I am working on a product that has a quite typical setup when it comes to enterprise software: it is usually connected to the Active Directory of the origanization and authenticates its users against it and fetches their group membership information from it. The permissions within the products are assigned to the groups that come from AD. For tiny installations and in test scenarios it is possible to add local users and groups but in production usage it is almost always integrated with Active Directory.

We are planning on making some pretty significant changes in how permission settings can be made and the mockups for the changes tested well when local users & groups were used. We would now like to see if the interface works well in a more realistic scenario when the product is connected to AD and we have thousands of users and groups.

I was wondering on whether you have any experience or insight on how to do users tests in such a situation. Creating and maintaining a fake, internet-facing AD installation seems to be an overkill for this purpose and also cause problems during the test as well as it'd be impossible to connect the real AD with the wireframe we want to test. Creating a mock AD user management interface would also take tons of time and would probably still be quite far from how that UI works normally.

Do you have any experience with this or more generally speaking on doing wireframe tests of systems that are normally connected to large, complex external systems in production?

  • Are you only fetching data, or editing (CRUD) as well? Aug 28 '18 at 16:52
  • We only fetch data from the external systems in this scope. We do have CRUD on the interface though for local settings -- in fact, that's what we want to test. Aug 29 '18 at 8:03
  • It sounds like you guys are just getting away from the MVP concept. You want to do real user testing using MVP prototypes? Isn't using the real data trying to test your system more than a UI usability test?
    – moot
    Aug 29 '18 at 11:25
  • I don't want to use actual real data, but I want to test with realistic data and also with an at least somewhat realistic environment. An interface that works well with 10 elements is completely different than what works for thousands of elements at the same place. If the user in real life has to switch to a separate interface as part of his workflow, I'd like to simulate that somehow because without that I won't understand their needs and problems. I'm just struggling to find an efficient way to do that. Aug 29 '18 at 11:58

Most of the prototyping tools available these days allow you to create realistic and interactive prototypes without coding.

So assuming that you have the default and alternate workflows mapped out, and know what the look & feel is for your AD implementation (which is going to be standard Microsoft style anyway) then it shouldn't bee too hard to create prototypes suitable for user testing.

This is even true for testing dummy data as prototyping tools such as Axure will allow you to simulate some of these interaction (and other tools as well).

There are also sandboxes being provided in developer portals or API sites that probably allow you to simulate the interactions without having to build a working prototype from scratch, but that's outside the scope of this question.

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