As we’ve said before, one of the most important benefits of software prototyping is the early ability to conduct usability testing.

The truth of the matter is that no one will use your product if it’s not easy and intuitive or if it doesn’t solve a problem that users have in the first place.

The easiest way to make sure your software project meets these requirements is with usability testing, and the most effective way to implement usability testing early in the development process is with a prototype.

Cisco: Usability Testing for User Experience

We worked with Cisco’s developer program group to craft a new, more immersive user experience for Cisco DevNet, their developer resources website.

The Challenge

The depth and breadth of content on DevNet had spawned hundreds of micro-sites with different organizational structures and navigation paradigms. Existing visitors to the site would only visit a few specific pages and were never exposed to newly released tools and technologies. Also, new visitors struggled to discover where to begin or how to find the resources most relevant to them.

Enter ClickModel ℠ Usability Testing

Cisco wanted to implement a new user experience to the homepage of DevNet in order to make it easier to dive from the homepage deep within the site’s resources to find information on a particular tool or technology. We were charged with prototyping the proposed user experience so that Cisco could conduct usability testing with developer focus groups.

At Praxent, prototyping the user experience allows stakeholders and users to give feedback before the software development process begins.

The Confidence to Move Forward with Development

The ClickModel prototype prompted insightful feedback from the developer focus groups regarding both the proposed information architecture and the priority and placement of various navigational elements on the homepage and subsequent interior landing pages.

The prototype also made it easier to collect feedback on the utility of a proposed color-coding scheme for sorting resources into major technology categories.

This feedback and testing allowed Cisco’s DevNet project to course correct in the Structure, Skeleton, and Surface areas before they spent significant money building in the wrong direction.
Cisco took their ClickModel in-house and moved forward decisively and with confidence to create better resources for the developer community. runs developer programs for some of the world’s largest technology and telecoms companies. We rely on our partner Praxent who understands our business, our clients, the developer’s needs, and are able to articulate that into a portal design that is easy to navigate and understand, with the foresight to create an infrastructure that allows for untethered growth. The design team is a pleasure to work with, quickly comprehending our needs and converting that to tangible deliverables, on time and always outstanding.

— Steve Glagow, Executive Vice President •

NORCAL: Responsive Data Displays with Usability Testing

In the wake of a corporate merger, NORCAL was looking to build an online portal for their insurance brokers to review their book of business and track which policyholders were behind on payments.

Their billing department was inundated with phone inquiries from brokers who needed information about specific policyholder accounts, and it was hindering their ability to attend to important billing tasks.

The Challenge

Since NORCAL’s insurance brokers are constantly on the go, it was crucial that the proposed portal not just be accessible by mobile smartphones and tablet, but that it be optimized specifically for use on those devices.

A native app solution was discussed, but NORCAL determined early on that they wanted to invest in a responsive web application that could be accessed on desktops and mobile devices by both their internal teams and brokers in the field.

ClickModel to the Rescue

The primary user experience challenge tackled during the ClickModel ℠ engagement was how to display complex data tables in a way that would be equally useful on large screen desktop computers as well as handheld smartphone screens.

Since multitouch smartphone devices don’t have cursors, they can’t display information using hover states like a desktop computer can.

During the ClickModel process, we prototyped various on- and off-screen methods of data interaction displays for NORCAL’s team to review and test.

Praxent prototypes the user experience across smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop devices to arrive at a responsive web design that works in various contexts.

The ability to experience the clickable, tappable prototype on both desktop and mobile devices gave NORCAL crucial insight to determine what pieces of data were most essential to be displayed on the smaller smartphone screens and which additional data fields would be displayed only on desktop screens.

The ClickModel iterative prototyping process provided a clear-cut way for stakeholders from billing, marketing, and engineering to communicate effectively about the user experience. This led to important consensus and direction regarding feature requirements and scope.

Next Step

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of having a prototype that looks, feels and acts real, learn how our ClickModel process also leads to reliable project estimates as you move forward with the development process.

Learn more about ClickModel

Our “see-it-before-you-build-it” ux prototyping approach