User test a complicated product or feature without actually building it by pulling strings behind the curtain

👥 4 or 6 people | ⏰ from 1 to 2 hours | 💪🏼 medium effort


Give the impression of full functionality by faking certain interactions behind the scenes in order to gauge demand or test the value of your product or feature.

How is it done?

When a fully-functional prototype is too costly or time-consuming to build, you can fake parts of the experience using hard-coded data or a man-behind-the-curtain.

This kind of test only works on a small scale, but can be invaluable to learn how customers or testers — who believe they are using a real product — would really interact with your product if it were fully built.

For example, to test a search function, there might be a team member behind the scenes hand-picking search results or rewriting the query based on what the tester searches for, to determine what kind of filtering, results, or sort order provides most value.