9 house rules for usability test observers

We’re gearing up to do several rounds of usability testing. We’ll be traveling to do the tests, but stakeholders back at the office will gather in a room to observe using Morae.

In our planning, we decided we should post ground rules for observers. I searched online for rules I could steal, but didn’t come up with much beyond dead links and general suggestions.

So I quickly created my own and am sharing them with you here. Please steal them and modify to suit your own needs!

House rules for usability test observers

  1. Don’t talk.  Others in the room are trying to absorb what’s happening.
  2. The notetaker may ask if anyone has questions. It’s ok to talk then.
  3. Turn your phone off & close your email. Minimize distractions! You’ll be shocked at how much you learn from watching thoroughly.
  4. Don’t re-design or problem-solve. We know you’ll get lots of good ideas, but it’s more important to watch than to brainstorm right now.
  5. Don’t run back to your desk & start making changes. The UX team will assess and report findings from all participants. Systems changes will be prioritized then.
  6. Don’t mock or laugh at participants. They are the people who use the products you create. They pay your salary.
  7. Take good notes. You’ll forget much of what you learned. Notes are a great reminder!
  8. Stay the duration of the study.  It’s key to understanding the full context of the users’ actions.
  9. Leave quietly. If you absolutely must exit the room, don’t make too much noise.

– @michaelseidel

02. May 2012 by Michael Seidel
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *