Now that Sam has the presentations set up, it is time to find out if the presentation meets the needs of the intended audience.
Just as you must practice a presenter-led presentation in front of a test audience, you need to find some guinea pigs to test the kiosk presentation. Just because it makes sense to you, doesn't mean it will make sense to them.
In Sam's case, two sets of testers are needed. First, we need a set of typical employees to test the presentation. Next, we need to have representative from Benefits test the presentation.
The employees need to test to make sure they can navigate easily in the presentations, they understand how to use the presentation without someone standing there to help them and the information includes what they want to know. This group will do creative testing. They will be just playing around with the presentation to find out everything they can about the new benefits package and to ensure they can do what they need without getting lost. This group should also be surveyed to make sure the messages the kiosk presentations convey is what the Benefits department wanted to give.
The Benefits representative will do more formalized testing. He should help ensure the content and links for the departments part of the presentation work correctly. He needs to make sure what the employees see is what they should see and the takeaway messages are appropriate.
The testers Sam's second set of eyes. She is ultimately responsible for ensuring everything is right, but may be too close to the project to see problems.
Between the two groups, Sam should also make sure every link is tested . By having someone else test the links, no preconceived notions about what is supposed to happen on a specific slide gets in the way of seeing what really happens.
The final test is a verification of the help file. The test groups should be asked if the help is clear, complete and understandable.
To do the testing, Sam should copy the entire set of presentations from her development computer to another one. By doing the testing away from Sam's computer, a number of things can be caught that wouldn't be otherwise
If something doesn't get moved to the testing computer, it will show when testing occurs. If the testing is done on Sam's machine, missing content won't necessarily show.
If a link is broken, it is better to find it during testing than after the kiosks have been made public. If Sam didn't set up her links properly, running the presentations on the test computer will show it right away. Testing at Sam's machine would never reveal these errors.
Sam won't be there. If the testing is done on Sam's computer, Sam will be right there, tempted to explain things. By moving the testing to a different system, the testers will get information only from the presentation. The testers should note their problems for Sam to correct.
Because the presentations were developed on Sam's computer, as the links are followed they will change color just like they do on web pages. On the test computer, the only links will show as having been followed are the ones clicked during testing.
I believe informal testing should be done early and often. From the first point where pieces of the presentation are available, it is a good idea to have an independent set of eyes looking at things regularly to catch anything Sam misses.
Formal testing should begin when Sam believes the presentation is ready for public use. It will probably take two or three rounds of testing to get everything the way everyone wants it. The general order of the testing should be
Sam puts the presentation and all associated files on the test computer and does a quick sanity check
The Benefits representative does his testing and reports results to Sam
If there were a lot of comments and changes, Sam makes the changes, puts a clean copy of the presentation and all associated files on the test computer. Then the interested parties test again
When the Benefits representative is satisfied with the presentation, Sam re-loads the presentation on the computer for the employee group to test
The employee group tests the presentation and reports back to Sam
Repeat these steps as needed until the presentation is ready for public use
If anyone other than Sam is going to do the installation or distribution of the presentation files, the installation/distribution process needs to be documented and tested as well
When everyone is in agreement the presentation is ready for the public, all files should be placed on each computer. Double-check all final files have been included. Then, Sam can throw a party the project is done!