Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a research method that involves a researcher hidden from the test participant. The participant interacts with a service interface that the researcher and designer can modify during the test.

About

The Wizard of Oz technique is a usability testing method where researchers simulate system responses, giving the appearance that the system is fully functional when it is not. By controlling interactions behind the scenes, researchers can explore user reactions, test concepts, and validate interactions without fully developing the technology. The Wizard of Oz method is used in interaction design, prototyping, and human-computer interaction research, where early validation and user insights guide design and innovation.

Suitable for

  • Testing user environment and system usability;
  • Rapid prototyping of a new product and feedback on it;
  • Fast product development aimed at improving UX.

Deliverables

Testing Scenario Script

A detailed script outlining the various steps and interactions a user will experience during the testing session, including instructions for the researcher performing the 'wizard' role.


Setup and Environment Guide

A structured guide for setting up the testing environment, including the arrangement of physical elements and technology, as well as tips for making the experience as realistic and seamless as possible.


Participant Recruitment Plan

A strategy for identifying and recruiting target users who fit the desired profile for the Wizard of Oz testing, which may include aspects such as demographics, experience, and usage habits.


Informed Consent Form

A document that outlines the details of the testing process and what participants can expect, ensuring they are aware of the Wizard of Oz technique and willingly agree to participate in the study.


Task Prompt List

A list of tasks or goals that users will be asked to complete during the testing session, designed to explore various aspects of the proposed system or interface.


Data Collection Templates

Customizable forms or spreadsheets for capturing various types of data during the testing session, such as user input, errors, task completion times, and subjective feedback.


Debrief Interview Guide

A set of open-ended questions for participants to reflect on their experience during the testing session, focusing on aspects such as usability, perceived system performance, and areas for improvement.


Post-Test Observations and Insights

A report summarizing the findings from the Wizard of Oz testing process, including patterns and trends in the data, as well as recommendations for design changes and future research.


Video Recording Setup

A setup guide for recording the testing sessions, including camera placement and audio setup, to ensure the documentation of both participant interactions and the 'wizard' intervention.


Data Analysis Plan

A strategy for analyzing the collected data, including quantitative metrics and qualitative insights, to identify patterns and trends related to user behavior, preferences, and needs.

Procedure

1

Planning and Objective Setting

Identify the goals and objectives of the study, determine the target users and the specific aspects of the user experience you want to investigate.

2

Designing the Interface Prototype

Create a low-fidelity, functional prototype of the desired interface or product you want to test. This could be as simple as a paper-based prototype or a mock-up on a digital platform.

3

Selecting the Wizard

Choose a person or a team that will act as the 'Wizard.' Their role is to simulate the functionality of the system or interface, responding to the user's interactions behind-the-scenes.

4

Preparing the Test Environment

Set up a controlled test environment where the user will interact with the prototype. This can be in a lab or in a place that allows the Wizard to remain unseen by the user during the test.

5

Testing the Setup

Conduct a few dry runs to ensure that the Wizard and the prototype function smoothly together, and that the user experience will be as realistic as possible in the context of the test.

6

Recruiting Participants

Select and recruit participants that represent your target user group. Brief them about the study, confidentiality, and any compensation they will receive for their time.

7

Conducting the Test Sessions

Have the participants interact with the prototype, complete tasks, and provide feedback while being observed by the researcher and Wizard. The Wizard simulates the system's functionality and responds to the user's actions.

8

Collecting Data

Gather qualitative and quantitative data, such as task completion rates, error rates, feedback, and time taken. Use methods like observation, interviews, and think-aloud protocol to understand the user's experience and emotions during the test.

9

Analyzing and Reporting Results

Analyze the data collected to uncover any trends, patterns, and areas of improvement. Summarize the findings and provide recommendations or potential design changes to address issues faced by users during the test.

10

Iterating and Retesting

Make adjustments to the interface based on the findings and recommendations, and repeat the Wizard of Oz process if necessary to ensure that the changes have addressed the issues and improved the user experience.

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