Although I deal with issues of usability fairly regularly, usability is not fundamentally one of the chief areas I work in. It’s certainly an area I’m very interested in, and is closely related to accessibility, but I haven’t been involved in any full scale usability testing. So, it’s rather interesting to me that one of the first sponsors of this blog should prove to be the makers of a usability testing software package called Morae 2. jo

This is not a paid blog post, although the product was being advertised on this website.

This afternoon, I attended an online demonstration of the Morae 2 usability testing suite. To be frank, I was pretty impressed. The suite is divided into three basic modules: the recorder, the observer, and the manager. I’ll quickly describe the system. During a test session, the recorder module is used to record the behavior of the test subject as they navigate the software or website being tested. The observer module is able to monitor the behavior of the user via a combination of live video, live audio, and screen activity video. The observer is able to make live annotations to the test during the process which are then automatically set as markers on the video stream. Once the test is completed, the manager module allows the data to be manipulated in a wide variety of ways: automatically producing statistical graphs of the behavior of different users, comparison between users, etc. For a final product, the system can produce a video presentation showing how users interacted with the product.

This hardly indicates just how easy to use the software appeared to be. It was clear from the organization of the software that extensive usability testing had been conducted on the usability testing software itself (and the presenter said as much).

The system was designed to be extremely portable. It can easily be used as a portable package for use on the road, which is a nice feature for the traveling consultant doing usability testing. On the whole, I found the software to be very impressive.

Why am I writing this post?

Selling advertising on this site is something I want to do because I enjoy writing and would like to be able to commit more time to it. If it forms a part of my income, that can really help in allowing me to spare the time away from income-accruing work. However, I also want to be reasonably confident that what I’m advertising is a solid product which I’m willing to support. On the basis of the demonstration I attended, Morae sounds like a solid product which has a lot to offer.