Prezi, as a presentation startup offered many opportunities around the product when I joined. Along with separate desktop, web, and mobile versions, it has collaboration features and a unique interaction model. Instead of slides, it offers an infinite, zoomable canvas. This is a difficult problem space to design for, and also provides many challenges in user research, especially in usability testing. We had to experiment a lot with test methodology to understand the shifts in the mental models of the users, and their “aha” moments.

testing the prezi editor testing the business sign up flow mobile testing
Testing in various contexts, with various methods.

We realized early that we not only need frequent user sessions, but we have to have weekly recurring tests to understand how each interaction change impacts the overall experience. This means hundreds of user sessions in the team (and along them for me) improving our testing practice together. Since editing a prezi takes lots of creativity, we operated with open tasks to not limit the participants’ intentions, which made facilitation difficult and made us think a lot about how each word biased the users’ later actions.

I learned a lot about facilitation and also about different methods for testing products. We used at least a few times among others paper prototyping, eye tracking, remote tests, unmoderated tests, retrospective tests, 5-second tests, card sorting, diary studies, wizard of Oz, guerilla testing, and contextual tests. Plus to get this many participants all imaginable methods for recruiting. Finally to have an impact with all these insights lots of ways of getting info to the product team, like newsletters, mini talks, comics, t-shirts, and posters