Videotaping (was Cost Savings Hurt)

5 Nov 2003 - 3:39pm
10 years ago
2 replies
474 reads
Jay Goldman
2003

On Nov 5, 2003, at 3:27 PM, Ron Vutpakdi wrote:

> We have run some tests where we're using a screen recorder (Camtasia,
> among others) to grab
> the screen action (on the laptop) while the camcorder records the
> participant's face.

Most lab setups I've seen involve a 'face cam' to capture user
reactions. Having run many sessions and captured them to video tape, I
can't say I've ever reviewed the face cam footage. The truth is that we
rarely showed anyone something that went so far as to elicit an actual
physical reaction that wasn't discernible from the audio track or their
on-screen mouse movements ("Oh my god! Run! It's a graphical DBMS!" was
a common reaction from CLUI-types, but never to the point of distorted
facial expressions or desperate grabs at the one-way mirror).

I wonder how much of the world of usability testing is a carryover from
'the way we've always done things' - we taped the user's reactions in
our sessions because there was a face cam setup in the lab and it was
standard protocol to insert a tape in the Face Cam VCR and a tape in
the Screen Converter VCR and hit record. To bring back the earlier
discussion about taping in a fresh new light: has anyone used their
face cam footage for a practical purpose?

Jay

------
Jay Goldman, President
Radiant Core: Design + Develop + Interact
t: 416.941.1551 f: 416.941.9316 c: 416.704.4283

Comments

5 Nov 2003 - 4:11pm
Pete Gordon - U...
2004

Good question. I would sure like to know others answers to that (is
the face valuable in video taping?). I do see some value in being able
to communicate the body language of users back to others inside and
outside the organization. I know that even as a software engineer
there are nuances of body language that would help to communicate to me
the user experience if I was watching it; that may not be able to be
communicated with just audio and screen. What are others opinions?

I am looking at other software that is geared towards User Researchers
also, such as ActiveGroup and FocusVision. They both offer Video
Streaming services for Focus Group studies, in these situations there
is no screen to record just the people that are participating in the
focus group. In those cases the video streams of the users are the
only thing that is seen as valuable--and the only thing provided.

Thanks!
Pete Gordon
http://www.usersfirst.com

On Wednesday, November 5, 2003, at 03:39 PM, Jay Goldman wrote:

> On Nov 5, 2003, at 3:27 PM, Ron Vutpakdi wrote:
>
>> We have run some tests where we're using a screen recorder (Camtasia,
>> among others) to grab
>> the screen action (on the laptop) while the camcorder records the
>> participant's face.
>
> Most lab setups I've seen involve a 'face cam' to capture user
> reactions. Having run many sessions and captured them to video tape, I
> can't say I've ever reviewed the face cam footage. The truth is that
> we rarely showed anyone something that went so far as to elicit an
> actual physical reaction that wasn't discernible from the audio track
> or their on-screen mouse movements ("Oh my god! Run! It's a graphical
> DBMS!" was a common reaction from CLUI-types, but never to the point
> of distorted facial expressions or desperate grabs at the one-way
> mirror).
>
> I wonder how much of the world of usability testing is a carryover
> from 'the way we've always done things' - we taped the user's
> reactions in our sessions because there was a face cam setup in the
> lab and it was standard protocol to insert a tape in the Face Cam VCR
> and a tape in the Screen Converter VCR and hit record. To bring back
> the earlier discussion about taping in a fresh new light: has anyone
> used their face cam footage for a practical purpose?
>
> Jay
>
> ------
> Jay Goldman, President
> Radiant Core: Design + Develop + Interact
> t: 416.941.1551 f: 416.941.9316 c: 416.704.4283
>
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Pete Gordon
SPS Commerce
Manager of Fourthchannel Services
1275 Kinnear Road 
Columbus, OH 43212
Work: 614-340-1447
Fax: 614-340-1449
Email: pgordon at fourthchannel.com

Customer Support: 866-205-1440
Web:
www.fourthchannel.com
www.spscommerce.com
 

 

5 Nov 2003 - 4:56pm
Josh Seiden
2003

I only videotape tests about 10% of the time. I don't
recommend taping to my clients for routine tests, and I
don't produce video reports unless the report audience
warrants it.

Good audiences for videos include execs, to customers,
and offsite teams. First round tests are also good to
tape.

When I do tape, I use picture-in-picture recording. The
face is usually in the little frame, the software in
the larger frame.

The face is more powerful that the voice alone. It
gives viewers something to latch on to, and it
humanizes the results. The "data" is all in the large
frame, but the story is all in the face.

In fact, if I had to choose only one shot, it would be
the face, not the software.

JS

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