How To Conduct Thinking Aloud Test In 6 Steps
One of the easiest ways to have some idea about your product’s usability is to perform thinking aloud test. The user speaks their thoughts constantly as they use your product. This is basically what thinking aloud test is.
Even though you cannot get detailed statistics, it is easy to do the test and in the end, you get some implications and ideas to work on. So, how do you conduct thinking aloud test?
1) Find the right user
Users should be familiar with the topic of the kind of service you provide. If you are trying to test some websites about traveling, then it would make sense if the user travels frequently and familiar with different kinds of websites that provide travel-related services. They would know what are they getting into and be more insightful. Know your target audience and try to find someone who would fit in.
2) Give a specific task or scenario
The purpose of the test is to get an idea about your product’s usability. However, you cannot test every feature when it comes to thinking aloud test. You should focus on a specific feature that you want the user to try and reflect on their experience.
3) Do not interrupt or give hints
In my experience, I had an urge to interrupt and guide the user. However, I managed to keep myself from doing this. At some point I was talking to myself, “can’t you see the heart shape it is right there!”.
It may be easier for you to locate something or to find your way which is normal because you are the one that is familiar with your product. In this case, what matters is the user’s experience and if you want to have an honest review, don’t interrupt and give hints, just listen to what they are saying.
4) Do not ask their opinion
Remember, this is not a survey. You can always ask why they did something, why they clicked on that and things like that. But that’s it. You should just encourage them to talk their mind, not answering questions!
5) Always do a trial run with a different system
Before starting the actual test, it is safer to perform the test on another system, application or website. It doesn’t matter if the concept is related or not. This is just to give the user an idea about what they should do and where are they having trouble when doing it.
So on the actual work, they can be careful. Because, normally people don’t talk to themselves all the time (i hope so), hence, this might be a challenge for them.
6) Make sure to record both video and audio
It is valuable to have their facial impressions recorded as well as their voice. So you could replay them and take your notes in peace, if you miss something, you can easily catch it with this method.
That is it! If you apply these steps you would get data that could prevent errors and lead to improvements in some of the key points in your product.
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