Save time and money with Rapid Usability Tests

We have been having incredible success in 2014 with Rapid Usability Test Sprints with companies including PayPal, AMP, Amaysim & OPSM who run these usability tests regularly to mitigate risks and make informed design decisions. They iterate designs on various projects from mobile apps to transactional websites.

“Rapid UX Testing is a powerful method. It is cheap and produces results quicker than traditional methods. It is easy to incorporate rapid usability testing within tight project schedules and tight budgets.” 

Rapid Recruit, Research and Results. 

How do we do Rapid Usability Test Sprints?

While working in an agile environment, clients want to iteratively validate a concept or design. This requires customer engagement which to some people means time and money. With our Sprints the objective is to get quick feedback from real customers and put insights into actions… as quickly as within just 1 week turnaround!

We run the projects like a formal usability test, which includes:

  • Formal usability testing scripts that are signed off by the client
  • Clear recruitment brief is defined with fairly broad requirements
  • Formal lab setting with viewing from our special Brainstorming Room or live online with Adobe Connect.

In order to make it most effective we ensure that all relevant project team members come to the session and actively participate during and after each test. When they leave for the day most UI improvement decisions have been made and our summary report becomes a checklist of things that were agreed.

Here’s the steps to run a Rapid Usability Test Sprint

Step 1: Decide on what you want to test

Have a clear research objective!  Identify stimulus to test and no more then 3-5 areas of interest.

Stimulus. The best part about Rapid Usability Testing is that you can get started with just about any working (or non-working) products. For the test that we conducted the concept was rather high level with no working prototype to speak of. So we did the next best thing, mobile paper prototypes!

paper prototypes

Mobile app paper prototypes that were used for Agile UX concept testing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the product is in its earliest stages it can literally be shaped by user expectations.

Areas of interest.  You must tailor the test based on the insights you want to gain.  For instance our client wanted to gauge the audience’s response to an unorthodox method of online shopping. We asked our client the following:

  • What user journey are you expecting to deliver positive business outcomes?
  • Which pages/features are of most interest?
  • Are there specific copy, navigation or UI elements we want feedback on?

Tasks were therefore created around navigation and customers filtering their search down to a specific product. This helped establish if the user journey was as smooth as intended.

Step 2: Quick, reliable resource for participants

As with any usability test you should have specific customer segments & demographics. With rapid turn times on recruitment that might mean they need to be fairly broad specs.  We use our Sydney Research Network platform to recruit people really, really quickly using social media. We’re talking about recruiting people even as quickly as 2 days before testing! If you like, we offer recruitment for your projects too.

Step 3: TEST!

The Rapid Usability Test for this particular mobile product was done with 5 or 6 people, individual sessions in our Eye Tracking test lab (or it could have been done in a spare room at our client’s office).

As with formal usability testing, a script is prepared that details each task. Keep tasks short and focused and test in about 45min sessions.

This video shows how eye tracking can be used on a mobile app.

We do find that eye tracking facilitates a richer Rapid Usability Test, as it allows the observers to see exactly where people are looking, or not looking, and why. It becomes very obvious when participants are having trouble getting through tasks, and validates learnings in order to begin making design decisions immediately.

Here’s 5 Rapid Usability Testing tips for the session

1. Introduce yourself and the purpose of the test: Say hello! Explain what is about to happen. It is important to stress to the participant, that the product is being tested, not them. Tell them they are being video recorded.

2. Keep it light: It is important to put the participant at ease in order to get honest feedback.  Crack a joke, be genuinely interested in the participant’s interests and have a genial approach.

3. Get them on your side: Allow participants to contribute to the product. Ask them what their solution would be to a certain issue or pain point they were having.

4. Try not to lead participants: It’s easy to get subjective about a product, especially if you are the creator!

Some leading and closed questions to avoid:

  • “Does the slowness of the application frustrate you?”
  • “Does the colour theme of the UI frustrate you?”
  • “Are you pausing because you are unable to figure out the navigation?”

Here are some open-ended questions that fit into almost every user interview:

  • What do you think?
  • How do you feel about using it this way?
  • What would you do next?
  • How would you expect it to work?

