Developing a Prototype for usability testing of an IVR script and application is a good idea when you’re looking to check out the way callers may experience the system—speech prompting, navigation and its efficiency. Feedback from users, before the application development begins, allows for menu rearrangements and verbiage adjustments to be implemented, and changes to be made where inefficiencies may have been found.
Prototyping makes it easier to test application menus and scenarios by applying simulated backend responses, without the need of real time host connections. This is an excellent way for the customer to focus on how the menus and phrases will work together before the application development and coding begins. With a prototype, alternatives on what sounds best and what users like or dislike, can all be decided during the usability testing phase.
On the other hand, during User Acceptance Testing, the system is called by users, and the application logic is put to the test for validating whether or not it does what it should. In this test mode, the “real” application is called, and users actually attempt to break it by testing all possible scenarios. This is different from evaluating the recorded vocabulary script and menu phrasing as in the usability testing phase.
Results of the usability tests give early indication of the application’s functionality before itis fully developed. Early feedback means you will understand whether or not the application is user friendly, know how fast users accomplish tasks, how errors are handled by users and the system, how satisfied the user is with their experience, and you will have ability to make changes to the application design all before it is developed. Users will tell you how easy or difficult it is in learning how to complete tasks when accessing the IVR system.
Usability testing is also beneficial whenever you have significant system upgrades or functionality enhancements to make on production systems, and prototyping may provide minimal impact on system reliability. Prototyping may be considered a cost effective process, saving time and development dollars before development begins!
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