Usability testing technology

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The usability testing tools we use at Usability247 usability testing technology used by usability247

Usability testing of Responsive Web Design is one of our main areas of interest. If you are not familiar with the term responsive web design (RWD) is a philosophy and technology for creating websites that adapt to the interface they are being viewed from. This is a fairly challenging process and requires considerable thought, not only at design level but also business requirements and objectives.

As a result websites that use RWD need just as much usability testing as any other site and in many ways more. In order to make sure we can provide the picture in picture video our clients demand we need a method for collecting video not only on the PC but also on tablet and smartphone. This is what we decided to use.

Smartphone and tablet usability testing video capture software

We carry out usability testing on Android, iOS and windows mobile devices but in the UK by far and away the most popular choice from clients is the iPhone. If we were testing smartphone or tablet apps we would have to use a piece of kit that supports two web cams, one pointing at the user and the other at the screen and Ovo Solo (see below) to capture the video source. But for website usability testing in smartphone and tablet we use an App.

The App we use is called UX Recorder and is available only for iOS currently. It has the following features that are worth highlighting:

  • It uses the smartphone or tablets’ own camera to capture the participant’s facial expressions
  • The microphone captures what they are saying
  • The app captures where the user swipes or presses
  • There are good options such as whether to capture the keyboard strokes or not – useful if you are usability testing an end to end purchase process.

The app presents a browser which is then used to navigate to the website being tested. The browser acts like the iphone’s own browser although the performance is impacted slightly and more so on the iphone than ipad. The download speed of a heavy website can appear quite slow at times although in many ways this is quite relevant when testing RWD websites on a smartphone as performance is a key issue. We have been known to run a couple of participants without recording them to check that there is no impact on behaviour and rarely is there.

The video files are transferred to your PC using iTunes and it is a fairly painless process. The video file format is H.364-encoded.MOV and easily edited, even in Windows Movie Maker.

PC usability testing

We have covered this in detail in a separate blog post but worth mentioning again is Ovo Solo. We use this for app testing, because it allows for two web cams to be used, and for usability testing of websites on a PC. It is a really good piece of software and costs only $99 – a fraction of the cost of something like Morae.

Ovo Solo’s key features are:

  • It is easy to set up
  • It sits in the background whilst running usability testing sessions so there is no impact on performance that I have noticed.
  • Video files are really easy to handle as they are produced in a windows media format
  • The software has a ‘Highlights’ capability that enables tagging during the usability testing session with a simple click of the mouse so that clips can be created very efficiently.

 

Both pieces of technology are just software of course and so they need to be set up properly to get the best from them. In both cases we have found them easy to configure and use and been very happy with results.

If you need to have really good picture in picture video as part of your usability testing deliverables we can show you examples of the output quality we get from these tools.

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