Why a good editor is essential for usability test footage
It’s never possible to have all the key stakeholders present at a usability test, nor is it necessary. Sometimes a live feed is used to beam footage of the participants directly into the boardrooms and offices of those involved in funding, initiating, designing and developing a website or app, but, once again, it’s not always possible to have everybody assembled at the right time. Therefore, providing video evidence is an essential requirement of usability testing.
Not only does video evidence allow the design/UX teams and all other interested parties to see how a user interacts with their product, it also offers the option of playing back key moments to get a real understanding of the application’s usability.
Obviously, usability testing isn’t a five minute process and with the number of test users taking part reaching into double and sometimes treble figures, it is rarely possible to provide video of all the participants performing every task. That’s what makes an editor essential; one who is versed in usability techniques, knows what to look for and can tell the right story.
A good editor will know how to piece together the footage so that it:
- Focuses on the issues – The finished reel will highlight the key problems hit upon during usability testing. It depends upon the amount of footage available, but generally around five clips should be used to illustrate each issue. These should reflect the diversity of participants involved, as well as give each a chance to have their voice heard throughout the finished video.
- Holds the stakeholder’s attention – There will be a significant amount of video to draw from, so the editor must be prepared to ‘kill his darlings’ when it comes to putting the finished item together. The editor must exercise discretion to ensure that the key messages aren’t lost due to unnecessarily overlong clips that cause the viewer’s mind to wander. A maximum of 60 seconds per clip is suggested. They must also use more dramatic clips to hold the attention of a less engaged audience.
- Labels the point – This is why the editor should be versed in usability testing, so that they can identify the key issues and ensure the video communicates clearly to the designers etc, where the users are finding fault. He should be able to distinguish between what are real issues and what is just user ‘ineptitude’ and tell the story that emphasises the former.
If the editor has managed to achieve all this in the video they deliver, then the results of the usability testing will be conveyed more clearly, allowing you to build a better, user-centric product.