August 12th, 2009
A few years back, Google put up a small internet cafe in the public lounge of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal One. Passengers, awaiting their next flight, could use Google’s laptops to get maps, check flight information, read email, and any other internet-related activity. Partly a mechanism to introduce the public to Google’s broad array of applications and services, it was also a way for Google to see people use computers in a more natural environment than their in-house usability labs.
Google made a big investment in the Heathrow Google Space project. However, you don’t need Google’s large bank account to pull this off. It’s really quite simple and inexpensive get great insights by conducting field-based research.
In today’s UIEtips, we have a great article by author and usability testing expert, Dana Chisnell, explaining how you can easily conduct usability tests “in the wild.” She shares some of the trade offs between field-based testing and more traditional lab-based tests. (And she should know! She wrote THE book on usability testing – The Handbook of Usability Testing.)
By the way, Dana will be one of the great speakers sharing her wisdom and experience at this year’s User Interface 14 Conference. I’m very excited about her full-day workshop, Advanced User Research: Dirty Little Secrets, where she’ll reveal oodles of tricks and techniques that nobody ever talks about. I’ve reviewed the course outline and you’re going to love the advanced techniques she’s covering.
Have you brought your user research efforts into the wild? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Share your experiences with us below.Tweet