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More on Remote Usability, Affordably

How to get MORE (and faster and cheaper) USABILITY TESTINGAs I have mentioned before, there are a few good options for remote usability testing, and all of them are more affordable than xxOf course, we do regular usability testing at Cisco. But one of the challenges we have is that it takes time to recruit users and set up tests, so we can only test functions in big “batches” a couple of times per quarter. Other companies are in the same boat: They continue to do usability testing (well, except for Apple), and remote usability testing via tools like WebEx is definitely a trend. The challenge is this: As the demand for more scientific designs increases, companies need to turn around tests faster and do more of them. Fortunately, newly emergent on the scene are extremely inexpensive services that allow you to test multiple users quickly with a video as an output. “UserTesting.com” offers this service for 15 minute tests at $19/person (see caveats below). Colin Hynes from Staples, which has a research and testing staff, has started using these quick inexpensive tests to answer quick questions and settle debates. He told a story of how Staples hosted some new designs to test on UserTesting.com at 5 PM and videotaped tests from 25 users by 8 PM that same day. Someone on the Staples.com user experience staff had to analyze the videos, but it still cut about 2 weeks out of the typical recruiting and testing cycle. You can also use this as an easy way to test other sites (e.g. Cisco could test users reactions and impressions on HPs networking and data center areas, for instance). Here are some slides that Colin Hynes provided to us about this and other alternative testing possibilities: http://ework.cisco.com/Livelink/livelink.exe?func=ll&objId=36984308&objAction=Open Cisco take and next steps: Janet Wallin is going to experiment with a couple of fast-turn remote tests like this. These by no means replace our traditional lab-based and WebEx-based testing, but might provide faster results to simple questions and may save money on facilitation time. http://www.usertesting.com/index.aspx?Price=19Caveats for UserTesting.com:· You still need to hire an expert to analyze the tests. For instance, since we don’t have a dedicated user web usability research staff we would rely on Abbot Usability or a similar firm. But it would still save many days . · Users still need to be recruited, so there can be recruiting costs. Generic recruiting is available from an existing large pool of users at the site. If you want special users types (e.g. Cisco Partners) you have to recruit these yourself. For the Mac: Silverback for the Mac… http://silverbackapp.com/

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