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June 24 Think Aloud Event – Recap

by on June 29, 2010

Last Thursday, June 24th, the UX Group met to learn more about the Think Aloud method from Guelph Master’s student, Amy Gill. Amy graciously gave us a presentation on her Master’s work, which has been focussing on learning about the psychology roots of the Think Aloud method, and how it can and should be used by UX practitioners today. We had almost 30 attendees this month, which made the discussions lively and insightful.

The session taught us a lot of about how Think Aloud was created, and some very interesting guidelines for how to use the method to gather the best results. The presentation was a great lead-in to an exciting discussion. Amy brought to light a number of interesting points, including:
  • Think Aloud was originally created in the psychology tradition to learn about the thought processes inside of subjects’ heads
  • We can gather great quotes to convince others of changes that need to be made
  • It can provide us with insight into the mental models and the assumptions of the user
  • The method doesn’t alter though patterns if we stick to level 1 and level 2 statements that do not require extra thinking or meta thinking.
  • When we ask “Why?” the user has to start thinking about what they should say – altering their thoughts
  • Asking “Why?” can also produce inaccurate reports as users tell us what they think we want to hear
After Amy’s presentation, the discussion broadened to include topics such as:
  • When we ask “Why?”
  • How we know when usability testing is being done “correctly” or is having a positive impact
  • How people in the community incorporate usability testing, and when
If you missed Amy’s presentation, she has graciously provided us with a number of resources which were used or mentioned throughout her talk:
Thanks to Amy and everyone who showed up to see her present and participate in the insightful discussions. See you in July!
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