Skip to main content

Usability Testing with UserVue: A mixed bag

Every developer loves to test, right? Well, ok, maybe some more than others. But when you're introducing a new product or trying out a new user interface, it's always valuable to get user feedback and see how it all works out.

Now, Microsoft and other larger companies have "usability labs", big rooms with two-way mirrors and video recorders, but this is usually out of the realm of possibility for most companies. TechSmith, makers of Camtasia, Snagit had introduced Morae a few years back which was a desktop-tool that made it easy. They now have introduced a new tool named UserVue, that offers remote user testing.

I did up a quick screencast on how it works. It's very cool, intuitive and very non-intrusive.

There's no question it's a valuable tool - but I do have some issues with it:

1. Markers are for Morae use only. I've told Techsmith about this and I will continue to harp on it. Without making markers available to the user directly from the web interface without having to use Morae, UserVue ends up being a very useful and usable but very expensive screen recorder.

2. The price. $149/month prices UserVue out of the market for many smaller companies to use it on a regular basis.

How often should you test your application's usability? Well, some would say do it during the design or testing phase and then close it off. If that's your approach then the $149 is definitely well worth it - but it does mean that you have to plan on when you do your testing. At that price, you might be better off considering free recording tools such as GoToMeeting which lets you record your sessions, albeit without the "usability testing" feel to it. But GoTo is only about $49/month.

I've used both - UserVue will get better, of that I'm sure but I also know that right now, a company needs to invest in Morae to get the full value out of it. If you aren't doing usability testing, and are building applications, it's something you need to consider. If you are, and need to find a tool that makes it easy to record "test" sessions remotely, UserVue is great - a bit expensive, but very useful.

My suggestion to TechSmith is to offer a hosted version of Morae with the $149/month or build a series of reports based on the output markers from each session. Then the $149/month UserVue becomes an even more indispensable tool for usability testing.

Without it, you're not really offering anything that's not already available for less than $149/month.

This post may sound negative but it's not - I really like UserVue and it's got huge potential. I just want to make sure that potential gets realized!

If you are doing usability testing with your applications, what tools are you using?

Comments

Anonymous said…
hey andrew, we'll have to get you a trial for ethnio so you can compare. it's also a complete remote user research app.

Popular posts from this blog

Well, that explains CodePlex...

In a move that will be sure to anger open source (or rather anti-paid software, anti-Microsoft open source)  zealots, Microsoft is planning to buy GitHub . A year ago, I mused about why Microsoft would shut down CodePlex and how the world needs competing source code repositories to be strong. I'm not the only one per this Slashdot article  : "...   people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity, moreso because there were valid questions about GitHubs financial viability...." - Jacques Mattheij I will be interested in seeing this play out - whether developers jump ship or not. Have all the efforts Microsoft has made in pushing towards open source be seen as genuine or will all the zealots jump ship or maybe even attack? Microsoft's comment about why they shut down CodePlex referred to how spammers were using CodePlex. Well, GitHub

Attending Southwest Fox 2019 could change your life - Find out how

Southwest Fox is coming up in October and as I do every year, I spoke with the organizers Rick , Doug and Tamar on the FoxShow. Deadlines for Southwest Fox: Super-saver price (before July 1): $695 Early-bird price (before August 1): $770 Regular price (August 1 and later): $820 This year, I took a different approach with separate shows for each organizer but the main message is still the same : July 1st is their Go/No-Go date. Conferences don't talk about this very often. I don't think developers really question if Apple will hold their WWDC in June or Microsoft will hold their Build conference - but that's because those conferences are vendor-led. Southwest Fox is a community-driven conference - it's not driven by a company with an agenda. Listen to the interviews and you can hear how important each of the organizers feel the live connection between speakers and among attendees.

Virtual FoxFest - A New Way to Conference

If you haven't been keeping up with the news around the Fox community, the Southwest Fox conference has gone digital now showing up as  Virtual FoxFest .  At $49, it's a steal and a great way to learn some new ideas and get inspired. While the reasoning for this change is fairly obvious with the year of COVID - for me, this is something that has been a long time coming. I appreciate many people's needs for a physical conference but the world is very large and it's difficult to get people from around the world into a single physical location. I recently attended a single-track conference via YouTube (a Quasar conference). YouTube's Live stream provided a very handy way to watch, rewind and communicate with people online. While Tamar, Doug and Rick are still making decisions related to the streaming platform, there are lots of great options available. I'm really looking forward to it. The FoxPro community has also really felt its international roots