I'm planning to use the think-aloud protocol for an upcoming usability test. A book chapter on think-aloud suggested that you show the participant an example video of someone thinking aloud. I think this is a good idea to reassure users that they are 'doing it' correctly as to get the best information from them.

That said, do any of you know of a good video to use for this? I'm thinking of using a video from a past test, but wanted to avoid that if possible.

4 Answers 4


I wouldn't recommend it either, I'd rather explain the process and start a quick warm-up conversation about the topic in general before starting the actual test.

My experience is that given some minor hints, people start talking.

All that said, here's a good video example :) http://vimeo.com/1463808


  • Thanks for the thoughts, and especially for the video. I'll probably try it out on a few users to see if it helps, and if it doesn't, I'll remove it from the protocol.
    – Evan Carroll
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 22:48
  • Thanks again for the video. I'm a couple of sessions into this test and I've found it quite helpful
    – Evan Carroll
    Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 19:52
  • Good to hear! So it didn't create any bias? Commented Nov 5, 2009 at 21:11
  • I don't believe it did. The video was from a completely different test, so there wasn't much to emulate. I actually think it helped people feel more open about stating their likes and dislikes.
    – Evan Carroll
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 6:38

I don't recommend that you show the participant a video of how to think-aloud, since they might try to mimic the kind of remarks the person in the video is saying. Just explain clearly to the participant what he's supposed to do, and whenever you see him spending a few seconds on a page and/or seem to be thinking, just ask him "what's on your mind?". This will get him to "get it" and think aloud more.

Hope this helps :)

  • Thanks for the thoughts. I've done several think-aloud protocols in the past, so I'm sure I'll get them talking. Mimicking the example respondent is certainly a consideration.
    – Evan Carroll
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 22:46

I've never used a video either. We usually have the participant try it out on a simple example before getting into the actual test. That lets them get acquainted with the technique and gives the experimenter a chance to correct the technique, if necessary.


I've never used a video. (Youtube has some.) I've rarely provided a sample. I usually just get right into it and if the subject pauses I ask, "What are you thinking?" or "What are you looking at?"

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