There are two types of usability tests.

The first type of usability test is one which you are all very familiar with – UI Usability. This is simply the test of whether a customer can click from page 1 to page 2 to page 3 to complete a task without getting confused. It is a well documented process.

The second type of usability test is what I refer to as Real Life Usability. That simply means, in a user’s real life, can they do what you want them to do with a specific product or feature? Or is there a blocker? And even if they can do it, do they want to? Or do they solve this problem another way that they prefer? This is where user research meets user testing.

The answer to these questions is mostly driven by what happens before the user logs in and after they log out. Focusing on these times (before login and after logout) is the best way to differentiate your product and make your customers happy. Tweet this!

Let me give you a real life example that all of you can empathize with.

At Validately, we are investing heavily in taking the pain out of Moderated testing. When we first started talking with our customers about how they do moderated testing, User Researchers showed us screen recording tools like GoToMeeting,, Skype and Google Hangouts. All products that have been around longer than Validately and are very good at screen sharing.

But one question we asked User Researchers changed the conversation: “what do you do after the moderated session?”


Oh boy, did we tap into a pain point when we asked this question!

Ask a User Researcher about the process they go through to share results with stakeholders and they will describe a painful process of editing and synthesizing different data stored in multiple tools and files. The current process to share results with stakeholders in a meaningful way often takes longer than the actual moderated sessions. For a user testing tool, this is user research gold!


And so we have begun a series of features focused solely on taking the pain out of post test reporting. During our interviews, User Researchers would describe a video editing process that would take hours. So we created a simple, lightweight way to create clips in Validately. This simple feature saves hours editing videos and storing files.


Here is a tweet a customer posted on the day we released the clips feature.



While discussing what happens after logout, we heard that User Researchers often waste time trying to find specific spots in a video recording. So we added a very easy “Flag” button, which marks a specific spot during a session. This basic feature saves real time for Researchers. Here is what it looks like in the recording playback.



During our interviews about what happens after log-out, User Researchers often showed us an insane note taking and editing process. It often looked like this:


Translating this into a presentation for stakeholders often takes a lot of time. We are attacking this pain point next.

As we dig into the logged off experience, we learned that the pain points center around: finding spots in the videos that link to the notes and quick search for specific spots. To solve this pain point, we are adding a feature to enable note taking during a moderated session by the Moderator or Observers. The notes will automatically be time stamped and generate a shareable links queued to the spot in the recording where the note started. We will add hashtags for quick search too. All notes & hashtags could be consumed side by side in the video (which is easily shared via a URL) or downloaded into a CSV.

Here is a prototype of the moderators view:


And here is a prototype of the playback with notes:

These are just a few tactical features, but our vision on removing the pain of generating a post-session report is much bigger. And the reaction that we get when we share these features with customers and prospects is extremely positive. It completely changes the conversation and answers how we differentiate from the many screen sharing tools in the market.

And it all started by asking customers, “What you do after you log out of Validately?”