“Still the wanting comes in waves” – The Decemberists

I’m at a place at my organization where usability testing has become the norm, we have our own in-house lab, and the demand for the services is extremely high. I should be sitting on my perch celebrating right now, so why do I still have nagging doubts? What’s missing in this ideal scenario (that many User Experience practitioners are not blessed with)?

Usability testing is great at uncovering areas where users get stuck or confused, and we’ve made wonderful incremental improvements to many of our products this way. I’d hate to think what would have been released without it. But usability testing doesn’t uncover whether the users will want to use the product. How can we get there?

I’m super excited about the prospect of Eye Tribe’s new product which debuted at CES 2015, the world’s first $99 Eye Tracker. While there is definitely some development involved in getting this up and running, an affordable way to provide these insights to clients would be a true game changer. I want to be able to tell my clients, not only will your product be easy to use but users will want to download it, will want to stick with it, will keep coming back and (hopefully) tell their friends about it.

I’m not saying eye tracking can do all of these things, and I’d like to combine it with either mobile or true ethnography to get a true sense of how a product truly fits into users’ lives in a dynamic way. In an ideal world I’d have a setup where we can detect deep data like heart rates and sweating to get a sense of their engagement with products. I want to bring a much more scientific approach to usability testing, but the cost of doing so, so far, has been a major barrier. I’m so excited that it seems that this barrier is starting break down right before our eyes in 2015.