Boats, Trains & Shopping Malls: Testing the Usability of Products in their Natural Habitat: Midwest UX 2013

In her presentation at Midwest UX 2013, Kathi Kaiser discussed three case studies of user research in the real world, highlighting challenges and providing practical advice for recruiting, session recording and planning for the unexpected.


  1. Need to be ready for anything when you’re out in the real world, participants may not be willing to come another day.
  2. When Conducting User Research in Public

     * Establish a neutral meeting place for your participants

     * Have a plan for bystander interruptions

     * Strive for high quality video and audio

  3. Key Takeaways

     * Use lab for cognition (users thought device had touchscreen); use field for context (how environment can impact usability)
     * Plan for the unexpected. The more you plan, the more successful you will be.

     * Know your limits

     * Have fun