From a previous posting, you know that I was selected to participate in a Microsoft Usability Study. This morning, I visited the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, WA and took part in the 2 hour study. Here’s what happened:
I met the “Researcher” who took me in a small room that was outfitted with various cameras and a 1-way mirrored wall (where I assumed the tester would be sitting and observing). I was then asked to do a series of tasks testing a particular software package. The tester would ask me to do certain things, and question why I did something one way, and if I was confused or had questions on the interface layout, etc. It was actually pretty interesting how they do this, and I’m glad to see that Microsoft seeks outside testers to make their products better. Apparently, they do this on a routine basis and have people in for testing quite frequently.
After the testing, they provided me with a gratuity certificate to obtain a free Microsoft product from their Usability Center. They had several software products such as Vista, Office Pro 2007, etc. as well as hardware products such as a Microsoft Notebook mouse, headphones, Zune Dock, etc. (no Zunes, however). The product that I really wanted was Visual Studio Pro 2008, but unfortunately that wasn’t on the available list to choose from. So, I opted for Office Pro 2007.
So if you live in the Redmond, WA area, I suggest you go online and sign up for the Usability Testing Program. Definitely worth 2 hours of your time for some free software!