LibUX reviews GoToMeeting and WebEx as tools for user testing.
Is a product that is functional a good product? Most of us have encountered products that do the job but are cumbersome to use. User experience (UX) research aims to understand if a product is usable, but also whether the process was engaging and enjoyable. To infer this, it is important to observe the user while interacting with the product.
How do we collect this observational data unobtrusively to avoid the user feeling scrutinized? Traditional lab studies for usability have used one-way mirrors for this purpose. Yet, space limitations mean a traditional set up isn’t always attainable. Remote testing, or , combining in-person moderation with web-based remote observation reduces costs, time, efforts.
There are many software products that record videos of a users’ screen activity during testing, Morae being one. LIB UX wondered if using the video conferencing software already available at NYU, might be a more flexible option for conducting and recording sessions while streaming real-time observations.
- Audio-visual web conferencing between at least 3 people.
- High quality audio and video recording without restrictions on the duration of a meeting
- Ability to view, edit, and export the recordings to various software
- Ability to host interactive mockups/presentations on the software
- Ability to record video of participants’ desktop as they interact with the product
- Share desktop
- Share documents
- Share files
- Sync with email
- Sync with Google docs
|Audio-visual web conferencing with at least 3 people.||Allows conferencing with up to 7 people||Conference with 6 people|
|Ability to record the video of the participants’ desktop as they interact with the product||Allows to take screen-shots while video conferencing. No video recording of screen.||An additional plug-in called Screen Cap takes few screen-shots automatically.
No video recording of screen.
|Ability to view, edit, and export the recordings to various softwares||Saves recordings online in their proprietary format. Have to watch them through their app. Can convert to wmv files on Windows but not Mac.||Saves recordings on a local folder on the computer in its proprietary format. Easily convertible to other formats|
|High quality audio and video recording of the meeting (no restrictions on the duration)||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to host interactive mockups/presentations on the software||Can share files easily. Good with media files. Therefore, can share mockups as well.||Not easy to share files.|
|Share desktop both ways||Can share desktop without scheduling a meeting, by merely inviting to share desktop.
Can switch presenter by merely sending an invite.
|Only the host can share the desktop. Need to switch presenters to be able to share desktop both ways.|
|Sync with Google docs||Esna is a separate app that allows integrating all the google apps with WebEx.
|No. A separate App called Zapier allows you to integrate the two.
|Share files/documents||Easy to share||Yes but not easy to share|
|Sync with email||Can integrate with Microsoft Outlook. Can start chat sessions with individual or group from emails.||Can integrate with Microsoft Outlook & Mail (for MAc users) to receive and send out meeting notifications.|
|Sync with Google Calendar||Install a plug-in for syncing with Google calendar to schedule meetings from Google Calendar or from the contact card.
Can ask hangout attendees to move the meeting to WebEx.
|Install a plug-in and schedule meetings on GoToMeeting from your Google Calendar.
Apart from the criteria list above, we rated WebEx and GoToMeeting based on usability, navigation, errors, help, and performance (modified criteria list from Neil Turner, Feb 11, 2011).
WebEx definitely leads the way for usability. It is a lot more user friendly for scheduling meetings, navigation icons, and prompts. GoToMeeting requires a sign-in at every step, and the scheduling interface is non-intuitive. GoToMeeting requires an email account setup to send out invitations for meetings or else copy and paste the invite.
WebEx, on the other hand, allows you to schedule a meeting on the fly by merely entering the invitees emails/names. You can also attach files and request recording the meeting while scheduling the meeting.
Both WebEx and GoToMeetings need to improve on their navigation. WebEx is slightly better in helping you navigate. The homepage does a good job of guiding you through the steps for scheduling a meeting, and has prompts to introduce users to software features. GoToMeeting does not give directions about how to proceed to make your call and the icons are difficult to understand.
Better directions are needed from both these softwares to recover from errors. Although WebEx did not require us to start all over again, we admit that we had troubles finding our way out. With WebEx, in fact, it was difficult to get to a starting point once you get stuck. Better instructions are needed on sharing platforms, apps, desktop, or files.
WebEx had a better scheduling form and interface than GoToMeetings.
Both require plug-ins to run with Chrome. WebEx in fact works faster on Safari than Chrome.
WebEx for the Win
The ease of handling meetings, general usability, and great features offered by WebEx make it our pick as a user testing tool. GoToMeeting doesn’t lag too far behind in terms features, but the difficulty finding them is a major detractor.
We’re always interested in what tools our readers are using, so if you have a hack to deal with these issues let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
References & Resources
Turner, N. (Feb 25, 2011). A guide to carrying out usability reviews: http://www.uxforthemasses.com/usability-reviews/