Participants open up with interesting points of view when questioned in this manner. It is also important to use silence effectively during interviews. Silence is a powerful tool that naturally prompts the interviewee to fill the void.

5. For Rapid UX Testing it is imperative that stakeholders watch and participate in vigorous discussion: It always helps when people who are involved with the product development are invited to watch tests. Not only can they provide recommendations or ‘tweaks’ between sessions (instead of after the fact), but the result is almost always a more understanding development & business team who will make key decisions soon after the testing. It also means you don’t need to write a long report that few people take the time to read. They already know what needs fixing!

Here’s some tips for effective Rapid Usability Testing observation:

  • Do a dry run with stimulus, discussion guide and technical set up
  • Ensure observers have clear audio and can see the participants face and hand movements
  • Print our key screens of interest and draw on them
  • Use a white board to sketch solutions to UI issues
  • Use Postit notes to jot down findings
  • Encourage discussion
  • After each session run a brief discussion of key findings
  • At the end of the day summarise the findings and, more importantly, the key updates that will be made.
Design Room_with Whitewall

Objective Digital’s King St. Wharf Research Hub – design room with whitewall.

All said and done, Rapid Usability Test Sprints are very flexible. There is no perfect way
of doing it. The heart of the matter is to get quick insights from real people, providing validated learnings for Rapid Results.

Rapid Recruit, Research and Results. 

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Portable eye tracking – Tobii Glasses 2

Tobii has recently announced the release of their new mobile eye-tracking glasses – Tobii Glasses 2!

Tobii Glasses 2 reveal what a person is looking at while they are engaged with real world environments and in other activities. They are the successor of the original Tobii Glasses, but come with a whole range of boastful upgrades to solidify their place as the future of mobile eye-tracking.

Buy Tobii Glasses 2

Tobii Glasses 2 Eye Tracker available in Singapore soon!

The glasses only weigh a tiny 45 grams and come with an upgraded wide angle HD scene camera and clear rims for optimal viewing. A new wireless feature allows for remote LIVE viewing so that others can instantly view what the user sees! With Binocular eye-tracking for improved accuracy and 1920×1080 pixel scene recordings, this new piece of technology will be in high demand as researchers discover more and more ways to use the technology in innovative ways.

 

New in Tobii Glasses 2 eye tracker

Live view — allows researchers to see exactly what a person is looking at, wirelessly and in real time. Gain immediate and actionable insights to tailor your retrospective interview prompts.

True view — provides complete freedom of viewing for the wearer thanks to the wide-angle HD scene camera and four eye cameras in a thin frame. Secure valid research by accommodating peripheral vision and natural viewing behavior.

Flexible mapping tool — significantly reduces time for coding videos. Efficiently aggregate and process data from multiple test participants for specific study objects. No more IR markers!

Lightweight, unobtrusive design — feels like a regular pair of sports glasses at only 45 grams. Give participants maximum freedom of movement to behave naturally.

Here’s a recent webinar from Tobii on Tobii Glasses 2 eye tracker

Objective Asia presents at Next Bank Asia Singapore 2014 (NBASG14)

Yesterday, James Breeze; CEO and founder of and Objective Asia and Objective Digital gave a presentation on the concept of ‘build’ with a focus a on user experience at the Next Bank Asia conference 2014 in Singapore.

James Breeze Objective Digital from NextBank on Vimeo.

James presented on the importance of customer experience, with emphasis that Asia should continue to build and develop their customer experiences in this rapidly changing world.
James gave some key examples of how eye-tracking greatly enhances the quality of customer experience research, particularly when that research can be conducted in store using portable eye-tracking glasses, or data is provided to clients in real-time during user testing for immediate integration.

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Objective Asia also flexed some of their latest Tobii eye-tracking set-ups at the conference, which allow for eye-tracking of mobile and tablet users – the emerging leading platforms since the home PC, and of which now give even the laptop a run for its money.

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Given the worldwide shifts toward ‘mobile banking’, a large amount of interest was generated, as the banks are now understanding the importance of high-level customer experience research.

