Usability testing is the best way to figure out what does and does not work about your product or service. However, you can’t just leave people alone in a room and come back in an hour and ask them how it was. After an hour-long session, participants will have trouble remembering all of their thoughts.
If your goal is to accurately evaluate a usability test, you need to do two things: have participants think out loud, and record the session on video. Having participants think out loud while testing a product helps you understand their thought process. This is a moderating technique referred to as Concurrent Think Aloud (CTA).
Without CTA, you won’t get accurate feedback. For example, say ten people are engaging in a usability test for a new triangular Rubik’s Cube and you notice seven people are frustrated. Do you know why they’re frustrated? Frustration is part of solving Rubik’s Cube, but if participants are frustrated because they can’t easily move the pieces, that’s a problem you’ll only notice by getting people to talk. If you’re not video recording the session, you may not notice in the moment that all seven people are frustrated for the same reason.
Video enhances assessment accuracy
A good companion to CTA is capturing a video recording of each session so you can review both actions and thoughts as they occurred. Video enables you to review your sessions multiple times to catch details you didn’t notice in the moment. Continuing with the Rubik’s Cube example, you might review a session three times before noticing a frustrated participant struggle to move the pieces. If you didn’t notice the struggle in person, reviewing a video multiple times is the only way you’ll notice the problem.
If your goal is to make it easy for people to use your product, you need to record your sessions with a professional digital video system like the VALT system from Intelligent Video Solutions. Instead of trying to piece together an iPhone setup, a professional IP video system makes it easy. The VALT system offers lightweight cameras and microphones with fixed and moveable cameras to capture multiple angles of your testing sessions. All videos are stored encrypted in the cloud, and you only need a browser to review them.
If you need to perform testing off site, you can run an application on your smartphone or tablet that will automatically upload your video to the main server when you return to your home base.
Without video documentation, you run the risk of missing important details about usability that will come out later in the form of customer complaints.
How accurate are your usability tests?
Whether your product is physical or digital, accurate usability testing is crucial to your success. You need to know if your product fulfils your intended purpose.
While software companies can generate accurate feedback through automated testing, most products require human input. To obtain the most accurate feedback, you need to review your testing sessions from multiple angles. For example:
- Behavioral. How do participants act when they interact with your product? Are you tracking their eyes? Monitoring the chemistry reactions in their body?
- Attitudinal. This data can be obtained from the process of Concurrent Think Aloud. What are participants beliefs as they interact with your product? Do they seem pleased, frustrated, or confused? What are they expressing?
- Quantitative data collection. This form of data collection gathers data that can be formulated into statistics. For example, you might notice three out of ten people react the same way to one aspect of your product. This data is important, and reviewing a video is the best way to gather these details.
- Qualitative data collection. This form of data collection involves directly observing participants’ reactions to your product or service. With a video recording of each session, you can review the reactions multiple times to make sure you don’t miss anything.
While all the above methods are separate testing and data collection methods, when you record your testing sessions, you can actually implement all of them to some degree.
Video will help you bring in the big bucks
The bottom line is that usability testing is crucial for customer satisfaction and product success. According to Forbes.com, many successful corporations credit usability testing for their success including Amazon, Airbnb, and IBM. Good user experience is great for business, and if you want to take your business to the next level, your usability testing process needs a level of accuracy only video can provide.
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