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Usability-Testing Software

We would like to record some early usability tests which include both screen and user (face/hands) and potentially other metrics as well (clicks, mouse-tracking). We'd like to avoid hiring a pro testing manager (nothing against the profession) and instead build this capability in house.
Has anyone a strong recommendation for or against off-the-shelf utilities, like Morae or Silverback?

4 Replies

Jeff Axup
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Jeff Axup Entrepreneur
Sr. Manager, Palo Alto UX Design Research Group at Bosch
Morae is good but expensive (we used it at my last company), also heard good things about Silverback.
If you are going to be doing testing yourself I would strongly encourage you to start low-fidelity before moving to high-fidelity. Timing and metrics aren't necessarily useful unless you know the underlying causes for them.
You can do basic paper prototype testing for very cheap and it's often faster as well.
Also, the online testing (usertesting.com) might be simpler depending on the type of product.
Also definitely check out Balsamiq for prototyping.

Peter Swearengen
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Peter Swearengen Entrepreneur
Director of Product Strategy at Originate
That's useful, thanks. We are well-past paper prototype and are really about to enter a friends and family beta. We have folks in-house with prior experience running user testing, but with more resources than a startup =) The idea is to have some additional, controlled, testing in parallel with the small launch, to corroborate the feedback we get from first-time users. Silverback's website says they are rebuilding their product after Apple disabled their method of accessing the built-in camera. We'll probably go with that product for the price unless someone tells us using the external camera is a fail.
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Entrepreneur
Hi Peter, I'm not sure how much experience your team has with running user testing, but sometimes a little help from a pure expert goes a long way. When it comes to usabiilty, sometimes a little knowledge hurts a lot because there's so much you can inadvertently say or do that primes the test participant or otherwise distorts true behavior. This often leads to the wrong observations and leads you in entirely the wrong direction. I've seen some horrible outcomes from user testing.

Even if you hire someone for 1-2 hours to look over your approach and/or script, it can make all the difference. Again, I don't know the background of your team and you may have some HCI wizards, but I thought I'd share just in case this wasn't the case.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Best,
Julie
Viktor Dmytrenko
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Digital Marketing Manager at Ubertesters
You could try Ubertesters. We provide the following types of testing:
- Usabilitytesting
- Loadtesting
- Localization testing
- Functionaltesting and much more
Siarhei Harbachou
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Siarhei Harbachou Entrepreneur
Looking around
You can try to search cheap testers on "monkey job" sites.
sometimes their job costs 1$ per hour.
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