Retrospective vs. concurrent think-aloud protocols: testing the usability of an online library catalogue

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Haak, Maaike J. van den and Jong, Menno D.T. de and Schellens, Peter Jan (2003) Retrospective vs. concurrent think-aloud protocols: testing the usability of an online library catalogue. Behaviour & Information Technology, 22 (5). pp. 339-351. ISSN 0144-929X

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Abstract:Think-aloud protocols are a dominant method in usability testing. There is, however, only little empirical evidence on the actual validity of the method. This paper describes an experiment that compares concurrent and retrospective think-aloud protocols for a usability test of an online library catalogue. There were three points of comparison: usability problems detected, overall task performance, and participant experiences. Results show that concurrent and retrospective think-aloud protocols reveal comparable sets of usability problems, but that these problems come to light in different ways. In retrospective think-aloud protocols, more problems were detected by means of verbalisation, while in concurrent think-aloud protocols, more problems were detected by means of observation. Moreover, in the concurrent think-aloud protocols, the requirement to think aloud while working had a negative effect on the task performance. This raises questions about the reactivity of concurrent think-aloud protocols, especially in the case of high task complexity.
Item Type:Article
Copyright:© 2003 Taylor & Francis
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Behavioural Sciences (BS)
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Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/publications/58642
Official URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0044929031000
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