Rapid iterative testing and evaluation or RITE is a technique that has been around in one form or another for some time.
Calling it RITE is a relatively new thing and a formalised methodology now exists as trialled by Microsoft.
Foolproof have been using it aggressively on a number of projects recently and quite frankly, it’s awesome. Deployed in the right circumstances considerable time can be saved in site development from the stage where a conceptual prototype has been created to the point of hand off to design and build.
Essentially the prototype is exposed to respondents in a research environment and then iterated by design, developers and stakeholders based on the feedback and interpretation of the associated research issues. So how is that any different from a normal UCD process? Well cycles are run every two days!:
Day 1 Research – Day 2 Iterate – Day 3 Research – Day 4 Iterate – Day 5 Research – and so on.
Minor bugs and changes can be done on the fly during the research day. The big stuff can be worked on in the iteration day. Essentially the prototype is honed so the last research day is practically validation.
The success of this methodology depends on three key items:
- That the prototype is built in an environment where changes can be easily made (Axure, Visio, Balsamiq etc)
- That the prototype has been built in a UCD process to this point
- That the core team can be co-located for the duration of RITE research – This is key as decisions need to be made on the spot to classify and fix issues
It is not a methodology for the faint-hearted and the environment must be carefully controlled but when it can save months off a build or development program it’s clearly worth the effort.