Has anyone done user testing locally?

Has anyone done user testing locally? If so what is your set up and approach? how do you record them using the website and also their voice?

Hey, yea I’ve done it a couple of times. It can be done with one (powerful enough) laptop.
You just need:

  • a clear user account,
  • SW to record and/or stream it (OBS, Morae),
  • a paper script and NDA
  • a quiet room with a table and wheel-less chairs
  • someone to assist you with note-taking.

I usually add a phone recorder and maybe an extra external webcam to record something else than the subject’s face. This way you can have the screen, user’s face and whole body in one stream with audio and all.

Check eg. these guys and their videos and articles: Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users


thanks. when you say a clear user account what do you mean?

Well, when you use your laptop (or any that isn’t brand new), you probably customised Windows/MacOS and Chrome/Firefox in some ways. When you create a new user account, specifically for testing, it’s probably closer to what the user is familiar with. It’s also easier to reset it back to defaults, and your private data stays safe.

Of course, if you can, it’s best to just get a new laptop and configure it for testing from the start.

I’ve created a pretty hacked together set up for this before.

On the laptop the user will be testing on, set up a video chat. One that records is best, otherwise use a screen recorder in the background so you can capture the whole thing. (snagit works well). From the same laptop, share/present the screen. Now the screen and the user’s face will be captured. Of course it’s best to have this all set up and ready before the user comes in.

Hi, you can read about my experiences here Internal Usability Testing Labs

Recently we have started to move away from Morae for a number of reasons - firstly it is being decomissioned, secondly we found the setup quite time consuming and our development processes have changed meaning we needed a much more ititerative process. We are now using Microsoft Teams for our testing as this gives us all the capabilities we had before, we can still do it internally or remotely, and gives us slightly more flexibility in terms of not needed a designated lab.

There is also the quick & dirty method if setting up lab-like conditions is too much for some reason, or you don’t need stuff like eye-tracking and such.
Just take your prototype with you on whatever device it needs, and have users carry out the actions you want to examine. Works even better if you have an assistant observe, record & take notes as you go.
The pros of this method is how quickly you can get user data (good on an agile team), how cheap it is to do (iPhone + invision app or similar), and the fact that you can do it in the field if you want. Sometimes the lab setting can throw people off a bit, make them try too hard perhaps, and yield slightly…artificial results?
I guess the cons are that it may be a bit…well, dirty or primitive.
Just a perspective.

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