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What is it?
Co-discovery is a type of usability testing where two participants attempt
to perform tasks together while being observed. The advantage of this method
over the thinking aloud protocol is two-fold:
in the workplace, most people have someone else available for help
the interaction between the two participants can bring out more insights
than a single participant vocalizing his or her thoughts
How do I do it?
As with the thinking aloud method, you begin by providing your participants
with the product to be tested (or a prototype of its interface) and a scenario
of tasks to perform. Ask the participants to perform the tasks using the
product, and explain what they're thinking about while working with the
product's interface. Have them help each other in the same manner they
would if they were working together to accomplish a common goal using the
When should I use this technique?
This technique can be used during any phase of development. It is ideal
for Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) products, groupware, and
other products designed to be used by workers in team environments.
Who can tell me more?
Click on any of the following links for more information:
Dumas, JS, and Redish, Janice, A
Practical Guide to Usability Testing, 1993, Ablex,
ISBN 0-89391-991-8 (paper)
Lindgaard, G., Usability
Testing and System Evaluation: A Guide for Designing Useful Computer Systems,
1994, Chapman and Hall, London, U.K. ISBN 0-412-46100-5
Rubin, Jeffrey, Handbook
of Usability Testing, 1994, John Wiley
and Sons, New York, NY ISBN 0-471-59403-2 (paper)
All content copyright © 1996 - 2019 James Hom