UIEtips: Moderating with Multiple Personalities: 3 Roles for Facilitating Usability Tests

Jared Spool

October 14th, 2009

Sometimes, just adding a mental image to something difficult can make it dramatically easier. I discovered this while helping people learn to become better usability test moderators.

Moderating a usability test is difficult. There’s a lot going on, and you have to keep it all moving. Years ago, when we were privileged to have Carolyn Snyder working for us, she came up with a simple metaphor for facilitating usability test sessions. We called it the “Flight attendant, Sportscaster, Scientist” metaphor and it really helped us simplify how to moderate the session.

In today’s UIEtips, I explain Carolyn’s metaphor. You’ll learn the tricks used by the best test moderators, so you can become one yourself. I know you’ll enjoy the article.

You can learn more tips in our upcoming UIE Virtual Seminar, Effectively Moderating Usability Tests, with Beth Loring. Beth’s an expert in the topic, having co-authored a book on the subject with Joe Dumas. You’re going to love her session.

Also, if you’re a pro at usability testing, then you’ll want to hone your skills at Dana Chisnell’s upcoming workshop, Mastering the Art of User Research at the User Interface 14 Conference. In Dana’s full-day session, you’ll learn advanced techniques and tricks for pushing your team’s research to the next level.

Have you tried moderating usability tests? Post your thoughts and questions below.

One Response to “UIEtips: Moderating with Multiple Personalities: 3 Roles for Facilitating Usability Tests”

  1. Diane Jauvin Says:

    This is great advice! Do you have any tips for inexperienced moderators that have to play all the roles solo, i.e. the same one person moderates, observes and takes notes and later analyses the data.

Add a Comment