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For useful guides on User Testing/Research see GOV.UK and Smashing Magazine (via Unknown User (rf396))


When you're setting up a user test, make sure you've done:


  1. Define what you're checking and get it agreed with PO and stakeholders - the scope should not be too great and should cover important interactions
  2. Decide on a venue out a venue and book a room (best to book for entire day to allow for setup)
  3. Decide on a timescale, anything from 15-30 minutes depending on the scope and the amount of user you want to test (aim for 4+)
  4. Call for volunteers - ideally regular users of the section in question that match target demographics.
    1. Publicise on appropriate landing pages
    2. Contact Faculty/Prof Services Marketing people for promotion
    3. Use Twitter/Facebook channels if appropriate
    4. We maintain a list of past participants that are happy to participate in user testing
  5. Draft a set of question/tasks
    1. Get stakeholder input and agreement
    2. Do a test run, and tweak if you go over/under allotted time.
  6. Write out a script which should include:
    1. An introduction of who you are
    2. What you're hoping to accomplish, e.g. "we want to see whether the Library website is meeting needs"
    3. The reassurance: "You're not being tested, the site is. If you get stuck, we've got it wrong and we need to know how to fix it"

The test

  1. Get the room set up:
    1. Get the MBP
    2. Get an external keyboard and mouse
    3. Invert the mouse wheel for "normal" users
    4. Fire up Silverback
    5. Fire up Virtualbox
    6. Set it to full screen
    7. Fire up Internet Explorer
    8. If you're connecting a second monitor set the Display to Mirror displays (otherwise Silverback won't record the second screen!)
  2. Print out scripts
  3. Make sure Silverback has started recording before each session starts
  4. Run your test as per your script
  5. Get authorisation to record (or don't record)
  6. Take plenty notes


  1. Output the Silverback videos and stick them somewhere if you need to keep them
  2. Write up your notes
  3. Summarise key concerns and create an action plan and proposed next steps


1 Comment

  1. Unknown User (mnskchg)

    Unknown User (lm317) nice - thanks. Can you add a link to the list of past participants pls?