Real-time collaboration with a document camera

20 Oct 2014

As noted in another post, I got an IPEVO document camera to use in usability studies. I also used it in a GoToMeeting conference call with a client the other day.

We had been doing some quick prototyping at his office, using the whiteboard. We didn’t have time to get together for the next meeting, but I connected the document camera and used it as the webcam input to GoToMeeting so he could see what I was sketching. I put a printout of the latest Balsamiq mockup under the camera and marked it up as we were talking.

Aside from impressing the client, it was a handy way to work together remotely.

Camera, pencil and paper for collaborative sketching

What tools and tricks do you use for remote collaboration?

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What do they do when they can’t do what they want to do?

5 May 2014

I watched people create forms in a study and saw a creative workaround for an unclear feature.

The model that the participants were copying had a Submit button, and the program automatically inserted one in the form. That seemed like a convenience, but there was no way for users to know that would happen.

There was no way to insert the button because it was automatic. One creative person inserted a text box and made the default value be “Submit”:

One form with a text box that says "Submit" and one with a Submit buttonIt looked like a Submit button, sort of. And it made the participant feel like he accomplished the task, but it was confusing and stressful to figure out.

The lesson is that people often do things we don’t expect. Sometimes customer research like this usability study is the only way to find that out and prepare for it.