Conduct usability testing with Labcoat

Labcoat was initially created to support Usability Testing. We wanted to test a new design for some key pages (like the homepage) on a very large, existing website.

Typically the way to solve this would be one of the following:

  • The facilitator could manually switch between mockups (paper or screen-based) and the real site, or
  • create a small prototype, maybe 10-20 pages that included the new screens but had enough of the rest of the site to be somewhat convincing

However, these methods have some challenges:

  • Switching between mockups and a real website is cumbersome and isn’t very convincing.
  • A small, standalone prototype doesn’t reflect the size of the real thing, instead features lots of dead-ends.
  • Fake content. Working on a news site? How many articles will you mockup? One, five? Working on an online banking app? Whose data will you use? Not the participant’s, surely.

Labcoat addresses this by letting you:

  • The site feels real, because it is real. Everything works. Search works. Every link goes somewhere.
  • Use real data and content. Every article has the new design. Online banking has their real balance and account history.
  • You can see how real people solve problems. Maybe your particpant actually uses Google to navigate your site because your navigation is impossible to use.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve this (or any) documentation?
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