Capturing observations

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Capturing observations as your session is taking place ensures you don’t miss the essential details as they arise. It also takes some of the load off after your session is complete, allowing you to quickly identify key findings.

Observations refer to any relevant things you see or hear during your usability testing sessions. In Reframer, you’ll capture your qualitative data in the form of individual observations.

Observations are things that you see or hear during your usability test.

If you have a dedicated notetaker, they can focus on taking notes while you facilitate the session.

If you’re on your own and don’t have a dedicated notetaker, it’s best to record your session and stay focused on your participant. You can listen back and take notes later.

What to include in your observations

When capturing observations, it’s important to focus not only on what your participant said but also what they did. There is often a difference between what people say they do, and what they actually end up doing. Capturing behavioral information can give your data an additional level of insight.

The role of a notetaker is not only to ensure key information is being recorded, but also to observe the session and make note of any behaviors and nonverbal cues (pauses, hesitations, looks of frustration or confusion and so on).

Take note of the important details — especially nonverbal cues.

Sometimes little things can have a big impact, so be sure to include smaller details in your observations. For example, a participant using an operating system they’re not familiar with may affect their ability to perform tasks.

Tips for capturing observations in Reframer

If you’re a notetaker you can capture your observations directly in Reframer while your session is taking place. Observations can also be added after the session is complete (for example, from a recording). You can also import existing data into Reframer from elsewhere.

Capturing observations directly into Reframer is as easy as writing a note and hitting enter. The observation you’ve written will automatically save and appear in your list of observations. Each of your sessions can have an unlimited number of observations.

You may choose to capture your observations verbatim, or only make note of key information throughout your session. Including quotes is a great way to bring your observations to life.

To help focus on your participant during your session, you may want to refrain from tagging until after your session is over.

You can also:

  • use the star to quickly highlight any particularly important observations, or those you want to quickly refer back to later on
  • use quotation marks to automatically add a “quote” tag to your observation
  • use the hash symbol (#) to quickly tag observations as you capture them, or pick from an existing list.