Alpha is about prototyping, testing hypotheses and experimentation. The purpose of Alpha is to determine how to meet the user needs that were identified in Discovery.
The main activity in Alpha is to test hypotheses by building prototypes.
Alpha prototypes are like a proof of concept. They help you to test your understanding of the service. They will show if you have included the most important and meaningful steps the users take when going through the service.
Test with users using paper prototypes first. As you learn from your user research, work up to testing with interactive HTML prototypes.
In Alpha you need to:
- work directly with end users and stakeholders to co-create solutions
- build multiple prototypes of the service
- continuously test prototypes with users
- demonstrate that the service is technically and financially feasible
- estimate how much the service will cost
- identify existing processes or policies that will need to change to support the service
At the end of Alpha, the goal is to have defined a minimum viable product that can be built and more broadly tested in Beta. The minimum viable product will be the first working implementation of a service. It is the quickest and simplest version of a service with just enough features to meet basic user needs and provide value.
By the end of Alpha, expect to have:
- thoroughly tested prototypes that demonstrate the design of the service
- a clear vision for the service that will be built in Beta
- a plan and prioritized list of features or user stories to be completed in Beta
- a clear understanding of the technology that will be used to support the service
- an understanding of how to design an accessible service
- set some metrics to measure your service’s success