Synchronous remote usability testing: a new approach facilitated by virtual worlds
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This study proposes a new methodology for conducting synchronous remote usability studies using a three-dimensional virtual usability testing laboratory built using the Open Wonderland toolkit. This virtual laboratory method is then compared with two other commonly used synchronous usability test methods: the traditional lab approach and WebEx, a web-based conferencing and screen sharing approach. A study was conducted with 48 participants in total, 36 test participants and 12 test facilitators. The test participants completed 5 tasks on a simulated e-commerce website. The three methodologies were compared with respect to the following dependent variables: the time taken to complete the tasks; the usability defects identified; the severity of these usability defects; and the subjective ratings from NASA-TLX, presence and post-test subjective questionnaires.
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