Thursday, January 22, 2009

Userfly: hosted screen recording for usability testing

UserFly touts itself as a tool to do usability studies by just adding a line of javascript to your pages. In reality, it is a screen recording tool that stores the actions your users did in real time.

The recording works, although since the pages seem to be captured from the Userfly servers and then overlayed with actions from the browser, you will find that if the user is already logged in, Userfly might not playback actions on those pages correctly.

The service seems like it's still in an experimental stage. IMO it still needs some polishing (the demo video is narrated by someone with a cold), and personally adding the javascript to one of my sites really slowed down page loading.

To be honest I would need more testing to judge if it works or not. I love the idea of just adding the javascript and getting instant recordings of site visitors. from Chris Estreich on Vimeo.

On a side note, a full usability test consists of more than just going by screen recordings of users, just make sure you read up on the subject before actually embarking on a testing spree "just" with this tool =)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Userfly seems to be a great tool for observing visitors using your website, but unless you know what each visitor's goal is, it is impossible to draw any conclusions as to whether they had a successful visit, whether they had difficulty using your site, whether they got lost, frustrated, etc...

So while it might be fun to watch people using your website, Userfly can't be used as any kind of analytical tool to help improve your website.

As the author said, a full usability test consists of more than just going by screen recordings.