As User Experience designers, one of the most important parts of our role is user testing. We do this to understand our audience, to find out if what we’re creating is usable and to capture ideas about how to make it better.

Showing real users our design ideas allows us to find out what works and what doesn’t, so that we can work on improving the design by fixing any issues or challenges they faced.

To help us get the most accurate feedback when showing users a prototype of a product (this could be an online form or a webpage, for example) we use a user testing recording software called Lookback.  Lookback allows us to record in-person testing where we’re sat with the user and remote user testing where a user participates remotely and a session is set up by sending out a link to them ahead of time.

Advantages of using Lookback in user testing

It records the session

With Lookback, we can record the audio, user interaction behaviour and on-screen journeys while a user uses a product on a mobile or computer. One of the main benefits is that it’s a live user testing session and we can speak to the user as they’re exploring the designs, whether the session is being conducted in-person or remotely. Recordings are then uploaded and stored in Lookback.

All the sessions are saved for later

Having the recordings stored so we can watch them back later allows us to capture accurate quotes from the users. This is something we rely on when we discuss the feedback with the rest of the design team and stakeholders. When analysing the feedback, it’s important to understand exactly what the user said about a particular feature and how they said it.

Another benefit of Lookback is that the sessions are saved so we can watch them back at any time. This is really useful, as you always have the option to share some of the sessions with the rest of the design team if needed. If any past projects need revisiting to iterate on, a playback of the interviews can help to recap some of the pain points people faced.

We can observe behaviour and facial expressions

Lookback lets us watch the recording afterwards, so we can observe user’s behaviour and facial expressions. A person’s behaviour while using a product tells us a lot about how usable (or unusable) it is. Observing a person’s behaviour, such as their body language and facial expressions, allows us to gain a deeper insight into what they’re really thinking and feeling.

We can fully concentrate on what the user is saying

As we encourage users to think aloud and talk about what they’re seeing, thinking, liking and disliking as they use a product, being able to listen to them whilst watching what screen they’re talking about helps us to know what changes need to be made. Before we used a recording tool, it was difficult for the person transcribing the interview to see what page the user was talking about. With Lookback, there are no distractions diverting our attention away from the user, as we know that the session is being recorded. This allows us to fully concentrate on the interview questions and engage with the user throughout the session. Being able to really listen to what they’re saying and observe how they interact with a product gives us a real insight into how useable it is and what issues they may face.

We get more accurate, reliable feedback

Before we started using Lookback, we had to type the user’s responses as they used the product. This wasn’t ideal as it could potentially affect the accuracy of the responses. This is because it’s difficult to capture exactly what a person is saying as they’re quickly clicking through a prototype. It also meant that we always had to go testing in pairs (someone to type up and someone to ask the questions). This wasn’t efficient as it relied on two people always being available. With Lookback, we have the flexibility of only one of us testing, which is great when we want to test something at short notice.

Overall, Lookback has made a real difference to the way we do our user testing. It has relieved some of the pain points we once faced and has allowed us to test more efficiently and get more valuable, accurate feedback. 

If you’d like to get involved in helping to shape the council’s digital offer via its website please get in touch.