Loupe for Usability Testing

WP_20130213_007I have two dogs, one of which is a Springer Spaniel / Collie cross (a Sprolly if you will). Okay, now I admit that is not the most promising start to a tech post that’s ever been written, but bare with me.

Now Milo, like most Sprollies, is somewhat “exuberant”; to the extent that I’ve started taking videos of him misbehaving, on my phone, and sending them to my wife; normally with a message along the lines of, “Look what your damn dog’s doing now!”. And this brings me to the subject of this blog post.

I have an HTC 8X, which I love by the way, it’s the best phone I’ve ever owned; but man does it have some annoying usability issues. The one that’s annoying me right now is around sending video. So I’ve taken a video of Milo, demonstrating his latest piece of bad behaviour, and now I want to email it to my wife. You’ve got to believe this is a fairly common use case; well it’s totally broken in Windows Phone 8. The “first time workflow” – until you work out the magic incantation – goes something like this:

  1. Open email client.
  2. Click on the “Attach” icon.
  3. The “Attach Picture” screen opens, which lets you browse and choose a picture to attach or take a picture to attach. You don’t have the option to attach anything else, certainly not a video.
  4. Close that screen down and scratch your head for a while.
  5. Recall that previously you’ve sent pictures to social media by clicking “Share” on the actual picture. Realise that you might be able to email the video the same way.
  6. Click the “Apps” icon then “V” for video. Find nothing.
  7. Browse through all your apps and realise it’s called “Music and Video”
  8. Open that and discover that your video is not there and that this is just for music and video you purchase from the store.
  9. Scratch your head again and wonder where Microsoft have hidden your video.
  10. Realise that you took the video by changing a setting on the camera so perhaps your video is in with the rest of the pictures you’ve taken.
  11. Navigate to Photos –> Albums –> Camera Roll and find your video, huzzah!
  12. Realise that this is the exact same folder that was opened for you in 3 above but it didn’t show the videos then. Curse the designer of this app.
  13. Select the video, click “Share…” and send it via email.
  14. Job done!

That’s right! If you want to send a video, via email, you must start at the video and not at the email client, which is pretty dammed counter-intuitive if you ask me; but then no one ever asks me, which is why gadgets are so bad, from a usability point of view, in my opinion.

What’s even worse, is that Microsoft will have spent a large chunk of change on usability studies for Windows Phone 8, and this passed?!

That got me thinking, the whole idea of Loupe was to extend capabilities to the whole team, could this include the UX guy? So I did a little testing, and yes I think you can.

Firstly I modelled the above scenario and logged a warning every time a particular app, or subsystem, was entered, ran my app a few times, and then logged into Loupe and checked out “Recent Events”:


Using the “Caption” and “Sessions” column our UX tester can see that we asked 7 people to carry out the task of emailing a video, of those, 6 started from the email client and 3 looked for the video in the “Music and Video” app.

As we can see from this post, we can get some pretty useful navigation and UX information from Loupe and extend it’s use from the “logging guy” to all of the team, including UX.

Well that’s all for this post, until next time, happy coding!

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