The verdict: I love it so far. Super light and fits in my sportscoat pocket. Looking to see if it fits into my lifestyle or not.
Shot with my iPhone out my window on Avenue A on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Originally published by E.V. Grieve
Creating a clickable prototype of a mobile, iPhone, iPad or desktop version of a website is pretty fun and easy to do in Adobe Fireworks. You can literally create a fully functioning prototype that is almost identical to the real thing, giving you insight early and often as to whether your designs are on the right track.
When testing a design, we want answers to questions like:
1. Can the customer complete a given task?
2. Do they understand what they are seeing and doing?
3. Do they get confused? If so, where? And why?
4. Are they enjoying the experience? If not, why not?
That’s where Silverback comes in. It’s a small, affordable desktop app for your MacBook that lets you capture users interacting with your site while also videotaping them via the iSight camera built in today’s Macbooks.
The value in seeing people’s faces as they use the web cannot be underestimated. Every face tells a story. As they use the site, you can easily see expressions:
These reactions – in addition to the results of the test of the interface – reveals the emotional impact of your design. Stephen P. Anderson has done wonderful research into designing pleasurable interfaces, and if people using your site are frowning, frustrated, and flustered, well, you have some work ahead of you.
I recently ran a battery of user tests on a user interface for filtering/sorting. Here’s Silverback in action:
As you can see, the subject seemed to be able to complete the tasks given her, and her expressions showed her actually enjoying herself. Here’s a photo of the exact moment when she revealed the color filters:
She’s actually smiling and enjoying this. How about that! Revealing the colors triggered a happy response. That’s just great and gives me a sense that I was on the right track.
The other four test subjects had very similar experiences. As a result, this interface was built and deployed to production with only a few tweaks.
Silverback is one of the best tools I have in my toolbox for making quick work of testing designs.