I'm preparing a user test that will be run remotely. After letting the user try out the prototype there would be a set of questions.

I'm curious when referring to the prototype the participant just tied, how should it be best phrased (in normal non-ux people language)

  1. From the previous experience..
  2. As you went through the flow..
  • There's no right or wrong here really, just do it as you feel better. If you want to be really formal about it, do a micro A-B test with the two variants ;)
    – mapto
    Oct 6, 2020 at 8:21
  • i'm asking this because I think words like 'flow' and 'experience' are specific to the industry and normal people wouldn't understand them when we test prototypes on them.
    – Blue Ocean
    Oct 6, 2020 at 8:39
  • experience is a pretty generic word. flow might be a bit less self-explanatory. You can also opt for something like the more generic "from what you saw/did" (experienced comes to mind again :) )
    – mapto
    Oct 6, 2020 at 8:44

2 Answers 2


Be consistent: if you call it prototype in the beginning, call it prototype in the following questions

Don't use ux jargon: experience is fine, flow not so much

Explain that in a "user test" you are testing the software/website and not the user. So you would always refer back to "test" and to "software/website", as in:

When you tried out the website for us, what was the first thing you noticed?


I agree with commenter mapto that “experience” and “flow” are rather vague in the vernacular. I recommend using terms specific and concrete for your application and the users’ tasks. For example, if your app toasts marshmallows, then you can ask:

  1. From all the previous times you toasted marshmallows…
  2. As you toasted your marshmallows this time…

To answer the question you didn’t ask but almost sounds like you did, I would again use specific terms for the prototype, e.g, “this marshmallow toaster.” Whether you call it an “app,” “program,” “website” or “software” depends on your users and the terms they use, something you may have noticed in earlier research. At one site I’ve worked, users called a particular web app “the portal.”

However, I often in instructions refer to the app in a usability test as “prototype” mostly because, to lots of people, a “prototype” is something like an experimental aircraft, and I find it useful to invoke that as a metaphor. I even tell users, "You are our test pilots.” It emphasizes that we’re testing the app's performance, not the users’ knowledge or skill, and that we want their feedback.

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