Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Motivating usability test participants

If you're planning tasks for users to undertake in an upcoming usability test session, this is essential reading.

David Travis talks through 6 different approaches to setting tasks, what they're good for and when you might use them. By going through the strengths of each, you begin to see the weaknesses of others in particular contexts.

What you want to achieve is a situation where your participant really engages with, and invests in, the task you've set them. If they're just going through the motions, you're unlikely to gain real depth of insight from your efforts.

His 6 categories are:
  • Scavenger hunt.
  • The Reverse Scavenger hunt.
  • Self-generated tasks.
  • Part self-generated.
  • ‘Skin in the game’ tasks.
  • Troubleshooting tasks.
I found this short article fascinating - real food for thought. First time I'd come across a taxonomy for this kind of thing. Well worth a look.

Creating usability test tasks that really motivate users - article by David Travis

1 comment:

  1. Neil,

    Motivating user testers has been a topic of much thought for me. I am the founder of a user testing service that will be launching soon. It is titled YouEye and it is focused on affordable online user testing with webcam eye tracking. Check it out at to learn more. This is create content for educating our customers in how to write tasks that they want tested.