Usability Testing with your Mac & iPhone

Adrian Trefas
Jun 27, 2019 · 4 min read
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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

I did many usability tests already using this simple setup. You don’t need any additonal software subscriptions or paid apps. I recommend it when you don’t have the resources for a more advanced setup. It does a pretty decent job.

You need a MacBook with its charger, an iPhone and a cable to connect the phone. You’ll need to keep the phone connected at all times.

If your environment is a bit noisy you might need a microphone to keep close to you and the usability test participant (the user, the person you test with).

For sound, I used my wireless headphones. They did the job. For better sound, I recommend better sound equipment. It has been kind of a problem, the sound quality, for me. These are my headphones: Pioneer SE-MS67BT. I held them in my hand close to my and the participant’s faces. Be sure to select the headphones as audio input.

You’ll be sitting beside your dear participant. This way you’ll both be in the video feed (that I describe below). You’ll be able to record both their reaction and your performance during the usability test; and learn from it.

You’ll need an app called Quick Camera, QuickTime Player (already delivered by MacOS), Zoom and Mural.

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Quick Camera will be displaying the video feed of you and the Participant. You just need to start it and place it in the left side of your screen.

QuickTime will display a video feed from the iPhone. Cmd+Shift+N for a New Movie Recording (you won’t actually be doing any recording in QuickTime). Beside the record button you’ll need to click on the drop-down icon and select your iPhone as the source: http://osxdaily.com/2016/02/15/howto-record-iphone-screen-mac-quicktime/

Zoom will record and screencast your whole screen to an audience that will take notes during the usability test. Send out the meeting ID or link to your audience or peer before starting out the usability test. Also, start the screen recording.

Please note that Zoom only allows for about one hour of meeting time in the free version. If you go over one hour, you’ll need to just start a new meeting.

Finally, Mural will be used by your audience to take notes: either answers to your questions or observations from the usability test. It’s collaborative so multiple peers of yours will be able to take notes simultaneously.

The usability test prework

Now, of course, you’ll need to have the prework done:

  • You’ll need a printed-out test plan that you will follow during the test.
  • A prototype or app on the phone to test.
  • A gift to give to the Participant after the user test is done. My gift usually consists of a gift card or voucher that the Participant can use to buy themselves something nice.

This article doesn’t supply the whole workflow and etiquette of the usability test. You can learn about it reading these items:

Choose a location where you won’t be bothered much. I did this kind of usability test in cafés mostly. A quieter location is even better.

Grab a dear one and test it out first. Test any app on your phone to see this setup in action.

Let me know

Let me know in the comments if you used this setup and how it has worked out. Let me know of any other setup you used in the past and how it’s better (or not) than the one I presented here.

Thanks for reading my article!

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Adrian Trefaș is a Co-Founder at UX.Rocks, working as a Design Sprint facilitator, Product Designer, and Speaker. You can stay in touch on Instagram or LinkedIn.

UX Rocks

We help startups and organizations to accelerate innovation…

Adrian Trefas

Written by

UX Designer, Design Sprinter, Co-founder at UX.Rocks. Personal info at adriantrefas.com.

UX Rocks

UX Rocks

We help startups and organizations to accelerate innovation and test business strategies by running Design Sprint and UX workshops.

Adrian Trefas

Written by

UX Designer, Design Sprinter, Co-founder at UX.Rocks. Personal info at adriantrefas.com.

UX Rocks

UX Rocks

We help startups and organizations to accelerate innovation and test business strategies by running Design Sprint and UX workshops.

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