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Reading body language during user testing_UPA 2012
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Reading body language during user testing_UPA 2012


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Presentation for usability professionals at UPA 2012 about how to read body language during usability testing as a method to uncover

Presentation for usability professionals at UPA 2012 about how to read body language during usability testing as a method to uncover

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  • 1. by Brooke Baldwin
  • 2. Seems simple, no?the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which a person…communicates with others Merriam-Webster Dictionary Facialexpressions Hand gestures Body position Disposition
  • 3. People’s verbal commentaries and introspective reports are notoriously unreliable. Subjects in a laboratory setting are often highly suggestible and may unconsciously pick up what you want to hear and oblige by telling you that. V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., The Tell-Tale Brain
  • 4. During user testing for any software product, it is common for users to subconsciously want to please the moderator. This can skew results because misleading feedback can greatly impact how software features and designs are modified. Skew results to please the moderator Leave design flaws undiscovered
  • 5.  We’re predispositioned to be able to know what other people are feeling • mirror neurons - lots of years of biology It’s empathy. Exercise your amygdala! • What’s that? Part of your limbic system that processes emotional reactions (and the memory of emotion) • Pay attention to your own responses
  • 6. You help set the tone Listen and watch • Warm welcome • Dissonance of words & • Still your own body body? • Observe patterns; don’t rely • Ignore distractions on one gesture as evidence • Make eye contact as  Look for indications of stress appropriate  Probe when something • Mirror their body position doesn’t seem right (use good judgment)  Have another observer taking body language notes  Video tape the session for review later
  • 7.  Read gestures in clusters or patterns Look for congruence of words and body language Look for synchronicity of word and gesture Read gestures in context Sit next to your test participant (A), slightly facing them.
  • 8. Facial expressions research Mouth shrug = lying Chin thrust = angry Still body, ignoring distractions = interested Leaning towards = attentive to speaker Arms/legs crossed = reserved Sitting on hands or jiggling = nervous, apprehensive, or impatient Soft comforting gesture = self reassurance when a speaker does not believe themselves or has little confidence in what they are saying
  • 9. Person is interested and focused on what the other is saying
  • 10. Person does not have confidence in what they are saying when displaying a mouth shrug
  • 11.  Lying is a cooperative act False positive lies are much more common than false negative (10-20x more) Look for clusters of behaviors Asymmetry – do words and gestures match? BASIC 5 Steps • Baseline the behavior • Ask open-ended questions • Study the clusters • Intuit the gaps • Confirm Don’t ask “why”, ask “what made you do that?”
  • 12. Physical gesture and sPelotas?blend=6&ob=5#p/u/19/exkp verbal F2s5HOIcomment are not in agreement;asynchronous gestures
  • 13. Anthony Weiner BAA5F61531E81&v=L0z5k0mc5yk&feature =player_detailpage#t=45s
  • 14. Important life lesson
  • 15.  Pamela Meyer, Liespotting; TED 2011 Talk Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind Albert Mehrabian, Non-verbal Communication Joe Navarro & Marvin Karlins, What Every Body is Saying Allan & Barbara Pease, The Definitive Book of Body Language VS Ramachandran, The Tell Tale Brain Matthew Alexander, Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious Al Qaeda TerroristThank you!