Testing the prototype
The broadband monitor was designed to meet user needs we'd identified during our research. We tested the final prototype to find out the parts of it that resonated most strongly and where there was still room for improvement.
As with our early prototypes, testing came in two forms. The first was sharing links with members of the CHOICE community, using questions to get feedback on the designs. The second involved lab sessions in which one of our team would sit with a person using the prototype, asking them open questions about their experience and expectations of such a service.
In both cases, the research findings were used as evidence to help the design team iterate the broadband monitor.
Making things clear
The interface was generally well received. People felt the performance issues were explained simply and clearly, with enough context to help them resolve problems or get more help.
"It takes all the guessing away"
We consistently heard that this kind of information would be useful. Even if people might not take any steps to proactively improve their connection, they still felt the information would help them understand what's going on.
Some said that the simple headlines might lead to confusion, and that more context is needed to support the number.
"41% of what? Speed? connection?"
People also told us they'd like more information based on longer-term data. Connection quality over the last month, for instance, or times of day their internet connection tends to work best.
Showing context about the local area
A lot of people appreciated having context about the quality of the internet connection where they live.
"It makes me feel like I’m not the only one"
This part of the service also provoked an emotional reaction in some of the people we tested it with. They were annoyed about connection problems, but also felt they'd be able to do very little to make a difference. It felt 'out of their hands'. Similarly, some people were cynical about the value of writing to a local MP or asking for help from the network provider.
People also appreciated that the service gave them clear actions.
"These are things I’d be thinking anyway but I like that I get the option to do something"
"I want to feel part of the process"
A few people said they want the service to do more: to fix problems itself, if it can.
The guidance around security had a mixed response. When people had small actions to do, like remove a device from the network, they said they'd probably use it to see if it made a difference. But they still wanted a bit more context when it came to doing things like changing the settings of their Wi-Fi router.
"Why are default passwords unsafe?"
"I hate changing my password because I never remember it"
Developing the service
Finally, a suggestion that came up a few times was that the service should be available as an app. We'd built the prototype with CHOICE's touchscreen router in mind, but a lot of people said they'd want to be able to use it on their phone or laptop too.