I made a cheap rig for recording phone usability tests in less than 30 minutes


Hello community! Thought I would share my DIY phone usability testing rig I made today.

A clean shot of the completed rig.

It came out as as well as could be expected, but the weight of it is a huge problem. The flexible metal arm is simply too heavy. It makes it somewhat difficult to handle, because it is a fairly large appendage that weighs almost twice as much at 368 grams as the largest iPhone 7 at 188 grams.

Edit: So I tested it, both during pilot testing and an actual usability test. Yea, it’s heavy, but noone seems to comment on it, nor how it was to hold. This isn’t to say that it isn’t bulky and weird, but I take it as an indication that it isn’t as big an issue as I had feared it would be.


On to the build!

[1/10] So I bought this Universal Mobile Phone Holder for this express purpose, hoping it would fit my needs. It needed some modification, so I documented the process. Don’t question the weird things in my room.

[2/10] First challenge was to make the ball joint much more rigid. The usual purpose for this ball joint is to hold the phone, which is pretty light, but in my case, I want it to keep the rubber-coated plastic arm as static as possible. This arm is pretty heavy, by the way. To increase friction in the ball joint, I cut a square piece from a rubber-like piece of camo tape I had lying around.

[3/10] Nice and snug. Works like a charm. The ball joint is now much more rigid.

[4/10] To reduce weight, I did not want the metal clamp at the other end to hold the camera. It was very easy to remove, luckily, leaving me with a stump.

[5/10] Because of how my webcam is designed to wrap around the edges of a monitor, I needed some padding for it to wrap around my cylindrical “stump” end.

[6/10] That’ll do.

[7/10] You didn’t think there wouldn’t be duct tape, did you? I lathered it up real nice.

[8/10] Done. As said, I wish I could change the weight of it. It offsets the balance of the device, but the setup seems very sturdy, at least.

[9/10] Shot of the rear. The clamp prevents you from holding the phone like you usually do, but the extrusion actually helps the balance-issue a little. I had no trouble using my phone like this.

[10/10] Took it to a kitchen scale for a bit of weight-shaming.

I recorded a short demo. The microphone is awful, but the video quality is superb for what I need it for.

Thanks for reading this post. Hope my documentation of the experience helps someone.


Well now I feel lazy. Good work!


Too cool! Good on you (both for doing this and sharing your process).


Incredible. I’d like to thank you especially for detailing your process since learning about process (in and of itself) is my current ‘project’ I’m trying to teach myself about.


Glad that I can contribute! I definitely learn from documenting my process, too.


Amazing folk!!! Iwill!!