Objective Asia continues to build new relationships and enhance existing relationships in Asia and remains an active player in helping maintain a high-level standard of customer experience in this world of technological change.

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Special thanks to NBASG14, well done James Breeze and congratulations Objective Asia!

Combining Contextual Inquiry with Eye Tracking

With technology becoming more and more complex, it is key to understand how actual users interact with challenging applications. Observing users work with these systems while at work or home is bound to yield rich qualitative data.

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Objective Digital’s article, “Combining Contextual Inquiry with Eye Tracking” in UX Magazine describes how eye tracking call center operators revealed some pretty amazing insights. It revealed how a stressful environment coupled with an ineffective interface can result in bigger issues, like poor customer satisfaction and high staff turnover.

Needless to say, the findings from the eye tracking analysis put a lot of arguments to rest and were the basis for the design decisions for the systems improvement.

Eye tracking mobile devices – now even easier with the Tobii X2 mobile device stand

Our dedicated love on mobile devices

During my commute to and from work each day, there’s one thing I must not forget to bring with me. It’s not my train ticket or my wallet, it’s my phone, and without it I am lost. The truth is I am not the only one; people love their smartphones and other mobile devices. People are spending more and more time on mobile devices and based on the latest Flurry’s analysis, 80% of that time was spent on apps. But, the question is: on which apps? A recent study by Compuware found that 79% of people will only give an app one or two tries, and if it doesn’t meet expectations they’ll never use it again.

As marketers, it’s critical to understand how to engage your consumers by providing a better experience when they use your mobile apps. The great news is, we have just the right solution for you!


Latest solution for mobile device eye tracking testing

Our latest Tobii Mobile Device Testing solution lets you study how consumers experience mobile websites and apps and how they engage with any mobile ads on mobile devices. Tobii X2 Eye Trackers, paired with the Tobii Mobile Device Stand, provide a dedicated solution for efficient and high quality testing of mobile devices and tablets.

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Accurate, the solution delivers highly accurate data you need to test small devices, where logos, text and buttons might all be within one degree of visual angle distance and any compromise on accuracy can lead to the wrong conclusions.

Efficient, we can take the eye tracker to any location where it is convenient to run your tests, you have enormous options in recruiting participants.

Flexibility and natural interaction, the solution allows test participants to interact with the mobile device in a natural way, creating a distraction-free user experience. Users can take hold of the device, smoothly rotate the device between landscape and portrait modes, and interact with it from a comfortable viewing angle.

High quality data, suitable for both quantitative and qualitative studies that require high quality behavioural data. The fixed mounted high-definition (HD) scene camera captures the details needed to analyse small screens.

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We’re here to help you get on the front foot

Interbrand, a corporate identity and brand consulting firm, recently ranked Apple the most valuable brand in the world, it’s the first time Coca-Cola hasn’t topped that list since it was first published in 2000. The world as we know is changing and mobile devices are a huge part of it. Websites worldwide now get more traffic from mobile devices than PC, people browse 70% more web pages per visit. It’s time to get on the front foot of your consumer mobile experience and we’re here to help.

Click here for a quick video introduction to our mobile device testing solution!

Yoana Francisca

GE Capital shows the way with a high-tech eye tracking lab

General Electric (GE) is a household name synonymous to innovation. Objective Digital recently teamed up with the User Experience (UX) team at GE Capital in Melbourne to help setup their next-generation eye tracking lab in Melbourne as part of their new UX initiatives. It was a lab that made even our experienced eye tracking consultants drool. So what was so special about the eye tracking setup?

Let’s look at how the setup was designed to ensure that every step of a usability session would run smoothly:

Interviewing

The eye tracking testing lab in Melbourne is where the action happens. This is where the user or customer comes in contact with the product. GE’s brightly lit and spacious testing lab meant that participants would feel comfortable. Since it looked like someone’s office, participants would not have to go too much out of their own normal working environment.

Traditional usability testing involves assessing the usability of a product by watching the behaviour of the participants. With the latest eye tracker from Tobii, the X2-30 Compact, GE are now able to see where the customers are looking at. The eye tracker is so portable that it evens fits in your pocket! This results in a drastic reduction in research effect as participants forget that their eyes are being tracked and display their natural behaviour.

