The Wizard of Oz (WOZ) test involves one or more individuals simulating fully functioning product features without the use of technology.
The Wizard of Oz (WOZ) test involves one or more individuals simulating fully functioning product features without the use of technology. All inputs, outputs, and algorithms are performed manually by humans, but without the knowledge of the customer. This allows entrepreneurs to test a complete solution and gain accurate customer feedback without the cost of building a complex, fully automated solution. It is often confused with Concierge Testing.
The WOZ test is a well-known experiment from the 1970s. It involves one or more humans, so-called wizards, who manually simulate the functionality of a product. However, the wizards are hidden so that the user does not know that someone is manually doing the work.
WOZ is not a "quick and dirty" prototyping method, as it requires a high commitment of resources. Depending on the test, there can be more than one wizard interacting "behind the curtains" with the customers. The time commitment also heavily depends on the task domain and the number of users exposed to the product. For instance, categorizing images by a wizard is easier and faster than transcribing voice for speech recognition. Hence the time commitment can vary from days to several weeks.
The WOZ test can provide valuable information, especially quantitative data. You can also gather information about the nature of interaction with your product. Summarize all observations and use the insights to adjust your solution accordingly.