Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Tool for observing usability testing
Usability testing is an important part of documentation development, but it's expensive and time consuming. Unless you're lucky enough to have a dedicated facility, it's also cumbersome to arrange a setting so that you can simultaneously, yet unobtrusively, observe both the user and their computer screen. The recently released Mac application Silverback looks like an amazing leap forward in inexpensive, and easy, usability testing.
The application uses the Mac's built-in iSight camera to record the user (video and audio) and captures their onscreen actions. See their website for details and Jochen Wolters at O'Reilly Digital Media offers an overview, too.
I haven't tried Silverback, but if you have some observations to share, please let me know what you think.