Eye Tracking lab Melbourne

GE’s Eye Tracking lab In Melbourne

Mobile Device Eye Tracker

GE Capital also have a Tobii Mobile Device Eye Tracking Stand. For eye tracking mobile apps. It looks like this.

GE's mobile device eye tracker in Melbourne

Recording

Tobii’s eye tracking software, Tobii Studio allows seamless and simultaneously eye tracking and recording of the participant’s activities. Showing a real user talking about your product (e.g. how they didn’t notice a call to action or couldn’t make sense of the information on a page) is the easiest way to convince stakeholders of the value of usability testing and the importance of improving the design.

Tobii X2-30 Compact Eye Tracker in Melbourne at GE Capital

Eye Tracker in Melbourne research Lab with GE Capital

Observing Eye Tracking in Melbourne

Even better than showing stakeholders recorded clips of usability sessions is to let them watch the sessions live. GE had this covered with a big screen showing 3 videos at the same time:

  1. the stimulus with the participant’s eye gaze superimposed on top of it,
  2. the participant’s face to capture their facial expressions, and
  3. the fly-on-the-wall view of the testing lab to observe the things participants usually point at on the stimulus using their fingers.
Observation room for eye tracking in Melbourne

Observation room at GE Capital

Observers also had a choice of viewing the eye tracking session through a one-way mirror in the adjoining room (think CSI!). The room also had a live recording software which synced all video inputs into one.

Dark room with one-way mirror and eye tracking live recording

Dark room with one-way mirror and live recording

Collaborating the eye tracker

GE’s massive observation room also doubled as a collaboration room where designers, developers and other stakeholders can participate in rapid iterative design workshops while watching the usability sessions. This means that design changes can happen on-the-fly without having to wait for the findings to be analysed in detail and the big fat report to be produced.

Collaboration room

Collaboration room with multiple screens to view the sessions

Both GE and Objective Digital are excited about their eye tracking lab in Melbourne and looking forward to the new innovations coming out of GE.

How has your experience been setting up a usability lab in your company? We would love to hear from you in the comments below. Feel free to get in touch if you want to have a chat about setting up Tobii eye tracking usability labs in Australia, New Zealand or South East Asia.

Mobile Banking White Paper 2013: A review of Australia’s mobile banking apps

phone-in-hand-smallObjective Digital has reviewed eight of Australia’s mobile banking applications (namely ANZ, Citibank, CBA, HSBC, ING Direct, NAB, St. George, and Westpac) to inform the financial industry of their app’s user experience and highlight potential issues that may not have been realised.

Fill in your particulars and download the white paper now. It’s free!

Mobile marketing matters

Objective Digital recently teamed up with TNS and IAB Australia to study the Australian mobile advertising landscape. Our goal was to identify opportunities in the market, the readiness of the industry and the effectiveness of the platform in delivering advertising. Meanwhile, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and IHS Global Insight conducted a similar study to understand the impact of mobile marketing on sales. Were there any correlations between the 2 studies?

Mobile web advertising is big

According to the US study, the mobile marketing spending will reach $20 billion by 2015. Every $1 spent on mobile marketing has been estimated to generate $20 in sales. Mobile advertising accounts for almost 50% of mobile marketing spending. Mobile web advertising has the biggest share. This correlates with the steady growth in mobile web usage in Australia in the past 2 years.

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But mobile app advertising is catching up

Although mobile web is getting the biggest share of ad investments, MMA is predicting a 158% rise in investments on mobile app ads over the next 2 years to reach $3.26 billion in 2015. Mobile apps are platform dependant and cost more to build and maintain than mobile websites which work across platforms. However, more and more users are expecting the seamless experience and access to built-in phone features (such as camera, GPS etc.) which are more difficult to implement on a mobile website. TNS recognises this as a niche market as currently less than 1% of installed apps are branded.

We’re spending more money on mobile ads

The Australian industry is spending more money per person than the US in mobile marketing. In 2012, the US spent $306 million compared to Australia’s $86 million.

