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Think-Aloud Protocols for Website Usability Testing

Video, Web Resource - January 23, 2013
Author/Editors: Erica Olmstead-Hawala, Betty Murphy
Organization: DigitalGov University

Usability professionals routinely use the Think-Aloud protocol (TA) during their tests—encouraging test participant to vocalize their thoughts, reactions, and frustrations. It's a great way to find out what your participants are thinking. There are many different kinds of TA protocols, however, and some can have unexpected effects on usability test results. This webinar reviews an empirical, between-subjects study the presenters conducted on the use of TA protocols in usability testing of a federal data-dissemination website. This double-blind study used three think-aloud protocols: traditional protocol (no comment from facilitator except "Keep Talking"), speech-communication protocol (facilitator can ask for elaboration), and coaching protocol (facilitator can actively probe and offer help if participant is struggling).