Usability Tools Podcast with Jared Spool & Brian Christiansen

Jared Spool discusses tips and tools for improving your site's user experience with Christine Perfetti and Brian Christiansen. They share someone UIE's most important findings from our decades of research on web design and usability.

Episode #7 Interview-Based Tasks for Usability Testing

October 1, 2007  ·  30 minutes

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In usability tests where we incorporate interview-based tasks, the participants interests are discovered, not assigned. Unlike traditional task design methods, the test facilitator and participant negotiate the tasks during the tests, instead of proceeding down a list of predefined tasks. There are many situations where this is the appropriate way to test a product.

Show Notes

Each week in our Usability Tools Podcast, I will be sitting down with UIE's Managing Director, Christine Perfetti to discuss tips and tools for improving your site's user experience. The goal of our weekly podcast is to share some of the most important findings from UIE's research on web design and usability.

This week, Christine Perfetti asked me about one of UIE's most popular usability testing techniques, Interview-based Tasks. A couple of years ago, I wrote an introductory article about interview-based tasks, and we've been getting questions about the technique ever since.

In usability tests where we incorporate interview-based tasks, the participants interests are discovered, not assigned. Unlike traditional task design methods, the test facilitator and participant negotiate the tasks during the tests, instead of proceeding down a list of predefined tasks. Because each task is drawn from the experience and interest of each participant, no two participants perform exactly the same tasks. In this podcast, Christine and I discuss:

» How interview-based tasks successfully engage users » How to create interview-based tasks » Why User Interface Engineering's researchers moved away from traditional task design » How to recruit users with this technique » How to combine interview-based tasks with other types of tasks » Where to learn more about task design: The excellent book by Ginny Redish and JoAnn Hackos, User and Task Analysis for Interface Design