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7 – Test + Iterate

In this Make:able toolkit, we’ll be guiding you in testing and refining your prototype until you reach a life-improving solution for your end user. Watch the overview video below before browsing through the test + iterate methods and tips. Then use your key learnings to plan and implement an iteration strategy. As you test and iterate, bear in mind how long you have left for the challenge and don’t forget to save some time to create and edit your video submission!


User Testing

The most effective way to improve your prototype is through end user testing. A good method to try is 'Think Aloud Testing', which involves your end user talking through their thoughts as they test your product. When performing user testing methods, refrain from putting words in your end user's mouth. Let them express their own thoughts and observe every action they take. Check out the user testing reel below for inspiration.

Watch User Testing Reel


If you cannot meet with your end user for testing, roleplay and simulation activities are a great alternative. Even if you can meet your end user, you might want to consider doing this to experience first hand how your device works. Try and figure out the best way to simulate your end user's disability - whether this be blindfolding yourself, using an arthritis simulation glove or even taping parts of your body to restrict movement.

Evaluation Matrix

An evaluation matrix can be used to analyse products and prototypes. It involves defining multiple criteria to evaluate, before mapping out positive and negative aspects of each one. Although a simple concept, it ensures your evaluation is thorough and not confined to a single area of the design. The method can be used in combination with user testing or team testing/simulations. Download the instruction below.

Download Instructions

Feature Variation Models

Feature variation models involve making and testing multiple prototypes simultaneously. The idea is to make each model the same with the exception of 1 design feature, which is varied across the models. By making, testing and analysing multiple models at the same time, you can save time during the design process and come to a decision on how best to design the feature you’re exploring. This method should be used when you have a particular design in mind but want to experiment with a certain aspect of it. Additionally, the method works best with small-scale objects that don’t take long to manufacture.

Iterative Design

Kevin Kennedy from Product Design Online ( gives us an overview of iterative design and its purpose.

Watch Video

Embrace Failure

If you go in to the iterative design process thinking you're going to get it right first time, there's a good chance you'll be disappointed. Learn to embrace failure and have a positive mindset, even when you make mistakes (which you will!)

Honest Feedback

Your end user may be inclined to only give you positive feedback because they are appreciative of your efforts and don't want to offend you. In order to get them comfortable with being critical, let them know that you aren't expecting your prototype to be perfect and encourage them to be honest and constructive with their feedback.

Small Changes

Alex from DiveDesign provides us with his top tip for prototyping. Check out the below video where Alex talks us through the benefits of making small changes when iterating.

Watch Video

Before moving on to the next toolkit, you should have achieved the below objectives.

  1. I can evaluate the functionality, ergonomics, aesthetics and production methods of my prototype.
  2. I can use my evaluation data to develop improved iterations of my prototype.


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