Moderating Usability Tests: Principles and Practices for Interacting

  • 3h 25m
  • Beth A. Loring, Joseph S. Dumas
  • Elsevier Science and Technology Books, Inc.
  • 2008

Many aspects of usability testing have been thoroughly studied and documented. This isn't true, however, of the details of interacting with the test participants who provide the critical usability data. This omission has meant that there have been no training materials and no principles from which new moderators can learn how to interact.

Moderating Usability Tests is the place for new and experienced moderators to learn about the rules and practices for interacting that have never been described in one place before. Authors Dumas and Loring draw on their combined 40 years of usability testing experience to develop and present the most effective principles and practices - both practical and ethical --for moderating successful usability tests.

  • Presents the ten "golden rules” that maximize every session's value
  • Offers targeted advice on how to maintain objectivity
  • Discusses the ethical considerations that apply in all usability testing
  • Explains how to reduce the stress that participants often feel
  • Considers the special requirements of remote usability testing

About the Authors

Joe Dumas is a recognized expert in usability evaluation with twenty-five years of experience. He has moderated or observed others moderate thousands of usability testing sessions and has taught numerous students and usability professionals how to moderate. He is currently a usability consultant for Oracle Corporation. He was a senior human factors specialist at Bentley College's Design and Usability Center and taught graduate courses in the college's graduate program in Human Factors in Information Design. He has a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of A Practical Guide to Usability Testing (with Ginny Redish), Designing User Interfaces for Software, and numerous articles written for researchers and practitioners.

Beth Loring is director of the Bentley Design and Usability Center, a research and consulting organization in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Beth has more than twenty years of experience in human factors engineering and product usability.

Since the mid 1980s, Beth has evaluated a wide array of products and services including desktop software, consumer products, web sites, business applications, and medical devices. Beth's online experience includes testing of financial, e-commerce, educational, intranet, and business-to-business applications.

Before joining Bentley, Beth was a principal research scientist at the American Institutes for Research in Concord, Massachusetts, and before that she served as the human factors team lead at IDEO Product Development in Boston. She teaches courses on usability testing in Bentley's Information Design Certificate Program.

Beth holds a master of science degree in engineering design from Tufts University and is a Certified Human Factors Professional. She has published more than twenty papers and is coauthor of a case study in Understanding Your Users: A Practical Guide to User Requirements (Morgan Kaufmann, 2005).

In this Book

  • Introduction
  • Getting Started as a Test Moderator
  • Golden Rules 1 through 5
  • Golden Rules 6 through 10
  • Initial Contacts
  • Interacting During the Session
  • Interacting During Post-Test Activities
  • Interacting in a Remote Test Session
  • Moderator–Participant Arrangements
  • Interacting with Diverse Populations
  • Integrating the Videos