Video Record Users When Testing

Sure, I’ve read a lot of articles on user testing and the importance of recording the sessions on video. Sure I have done that and have caught a lot of details. Recently however I caught one interesting detail that maybe I did not read about.

We at Internap publish a weekly series called Ask the Expert. During the early stages we were testing a bunch of things – from content material to speakers. When we finally had a good baseline we began publishing the series and saw decent traffic and completion rate. Nothing impressive.

I like impressive.

So I began working on a hypothesis, mostly on the content of the video. When I was done, I invited about 10 users along with our video producer. Armed with a questionnaire, quiet conference room, and a video camera we began the test.

I won’t get into the results that we found about the content but there was one interesting behaviour that we caught in the video recording. Almost all of the users, about 25% into the video, moved their cursor over the video. This resulted in unhiding the scrub bar which is an indicator of length of the video.

This was key to us in helping us shape the content as well. Users have a limited time economy for a website or module within a website (like copy, video, forms). Our videos were not using that time properly and users were checking to see how much more of a commitment they had to the video.

This was a key finding for us. We have since cut and trimmed any fluff and intro and got straight to the meat and shortened the video up.

Retested.

Much better. Still not impressive numbers in views (of course I’d like to count that in millions). But engagement and completion has since soared.

I now place an even higher value on video recording all user testing sessions.

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