Friday, April 23, 2010

User Research Technologies

Earlier this month the Austin chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association hosted a panel on user research technologies. One of the attendees, Erin Lynn Young, posted some excellent notes about the evening here.
Morae, Uservue, Silverback, Clicktale, VMWare and WebEx were the main technologies covered; however, the open discussion surfaced many other technologies as well – such as TreeJack from OptimalWorkshop and Grupthink for capturing open-ended responses.
Morae is our tool of choice for lab-based usability testing here at Sentient. It is actually a suite of products with Recorder, Observer and Manager.
  • Recorder – used to record the actual test sessions – is simple to set up, transparent during the actual session and allows for “markers” to be inserted into the recording via quick key shortcuts.
  • Observer – used to stream test session live – is easy to connect to Recorder for streaming and allows an observer to insert “markers” into the recording as well.
  • Manager – used on the backend for analysis – has robust editing capabilities allowing you to create a story board with analytics and video clips
When we are doing eye tracking in a study (another tool in our user experience arsenal), we use Tobii Studio. It has many of the same capabilities of Morae and adds the additional layer of eye tracking. In analysis, we can create heatmaps (an aggregate image across all participants that represents the eye gaze data of all users viewing a given page) and gaze timelines (an image indicating the path of one user’s eye gaze for the during of each page, view or visual stimulus.
What tools and technologies have you used or come across? 

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