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Usability Testing

The Scholarly Commons has two workstations and a small room set up to conduct usability studies. Using either the Morae (PC) or Silverback (Mac) software package, you can have a test subject perform a series of tasks while the software records what happens on the screen as well as the audio and video of the user.
Morae Screen

To reserve the Usability Lab, contact sc@library.illinois.edu.

Morae and Silverback recordings can be exported for viewing on any computer. You can use these software packages to analyze projects with recordings of multiple subjects by tagging significant moments and attaching notes and observations. Morae also allows analysis, video highlights, etc., to be combined into report formats or exported into applications such as Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. Silverback gives the researcher the option to export the finished result into QuickTime.

The PC and the Mac in the Usability Lab have identical software installations to the machines in the Scholarly Commons. The Usability Lab can also be used to complete small individual projects that require sound, such as creating a movie of a screen capture.

Librarians who have conducted usability studies are available to provide advice about setting up and carrying out your study.

Usability at Technology Services

Technology Services provides fee-based usability consulting services.  For computer usability studies, Technology Services uses a variety of methods, including Morae software, paper prototyping, and card sorting. Their dedicated usability lab may be rented.  Contact Cordelia Geiken at Technology Services to find out more about those services.

Best Practices and IRB at Illinois

Depending on how you wish to use the data from your Usability testing experience, you may need to submit a form for review to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The Institutional Review Board (IRB), as mandated by federal law, requires all research involving human subjects “whether funded or unfunded and whether conducted by Illinois faculty or others, must comply with applicable policies for the protection of human subjects.” Because of this, all research projects involving human subjects must be approved before recruitment or research activities begin. This is to ensure the ethics of your study and the protection of the research subjects.

To learn more about IRB forms and the initial application process, visit their website at oprs.research.illinois.edu.

Resources in the Scholarly Commons

Library Guides:
Usability Testing, Morae Guide – Usability testing