Research driven think-aloud and cognitive probing protocols in user testing

Coral 1

Think-aloud protocols are the primary technique used by usability professionals when conducting usability tests. The reason for using think-aloud protocols is because the test administrator cannot observe what the user is thinking. The usability professional hopes to get an understanding of the users’ expectations and expressions of surprise when things don’t go as expected. As users think aloud, they give a running commentary of their thought-action process. It is the role of the test administrator to listen to what the user is saying and watch what the user is doing. From the users’ verbalizations, the test administrator gets a better understanding of where the user experiences difficulties and what the user problems are with the interface. This tutorial will introduce students to think-aloud protocols, what the different variants are, and when to use them in a user session. Students will also have the opportunity to practice the technique.

Entry level Tools and Techniques