Setting up a usability lab on a budget

14 Jun 2008 - 1:50pm
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Using a laptop, small Logitech camera and Camtasia 5 software (less
expensive than Morae). I¹ve had good results setting up in users offices or
conference rooms. It¹s fairly informal and I get to observe their working
environment and use of the product in context. It¹s also less disruptive to
their workday.

I¹ve found users are really enthusiastic to have someone listen to their
concerns and pain points about the product and often have good suggestions
for improvements.

I tailor the welcome script to the organization and inform user about the
video and how it will be used, along with a release that I have them sign.
In the rare case where a user declines to be videoed, I just turn off the
camera function. I usually explain the reasoning behind the recording and
most users understand. Keeping users talking aloud (and loud enough) is
another small problem, but usually the audio quality is acceptable

The only problems I¹ve run into is getting access to some corporate
intranets. I try to do a dry run a day or so before the test to make sure I
can get on.
I spend a bit of time going over the raw footage and in some cases edit it
with Camtasia for highlight video to show stakeholders. It¹s always more
effective when the team and stakeholders hear it directly from users.

Good Luck!


Mark Hoffman Associates, Inc.
User Experience & Communication Design

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