Prototyping is crucial for any design. The earlier a prototype can constructed and used to get feedback from the user, the sooner the biggest course corrections can be implemented into the design solution. Good prototyping is a skilled craft unto itself. I utilize mixed methods to generate the best results for the project. These methods range from low to high fidelity can come in the form of rapid paper prototyping to fully interactive digital prototypes using tools like XD.
User testing is imperative to good UX design and the ROI for UX as a whole. Testing prototypes with actual users produces products that require less tinkering after release. It’s far cheaper and easier to tweak sketches, wireframes and prototypes than it is to tweak a product after launch. Utilizing UX, a design team can learn what doesn’t work and abandon it before the development phase rather than after. Some of my preferred methods are contextual inquiry, card-sorting, guerilla testing, phone interviews and session recording.