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Types of Tests

Typically there is one person who oversees (or in some cases does) all the usability testing. This person's sole role is to evaluate the quality of the design as it works for people. The usability tester doesn't have to be the designer (even though it often works out that way); he or she just needs an intimate knowledge of how the system works and familiarity with how to run a usability test. There are two popular ways to test a speech-recognition application: the Wizard of Oz approach and the classical approach.

Wizard of Oz Usability Testing

Named for the classic film's “man behind the curtain” who had no real power or wizardry, Wizard of Oz[2] testing is performed without a real system—only a real design.

[2] The term “Wizard of Oz” as applied to usability testing comes from J. F. Kelly, and can be found in his unpublished doctoral dissertation, “Natural Language and Computers: Six empirical steps for writing an easy-to-use computer application,” The Johns Hopkins University, 1983. (It can be obtained from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.)


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