I've tried a couple of times to perform usability studies at an industry-specific trade show, and it's been largely awkward. In my experience, people are milling around and love to chat, but don't have the patience to sit down for a 15-30 minute usability study. Scheduling people ahead of time and having them actually show up is a logistical challenge. Not to mention the difficulty in finding a private, quiet place to actually conduct a study.
So, when manning a trade show booth, what's the most effective way to conduct user research? Setup a kiosk for unmanned usability studies? Some quick interviews? Do I just need to try harder at making legit usability studies work? Or are trade shows just a terrible place to conduct research?