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I am planning to conduct some user testing on popular sites such as facebook/linkedin/twitter. The question is, would they be willing (or should i even ask them) to sign in to these accounts using their own credentials.

Since I don't have dummy accounts.

What would be the easiest way to accomplish this?

  • Why do you want / need them to use their personal accounts for this? – JonW Aug 28 '13 at 22:19
  • I would run from the test if you expected me to use my own accounts... – Marjan Venema Aug 30 '13 at 12:21
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If you have personas, create dummy accounts for your personas. Then your testers can assume the identity of the persona they identify with during test sessions.

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It really depends on what kind of features and user data you're accessing. If it's just for general authentication/identification, sure. On the other hand, if you'll be accessing their contacts, private data, posting to their feeds or anything like that, I strongly recommend not.

If you need to access the user's private data to test your service, be extra clear what you will be doing with it upfront. That way your testers can decide whether they want to allow you access to their personal accounts or create their own dummy accounts (if they really want to check it out and/or support you, but are uncomfortable with granting access to their data).

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