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I took a course in Human Computer Interaction last semester, and I find it very interesting. I am working on a website project, and thought I would try some user involvement.

I was thinking about inviting 2-3 users from the target group, and try to make some usability testing. Anyone could recommend som software I could use? Since this is mostly for trying it out and getting experience I cant afford a very expensive program. If no free software exist I hope there is some trial version. Or a program not too expensive.

Im finding Eye tracking very exciting. Is that posible for me to set up? Or does the camera have to be an expensive one?

So the question is: Any software you could recommend for usability testing? (If possible with Eye tracking tools)

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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you are using or have access to a Mac I highly recommend Silverback. Its cheap, effective and easy to use.

To do eye tracking properly requires some really expensive specialist equipment and training to use the software and analyse the results.

You might also want to check out some of the remote testing options such as TrymyUI.

Also, in my experience its best to test with at least 5 users - with smaller numbers you can miss issues or be thrown by anomalies.

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Yes I got a Mackbook Pro. I guess you are right about the number of users. However the result is in this case not as important as the experience from trying it. –  EmilF Jul 6 '11 at 11:24
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I often use Webex - you can record interactions in person and over the web equally well. It works on most platforms. It's designed for meetings, but to use it for usability, you just start a meeting, have the participant join on their computer, and you join on your computer. You can view all of their actions, give them access to a prototype running on your machine, and record the video and audio. I also use Morae in lab contexts, but I think that is more expensive and frankly doesn't add a lot of value. Webex is $49/month and has a free trial.

The classic recommendation from Jakob Nielsen is to test with 5 users (from each distinct user segment) link: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20000319.html Keep in mind his recommendation is to use this number of users when you are doing iterative testing - testing with waves of 5 users at a time, making improvements in between. In my personal experience I would probably plan to test with a couple more - say 8 - to take into account various practical considerations such as no-shows, users that end up not meeting the target profile, adjustments to the test plan after the first session or two, etc.

Eye tracking is tempting, but frequently impractical without a rigid experimental design and lots of time for analysis. Even then, coming up with a recommendation from the results is still a little bit of "that cloud looks like a kitten!" We've had a vendor tell us that one item on a web page was essentially invisible and should be moved to a more prominent location, even though we already had A/B testing results showing that adding that item in that spot increased conversion. A good slideshow discussing some of the considerations in eyetracking is here: http://www.slideshare.net/harrybr/what-you-need-to-know-about-eye-tracking-new-uxlx-version

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There are already some good answers, including on the limitations of eye tracking but no direct answer to your last question. “[Eye tracking] Is that posible for me to set up? Or does the camera have to be an expensive one?”

There is some research on cheap forms of eye tracking with regular webcams or cameras but that's still very unsatisfactory as far as I know. HCI-related eye tracking studies, both in published academic papers and consulting, use specialized equipment which include not only an expensive camera but also a source of infrared light and the software to do the analysis. You do need to buy a device including all this from a company like Tobii or SensoMotoric Instruments (I happened to have worked with equipment from those two a few years back, I am not claiming they are the best or the biggest or anything) and it's certainly not easy to set up such a system from the ground up yourself. If you do have the money to buy or rent one, using a commercial system does require some care (including, as Jonathan said, to have a proper experimental design) but is reasonably easy on a technical level.

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