mobile usability research techniques and tips

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  • 1. device usability testing techniquesWalt Buchan - July 20121

2. The goal for mobile device testing has been to recreate the desktop usability testing and record the screen of the device. Typically this has meant mounting the device on a sled with a webcam, or t wo, to video the screen and the participants face. 2 3. That struck me as the wrong approach. Like putting a participant under a microscope. We know that people use phones and tablets anytime, anywhere, anyhow. I wanted to get testing closer to that ideal, real environment of use. 3 4. Something where theparticipant is as unimpeded byrecording equipment andtechnology as possible.But without the cat. 4 5. The technique needed to acknowledges the revolution in usage that phones and tablets have achieved. No more do you have to sit at a desk on an office chair in room on your own. Now you can watch TV at the same time too. 5 6. Wait a minute, the guys that are paying for the testing still want to watch the test and sleds allowed that But using a sled creates an opportunity to video the screen and the participants hands. Now we can see how they physically use the phone too. 6 7. No sled here, just a camerasuspended over the areawhere the participant willuse the phone.Now they can pick the deviceup, put it down, switch tolandscape and back. Notingto impede their usage. Andthe clients can still watch thestreamed video of the test.7 8. How to record a mobile user test 8 9. cxpartners first mobile phonetest rig back in 2007 DV/HDMI .Cameras are great as theyhave optical zoom and fixedfocus.Webcams, unfortunately,appear to autofocus on humanskin not shiny screens. Thatmakes videoing people usingphones very difficult.9 10. Capture a contextual video. Theusability kit in development, this kitcan be used without the table in usertesting sessions.Kit includes: DV cam Microphone stand EasyCap capture card (Windows and OSXcompatible) Use the EasyCap soft ware to record thetest session Mirror the computer screen via VGA toan external monitor for clients10 11. Other ideas to get that video qualitytip top. Use black sugar paper or photographersvelvet to reduce white balance problems use phones with black cases, if possible anti-reflective sticky screens for thephone to cut the glare indirect lighting 11 12. Alternatively use a document camera. The lower quality of the camera means the participant will lose flexibility of use. 13. Wish list - The Note-Taker system using a Point Grey Firefly camera and the super clever system developed by David Hayden. The combination of a machine vision cameras and pan and zoom control of the picture is irresistible.13 14. Sleds are available14 15. behavior-research/accessories/ mobile-device-camera-mdcThere are some great sleds available, if thats the direction you choose.15 16. My sled, made of KNex (mykids havent forgiven me) anda phone holder that wouldnormally be stuck to a carwindscreen.Its very cheap, very light,fits any phone and spins toallow landscape use ofphones.16 17. Sleds are likely to makepeople use t wo hands whenthey normally use one handPeople can feel uncomfortableholding them for long periodsof time (to be fair mobiletests shouldnt need people tohold the phone for a longtime)People may not pick the sledup leaving them to jab at thephone with a fingerReferences are included atthe end. 17 18. Alternatives that capture screen activity18 19. Display RecorderOnly works on jailbroken iOSphones. Thats not somethingId recommend, particularlyin a test environment. 19 20. UX Recorder Very promising soft ware to record mobile websites and shell apps. Currently waiting for approval from Apple, I assume ( in July 2012) 20 21. Test StudioA kit to add whilst an app isbeing developed. that willrecord how Beta apps areused. 22. Summary22 23. Theres been a debate that the technique used to capture the session depends on the objectives of the test. e.g. Comprehension of the content - maybe a sled is betterErgonomics of the app - maybe acontextual video is better 23 24. I think the debate is over.Always gather a contextual video.With the right camera youll getcontext and see, in detail, the screenthe participant sees and youll seehow the device is used.If you can, add a screen recorder tocollect and stream the screen of thedevice.You dont need a sled, their days arenumbered. 24 25. Reference list:HCI Beyond the GUI. Design for Haptic, Speech, Olfactory, and Other Non-traditionalInterfaces. Edited by Philip Kortum - 2008, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc.Henry Been-Lirn Duh et al. Usability Evaluation for Mobile Device: A Comparison ofLaboratory and Field Tests - 2005Rudy Schusteritsch et al. Towards the Perfect Infrastructure for Usability Testing on MobileDevices - CHI 2007ApologiesIm aware this presentation is skewed toward testing iOS devices. Its a reection of thecommercial testing Ive been involved with.I intend to revise the presentation to include ideas for user testing Android and Microsoftand other OS devices.25 26. Thank youWalt 26