Observational/Task Based/Ethnographic


    Observational or Task Based testing

    This type of testing helps provide a true idea if your website is usable. By watching your users attempt real life task, it is easier to identify stumbling block, pain points, and bad design. The hardest part of this, and any usability testing, is to simply watch what is done and not to make suggestions.

    Task based testing is often done in a lab but can also be accomplished in a quiet room. Equipment may include:

    • screen capture software
    • video camera

    This equipment will allow you to review the tasks after the test.

    Testing of this type will also require:

    • a script to follow, including questions to ask
    • a person to ask the questions
    • a person to take notes

    It is often a good idea to get the test user to talk out loud as they accomplish tasks, getting them to explain the rationale for their movements. By taping the session via screen capture software, you can review where testers paused when confused or what they clicked instead of expected actions.

    It is essential to observe and listen to your users and refrain from suggesting alternatives or providing assistance while testing.

    Possible Software:

    Morae (Mac, screencapture expensive)

    Silverback (Mac, screencapture, moderate)

    Camtasia (screencapture)

    Captivate (screencapture)

    • Great blog, called ethnographr: a group at Guleph doing work much like we are doing.



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