Usability Study Video Highlights

Jakob Nielsen published a new article “User Testing is Not Entertainment“. The second half is actually about entertainment – sort of.

When you’re selecting highlights from usability study videos, you shouldn’t include a 10-minute clip of a user visiting 20 erroneous pages. Show the first one or two wrong clicks, then throw up a transition title that says “nine minutes later…,” and conclude with the clip where the user says, “This is a horrible website. I can’t find anything. I’m never coming back.”

Two entertaining minutes beat ten boring ones in a usability presentation. Not only will your team members and executives pay more attention to your findings, they’ll also be more likely to attend your next usability briefing.

To heighten drama, cut out the boring parts. Yes, these many accumulated mistakes are what really teach you why the user couldn’t find anything, but there are key differences in how you discover, present, and document problems.

When I originally wrote about usability videos, this was not the kind of videos I had in mind. But to be honest, I still want more videos to be available, so these edited “entertaining” short versions will be good too.

One important note that I think Jakob misses: Present a video with the “nine minutes later…” transition title, and you get a reaction from the audience. I have seen this every time Jakob presented an edited video on a conference.

If ever presenting videos (at conferences or at work), this fact could prove very useful, as it creates a sense of common agreement much stronger that spoken words. The power is in the transition page.

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