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Why You Don't Need a Usability Lab (08 Oct 2004)
Think about it. What's the main point of a usability laboratory? To simulate a normal office environment, and find out how real users are experiencing your site. If that's the goal, then here's a modest suggestion: why not use your participants' actual office environments? All you need is a telephone. Ask them to answer a few questions for you while they navigate the site on their usual computer. Or drive over to their houses to see what your carefully crafted site looks like on their out-of-date home computers. Chances are you will find some very interesting flaws in your current design.
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