However, during usability sessions last month, life threw me a curveball I wasn’t ready for: The power went out to the entire building. There were no lights. No microphones. No recording. My laptop had limited battery supply, and there was no internet because the routers had no power.
Luckily this happened on the first day of a two day study, and we were able to reschedule the remaining participants for the next day. We had a marathon second day, but we successfully completed our study.
Having gone through this experience, I’ve compiled a “survival kit” for usability sessions that should get you through a power outage.
- Mobile broadband card – plug it into your computer, and you have internet access
- Portable power supply – power your computer through the rest of the sessions
- Digital audio recorder – hit record and capture the conversation from the session
What about you? What unexpected events have you encountered while doing research? How did you cope with them or resolve them?