Usability Tools Podcast: Moderating Usability Tests, Part 2

Jared Spool

July 22nd, 2008

Usability Tools Podcast: Moderating Usability Tests, Part 2
Recorded: July 3rd, 2008.
Brian Christiansen, UIE Podcast Producer
Duration: 34m | File size: 19 MB
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[ Show Notes ]


In this episode of Usability Tools, Brian Christiansen and I continue on how to moderate a usability test. As I mentioned last week, the episode got so long that we decided to break it into two parts. You can find part 1 here. This week’s show focuses upon the step-by-step tasks of running the session with a participant and your observers.

Good moderating is critically important to a successful session. Here are a few points we touched upon in the show:

  • Practice and repetition improves your moderation skills. Start the session on the right foot by greeting your user on time and by laying out exactly what will happen during the session.
  • Inform your user of their rights as a participant; their comfort is key. Have and follow a testing protocol which will lead you through all the information, and through all the testing steps. It should also govern your observers.
  • End your session on time. Respecting the time of your participants and observers is paramount. Walk your user out, both out of politeness and because small talk may lead to critical insights.

There’s much more in the show. If you have questions about the role of the moderator, feel free to ask them in the comments. We’ll try to answer them and may even work them into a future show.

[This show is the first in a series we’re going to do on the fundamentals of usability testing. In future shows, we’ll cover the entire gamut of testing, from initial planning, through task design, to data analysis and beyond. We want to create a complete resource that you’ll share with your entire team.]

3 Responses to “Usability Tools Podcast: Moderating Usability Tests, Part 2”

  1. Usability Tools Podcast: Moderating Usability Tests, Part 1 » UIE Brain Sparks Says:

    […] Part 2 is now […]

  2. Asher Cohen Says:

    Hi guys I’m loving the series so far keep up the good work.

    I have a question for you about getting participants to think out loud during the study. I find this the biggest obstacle when I am facilitating studies, in particular studies that involve complex interactions. Its a real kicker too because it seems the most important information in regards to designing an intuitive interface, is what the user is thinking when they are trying to figure something out or are confused, and when you are deep in thought you are often to busy to talk.
    Do you have any tips or strategies on getting participants to open up and be more vocal?

  3. Paul Says:

    >> This show is the first in a series we’re going to do on the fundamentals of usability testing

    I can’t find the rest of the series? Have any of the other shows been recorded yet? If not, what is the expected release schedule? This show was one of the best episodes the podcast has had yet. I REALLY want to hear the rest of the series!!

    Thank you so much for such a great podcast.

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