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Chapter 3. Usability on the Cheap > Thrifty User Testing

Thrifty User Testing

User testing is one area in which you can spend quite a bit of money if you have it: You can hire a firm that specializes in this area, or you can set up a usability lab with video cameras and other gear to monitor sample user groups as they browse your site or attempt to perform specific tasks within it. But if you are working on a shoestring budget, you will have to find another way to address usability.

My parents met as juniors at the University of Detroit in 1965. Their courtship was modest: My dad usually took my mom out for tea and saltines. After the feast, it was college hoops. The dates were not fancy, but they worked. Two years later, my folks got hitched. Today they are still together and happy. Sure, if the dates had been better funded, they might have seen more of the city, but the basketball and crackers were enough for them to spend time together, get to know one another, and realize that they were on to something good. The recipe for successful talking is the same for user testing.


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