My need is to set up a User Testing facility, which allows observers to watch the session. I do not want people to hover around the user, who then feels like a lab rat. My constraint is that I cannot use any cloud based software (e.g. Lookback). I am currently capturing screen only via Quicktime on Mac.

I've read the post about the ideal lab, but that's way beyond my budget and constraint.

Is there any way to set up a viewing room where observers are able to watch the session (being able to see both screen and user and listen to what the user and researcher are saying), with no cloud based software and no streaming, so Skype or similar would also be out of question.

I am conscious the solution will be sub-optimal, but we have a very strict policy which limits what I can do.


2 Answers 2


M. Nielsen suggests to use a slave monitor (a simple TV) for their traveling usability lab. Unfortunately, the observer is in the same room as the user in this set up. A large monitor can act as a partial screen. If the observer stays discreet, the user will likely forget they are here.

  • 1
    Can you screen mirror with a Mac and Apple TV?
    – Luke Smith
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 2:48

It can be very useful to have a person in the room to help the user with any problems they might encounter and ask any questions so you get the most information from them.

So you could maybe add two people in the room. One to help the user, and one that takes notes. They might have to be in the room, but they can just sit somewhere where they're not in the way. And the person that's monitoring will pull most of the focus to them.

  • From personal experience, I'd recommend against this, as it can make the user feel very self-conscious and stressed. However, a single tester in the room tends to be fine.
    – Tin Man
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 10:31

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