You may have noticed that setting up a test for your community requires some structure. Our platform asks for session amount and time per session, but you may want something a little more flexible or "Free Form".
We understand that this is needed sometimes, so have included some key tips to facilitate this and help you test as you may have done in the past.
We would also recommend considering if a structured approach (as the platform operates) may provide you with what you need too! This is usually the best approach to user testing for multiple reasons. More on this after the tips.
NOTE: In the future we aim to provide more options to test with your participants, but for now, the advice below should help if needed!
To provide the most flexibility to your Participants, think about the following;
Communicate clear, flexible goals with your Participants.
We recommend having a goal in mind when setting up a test but allowing for variables in participant skill and capability.
For example, if you want them to play for 3 hours, please tell them so, but also let them know that if it takes them longer to meet your objective, that's fine!
Allow plenty of time per session to ensure the Participants can complete the test.
We often see that, with the best intentions, developers can underestimate how long an objective can take to complete.
Consider that participants can massively vary in skill and capability. They may require additional time to reach a goal for several reasons. This doesn't mean they are the wrong audience.
Think about the maximum play time per session
Our Platform states the Maximum session length is 120 mins per Participant; however, this is not a hard restriction.
Participants can play longer, but we have found that 120 mins is the maximum time we would recommend.
Based on our experience, this helps the consistency of data and feedback when running tests and ensures progression occurs at as close to the same rate as possible.
For example, if you have one session at 120 mins and another at 320 minutes, it may be difficult to compare participant progression without some extra manual work.
Consider using a third-party Survey Delivery system.
You may find that using another survey platform, such as Alchemer or Survey Monkey, will allow you more control.
It can be difficult to assess what point a Participant will reach with varying session lengths, and our platform serves the survey at the end of each session.
A third-party delivery means that you can ensure that surveys are delivered at the correct progression point to best support your research.
Think about the use of Tasks and whether appropriate for your test.
As above, it can be difficult to forecast how far a Participant will progress in their session.
This means that you may be unable to provide them with tasks using the inbuilt system at the right time.
If you have specific tasks, we recommend an external method of communication, such as email, with clear instructions.
For example, "When you reach X point, please perform Y task."
Remember the maximum time per test is 60 Hours per Participant.
If you feel it may take longer than this to complete your objective, you may need to consider restructuring or splitting the test.
For example, you could have it set that the Participants complete a portion of the game in their first test and then start at that objective point in their second test.
As mentioned above, it's worth considering using the platform as it operates and adopting a more structured test setup.
We've found that more structure in the setup allows for considerably more accurate data analysis.
Keeping sessions to a set length, providing surveys at the right time, allowing them to complete tasks, or simply keeping them on track with clear communication through the system they use to take part in the test can all assist in keeping your research consistent and data in line!
We understand that Free Form testing is often required in later development stages, but would always recommend a structured approach for the best results.
We hope this helps with your test setup; if you have any questions or would like to chat with someone, feel free to reach out to us via the chat function at the bottom right of this page or via email@example.com.
Good Luck with Testing!