How do you communicate a testing protocol?


How do you communicate a testing protocol?

I got a spec for a testing protocol this week. My job was to read it and then string together a number of screens so testers could click through a work-flow. It was basically a spread sheet with a line (vaguely) describing which screen a user was on, followed by a line (vaguely) describing what the CTAs were be.

My first reaction was to realize that there are about 60 different screens we developed and what someone calls a particular screen might not match up with how it is presented in our ‘playbook’, which might not match what developers or designers are calling it. Everyone has a different mental model of how the whole thing works, based upon what they may have worked on, or domain knowledge. So my first task was to then actually get everyone to commit to what specific file they were referencing. Time wasted, IMO.

This just seems like a really inefficient way of communicating this information, from researchers, to designers, to developers. Are there tools out there to better present this information? Or, even we’re going to stick with a spreadsheet, is there a better way to communicate what I received?

I should mention I’m a programmer/implementer, and not a researcher, but I’m trying to learn more about the field and offer what I can from the perspective of a programmer.


I don’t know if this is directly on point to your question, but have you considered creating flow diagrams using static wireframes? Each diagram would illustrate a critical piece of core functionality like the onboarding process, or how to access help etc etc.

Now the testing protocol can be simply be to ask you to prototype a particular flow perhaps with a few modifications.


I’d like to keep as lean as possible and avoid having designers create digital assets like that. I’d prefer to utilize some sort of tool, but I’m starting to think such a thing does not exist.

Ideally, it would describe the workflow, CTAs, and corresponding information regarding the actual file name (like a URL), and maybe a code to reference to the step. I’m starting to think that a spreadsheet is the only option.

This whole spreadsheet method sounds simple enough, but I’m struggling with the fact that the client, the designers, and the developers all seem to be operating from different mental models and it is very difficult to communicate all of these details and to keep everyone on same page.


Actually what I’m describing is a very standard UX approach to show workflows and before prototyping…here’s one of my favorites done by @fireupman who works at Google. I think you will see that the whole idea is that it keeps, as you said, “everyone on the same page”


Wow. That’s nice. Thanks for sharing. The first thing that jumps out is having each screen labeled as something really clear and obvious like “B6”. That alone would be helpful.


haha I thought you’d like it!


@maadonna might have some recommendations here.

I wonder if more traditional data or object mapping tools would work?


@SteveCrow: What tool generated that image you posted?


@edhertzog I don’t know but I suspect Adobe Illustrator