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We don’t know what’s out there

The TNS / IAB research shows that although the Australian industry is aware of the global trends around mobile growth. But despite the awareness and the increased spending, there is a lack of familiarity with the different types of mobile adverstising that are available (e.g. location-based services, mobile game ads, augmented reality, NFC. etc). This lack of familiarity is resulting is a lot of lost opportunities in mobile marketing.

People do look at ads

It’s all well and good spending money on mobile advertising, but do people look at the ads? Objective Digital used a mobile eye tracker to find out.

eyetracking

We found that people were more receptive to an ad during passive consumption of content (e.g. news catch-up) than active consumption (e.g. looking for local weather). Ads on smartphones were looked at less frequently but people looked at those ads 17% longer than tablet ads. But the most critical component of ad effectiveness was consumer relevance. The ad needs to be relevant to what the user is doing or looking for.

So why does all this matter to you?

Despite the spike in mobile device usage, the majority of the mobile ad market is still untapped. You have the potential to have your company in your customer’s pocket at all times. If you haven’t thought about your mobile marketing strategy yet, you haven’t planned for the future.

Drop us an email if you would like more information on this study or if you would like help making your mobile ads more effective through eye tracking.

Lean eye tracking – making eye tracking quick and affordable

Eye tracking can be a valuable tool in the UX tool kit, however for some teams, it is perceived as being expensive and long winded. In agile and lean environments (where time and unnecessary steps are being trimmed out whenever possible), consultants need to come up with ways to make set up, testing and transferring findings as seamless as possible. In this post I want to share some tips I’ve learned over the years to make eye tracking both cost and time efficient. 

1) Establish clear objectives and areas of interest

Like in any project, it is essential to have clear research and business objectives. The same goes for what you want to get out of eye tracking. Make sure all the key areas and hypotheses pertaining to eye tracking are communicated before the testing starts. Ask your client to outline the following:
  • Which pages/areas are of the most interest? 
  • Are there specific copy, navigation or multimedia elements we want feedback on? 
  • How do we expect eyes to behave (any hypotheses)?

Understanding these questions puts the moderator in a good position to hit the ground running once fieldwork starts.

2) Analyse in real time

Too often eye tracking is sold as a sexy set of heatmaps. While these are appealing (and sometimes insightful), I find the most valuable form of eye tracking is in real time viewing. This form of insight allows the moderator to understand objective user behaviour and discuss immediately after. The moderator’s screen can also be live-streamed over the web so other members of the team can be a part of the real time analysis without having to leave their desks (or country for that matter).

Some examples of real time observations include:

  • What is being focused on (and what is missed)
  • Long & repeat gazes
  • The gaze journey
Eye_tracking_and_live_viewing
In my experience, real time viewing is more valuable to the analysis than any other eye tracking output. Remember to timestamp interesting behaviours and always verify your own observations and hypotheses with the respondent using follow up questions or retrospective think aloud techniques.

3) Streamline analysis

Finally, take time out of the analysis phase by using the software in smarter ways (I am using Tobii Studio). Create video segments (video clips) right after saving the recording and debriefing with your respondent. This works especially well if you have another consutant helping you or during the time your participant fills out an exit questionnaire. I usually do this in the following steps:
  1. Isolate segments quickly by using timestamps or by replaying the footage faster than real time. 
  2. Use the finding or observation as a file name. Do this for as many of the eye tracking findings as you can. 
  3. Add in relevant heatmaps and gaze trails (from your pre-determined areas of interest we talked about in step 1)
Heatmap

With these steps you’ve got the eye tracking collateral you need to make a compelling case for your findings.

Just like screen recording and online surveys, eye tracking is a great tool to help you achieve confident results. Incorporating eye tracking in to lean and agile environments doesn’t need to be an expensive and cumbersome experience, providing you have the right technology and approach. Have you found any tricks to using eye tracking efficiently?

Further reading: Lean UX and the dichotomy of being a UX consultant by Tim Yeo

 

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DAN SORVIK
Dan is the Research Manager at Objective Digital. When he’s not conducting eye tracking studies and uncovering customer insights he is doing DIY, playing Xbox and enjoying an ice cold margarita.