't have access to the end users or you don't have the budget to involve them in the process, look for people who can represent your user group within your company or within your personal or professional network; run quick in-house usability tests to solicit feedback.