User Testing

Think-Aloud Protocol

The Think-Aloud Protocol is a simple foundation for effective, easy-to-execute user testing. In this exercise, you and some friends will explore this technique together.

Made by the Mozilla Science Lab

  1. Everyone independently come up with two short tasks that someone should be able to complete using a tool you're currently developing. If you don't have such a project right now, pick an existing piece of software you think other participants may not be familiar with, and use it instead.
  2. Take turns selecting a random person to try using your software to complete the tasks you described. While the user is attempting to complete the tasks, everyone else should remain quiet and observe; is the user communicating why they're doing what they're doing, and how they're interpreting what they're interacting with? Make sure everyone gets a turn to be the user, and have their project tested.
  3. After each test, discuss and answer the following questions:
    • For the person running the test, what surprised you about the user's choices? How did you expect people to behave, and why?
    • For the user, how did you expect to be able to complete the tasks set to you? Where did the software fail to meet your assumptions or expectations?
    • How could this software be made more intuitive for the user? Are there any similar tools the user might be familiar with, that would inform how to make this project similarly more familiar?