The importance of garage junk during a beta test.

Our Usability and QC friends will appreciate this. Last week we jerry-rigged a pretty cool device to help our app's beta testing efforts. See video here.

Going into user testing, we wanted to get a real good look at how people would use the app and we didn't want to forget or miss a thing. We wanted to video the app being used. We didn't want shaky footage and we didn't want to force the testers to hold the device perfectly still. What we needed was a setup where an iPhone could be in a locked camera view with the testers screen. Now, someone has probably already gone and invented one of these, but we figured it wouldn't be much trouble to build one.

After a quick trip to the garage I found some particle board, a metal brace used to connect 2x4s, some electrical tape and some velcro. And after about 30 minutes we had this very ugly yet incredibly useful thing... that we don't have a name for.

We set our ten test subjects up with this device and let them go run through the app. We'd give them tasks to complete and towards the end we would ask them some questions about their experience and we got the whole ting on video. So later on, we could analyze the video and create our list of things to change. While that certainly made things convenient, this approach really rocked when getting to the bottom of an unexpected crash, just knowing exactly what led to the crash was a huge help in addressing bug issues more efficiently.

It could use some tweaking for sure, but this little contraption has made our beta test week a whole lot better.

Categories: Apps iPhone Testing Utility


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