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eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit
San Francisco, May 4-7, 2008

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User Testing Workshop, Thursday, May 8

Track Descriptions | Keynotes | Schedule at a Glance | Speakers

Chris Nodder
Full-Day Tutorial

User testing is cheap to perform and-when done early and often-it can save months of development effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Even if you can’t justify hiring a company to do user testing for you, performing one quick usability study yourself with nothing more than a pen, a notepad, and a stopwatch will give you enough material to keep your development team busy for many weeks.

In this tutorial, we’ll explore the skills you need to conduct your own usability tests. You’ll discover techniques that require minimal budget and only a few days of time, yet can still uncover major usability issues in software, hardware, and websites.

What You’ll Learn

In this session, you’ll learn how to quickly and cheaply run your own user testing sessions:

Course Outline

Why conduct usability research?
Discount usability testing: why only five participants?
Qualitative versus quantitative testing
The “think aloud” protocol
The components of usability
How to measure usability
Planning a study
Lab setup options
Recruiting participants
Identifying target users
Creating a screener
Tips for finding qualified participants
Writing good tasks for the study
Exploratory and directed tasks
Task logistics: order, number, timing
Conducting a study
Tips for study facilitators
How to interact with participants
Managing observers
Analyzing and reporting the findings
Affinity diagrams
Priority and severity ratings
Different report types for different situations
The politics of usability reports
Communicating and tracking findings to resolution
Ethical considerations in usability testing
How these techniques fit in with other main usability methods
Paper and low-fidelity prototyping
Expert reviews
Field studies
Participatory design
Card sorting
Remote testing


This full-day tutorial includes lectures and exercises.


Copies of the presentation slides.

Who Should Attend?

This tutorial is for anyone who wants to conduct usability tests, or who wants some background in usability testing before hiring external testers. This session is intended for people who have either never conducted a usability test or who are relatively new to the discipline.


Chris Nodder a User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. He works with large and small clients across Europe and the US, in industries as diverse as financial services, health care, entertainment, e-commerce, telecommunications, government, intranets, and highly specialized B2B sectors. He coauthored the NN/g reports on B2B usability and wishlists and gift giving, conducting focus groups, user studies, and field research. Before joining NN/g, Nodder worked as a usability consultant at NatWest Bank in the UK, and then as a senior user researcher at Microsoft Corp. His experiences managing the usability group at NatWest are captured in the book The Politics of Usability. During his seven years at Microsoft, Nodder was responsible for many products, including the user experience for XP Service Pack 2, a major upgrade to Windows XP (documented in the book Security and Usability). He has created personas, reality TV episodes, and even whole rooms (“usertoriums”) as ways of getting developers to walk in their customers’ shoes. Nodder earned an M.S. in human-computer interaction from Guildhall University, London, and a B.S. in psychology from the Polytechnic of East London. He has presented at and spoken on panels for conferences such as UPA, CHI, Group, CSCW, and British HCI.

Register Now!Register early as previous eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits have sold out.

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