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What is it?
The question-asking protocol simply takes thinking aloud one step further
in that instead of waiting for users to vocalize their thoughts, you prompt
them by asking direct questions about the product. Their ability (or lack
of ) to answer your questions can help you see what parts of the product
interface were obvious, and which were obtuse.
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. Also ask them pointed, direct questions about the
product; for example, "How would you send the email message?" Their response,
either in terms of the product being tested or in other products from their
past experience, will provide insights into their mental model of the product.
When should I use this technique?
Use this technique during any phase of development.
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