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Question-asking Protocol 

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, Norwood, NJ
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