Traditionally, there have been two ways ot conduct usability testing for websites and apps. The first was to bring in a group of test subjects (a “panel”) and put them in front of the website or app while developer’s quiz them on what they’re seeing and using. The other is the traditional beta testing in which users are given access to the live application via the Web and allowed to use it, giving feedback as they see fit.
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. The first method gives good sight-seen feedback as developers can see how users are apt to interact with their app. The downer is that this often is under pressure for the user, who knows he or she is being watched. The second method gives a lot of objective and real-world feedback, but usually lacks the gains seen by watching users hands-on with the site.
OpenHallway.com is a combination of both methods that aims to have the best parts of each as its focus.
It works by giving the user access to the app and recording not only their keystrokes an clicks as they move through the app, but also by recording sound so that the user can give verbal feedback as they progress. Everything is recorded as an on-screen video showing the user’s interaction with the app and playing back sound as it was recorded during the session.
Users can be asked to perform a series of actions, focusing their usage of the app on tasks specific to the app, thus showing how users might interact with it.
Best of all, no requirement to set up the review is required, only online access to the app. OpenHallway allows testers to access and be recorded from anywhere, world-wide.
Pricing for OpenHallway starts at $19/month with a 500mb storage limit and 90 minutes of video. More and more storage, video time, and other options are added when upgrading to larger packages up to the Premium level at $199/month wiht 9gb/30 hours and several extras like API access.
For the serious development group or firm, this is something to consider as an alternative to the traditional options.