User experience, web, technology

UserVue review

UserVue is an application from TechSmith. At work we’ve used it recently to do remote user interviews, where we’ve had people who use our services talk us through some emailed reports they received from us.

It allows us to view and record a user’s screen, and save it as a WMV or Morae file. Additionally, it can record a phone call you have with the user. And, you can have colleagues at other computers observe the session and they can take part in an observer chat and submit notes along the way.

There’s that saying, “Hunger is the best sauce,” and I think the user experience design community has been very hungry for a tool like this. So, at the moment, I’m quite happy with UserVue.

It was quite easy to use, and it worked well.

Now, to save others some frustration, let me tell you about how it didn’t work well.

When I first tried it, everything seemed to be going great. I conducted a 1 hour interview, and at the end it seemed to save the recording. Then, when I went to view the recording, I realized that the phone call was not included in the recording! The best part of that interview was, go figure, in what was said. I was distraught.

Why? UserVue only works on Windows. I was running Windows XP Pro in a virtual machine on my MacBook Pro laptop, using VMWare Fusion. Apparently, there is a problem with that configuration.

I tested UserVue on that same computer, but instead of in a virtual machine, I booted into Windows using BootCamp. UserVue worked fine that way, including recording the phone call.

User experience, web, technology

A tech company in Okemos? Who’d a thought…

So a few weekends ago I was in the East Lansing Barnes & Noble children’s section with Lila and Chey; we, I mean, Lila was playing with the wooden train set they have. Another couple with a two-year-old train set afficianado came over, and Chey and I started chatting with the couple.

It turns out this lady we met is a product manager at a company called TechSmith in Okemos. They make screen capture software called SnagIt as well as beefed-up screen recording software that they call Camtasia Studio. The software sounds very useful in user-testing. I understand it also sports the ability to record facial expressions via a web cam, and it exports its data as Flash movie files (SWF).