Heisenberg usability principle (04 Dec 2004)
Currently, little is known about the magnitude of the Heisenberg usability principle, since we simply don't have much data from users who didn't know they were being tested. This might change as more companies roll out automated testing approaches. For example, Amazon uses A/B testing where 5000 randomly chosen users are exposed to a particular design change and their path through the site is subsequently logged. If the design change raises the number of people who find certain features/offers by 10%, they note it. All the while, the users don't know that this test is being run. Such data could serve as a baseline against which traditional usability lab tests could be run against the same design changes.
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