Using paper prototypes to test frequency and number of text messages


I am putting together a test plan for usability testing using paper prototypes of our mobile text message system. I keep getting the request to inquire about the frequency and number of text messages that we are proposing to send. Now, I know you can’t ask users how many texts is too much or too little or show them our proposed schedule and ask if it looks OK because it is out -of -context.

My question is how do you test if the frequency and number of text messages sent is OK, too much, or too little when conducting cognitive interviewing or during paper prototype testing?

Any ideas?

My gut tells me we won’t be able to test that until the 12 week trial where the system is live and integrated into users’ lives. But I am hoping to be proven wrong.


I don’t know any standard of what’s too much/little, as it depends on the relationships between the source and audience. Marketing can be a bit draining, so fewer is the rule. But if it’s a coach and client on a specific goal, you can get away with quite a lot of communication. Also, if people are being held accountable, and meeting someone face to face after a period of automated messages, they’ll be more engaged in the program overall, so it all depends on the nature of what you’re building.

It’s probably a good idea to ask your users during any testing to get a ballpark, and then aim to refine it, by watching adherence/dropout, after your first beta launch.