23 September 2009

Simple Usability Testing

Silverback by ClearLeft is a wonderful usability testing application that makes it dead simple to record and manage your test sessions.

If like me though you can't afford to shell out $50 right now, here's a way to do some bargain basement usability recording.

All you will need is an Intel Macbook/Macbook Pro running Mac OS 10.6. This comes with Quicktime X, which now has screen, audio and movie recording built — so it can record what's happening on the screen, video from a webcam and audio through your built-in microphone.

Ok so it's not quite as polished as Silverback, but it works. Unfortunately, because you can't start both the movie recording and the screen capturing at the same time, they will be out of sync for a few seconds.

If you have some video editing software that allows you to match them up and overlay (iMovie doesn't do this yet), a quick bit of editing will go a long way when you need to review those test sessions!

The way I do it is:
  1. Start Movie recording (this is the webcam)
  2. Minimise the live preview
  3. Start Screen recording
At the end of the session:
  1. Stop Screen recording
  2. Stop Movie recording
If anyone knows of a way to get the two to start at the same time, that would be great (an AppleScript would probably do it, but I'm a virgin at it). Also, can you recommend any good cheap/free video editing tools that can handle movie on movie overlays?

1 comment:

Simon said...

Check out Screenr as a happy alternative that's also free!