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Stockholm syndrome in usability tests

The term Stockholm Syndrome describes the situation where a hostage becomes sympathetic to his captors.

When Jensen Harris had to conduct his first usability test at Microsoft, he expected that the participants would let out their rage at Microsoft.

But it turns out that people tend to be less critical than they probably should be. The participants consider themselves guests in the usability lab, don't want to insult the hosts, and are embarrassed when they can't complete a task.

"Whatever the cause, this tendency to not criticize the software is a major risk to the results of standard usability testing."

For this reason, Microsoft supplements standard testing by initiatives in which they watch the software more in the real world.

Links:

  • Usability Stockholm Syndrome Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 25, 2006

See also: Usability testing (68) 

 

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