Here's the thing - Bolt | Peters was acquired by Facebook. This site will live on.

Remote is Better, pt. 2: We’re in ur computer

Posted on Jun 16th, 2008 by Tony Tulathimutte

In our continuing “Remote is Better” series, we explain yet another benefit of remote research methodologies: since you get to talk to people who are using their own computers, you get to see all the fascinating stuff on their computer desktops and web browsers (with their permission, of course). Since we use UserVue to screenshare with the users we talk to, we can see everything on a users’ desktop while we talk to them–this is a great way to get your users talking about sites and programs they use the most, and it always gives you a sense of their computer experience and usage. (While we can’t post any of the desktops we’ve seen, I’ll be glad to offer my own: see below!)

Bookmarks. Forget personas–if you want a real in-depth look at how people use their computers, just take a look at their bookmarks. How many are there? How are they organized–are they organized? What’s especially fascinating is if you’re talking to one of your website’s power users: what other bookmarks do they have that are similar or related to your site? Get your users talking about the last time they visited those sites. You get a surprisingly rich idea of what kind of internet users they are, and what they really want out of your site.

Desktops. If bookmarks give you a good sense of the kind of things your users do online, desktops are a great way of seeing what they do offline: at a glance, you can see the shortcuts, program links, and files they’ve stowed at arm’s reach. You can even get personality hints: are you dealing with a busy professional type with a clutter problem? A compulsive neatnik? A power-using settings-tweaker? Even the desktop backgrounds can give you unexpected human touches: family photos, artwork, and vacation photos can all give you a feel for the user. Even the factory default wallpaper tells you something: Here’s a user who doesn’t want to spend all day fiddling with settings; or, here’s a user who doesn’t know how to change their background.

Usage. More than just the stuff that’s physically present on their computers, you have to pay attention to how they’re using it. Do they have a million other tabs open at the same time as yours? Do they have a computer that’s so slow, they can finish an entire Reuben sandwich while your page is loading? Do they always use their bookmarks to go straight to a page that’s four clicks deep into your navigation? Pay attention–it’s all good stuff.

Ethics. Your users are letting you into their lives; don’t abuse the access. There’s a fine line between harmlessly observing users’ technological ecosystems, and invading their privacy. Here’s one big Do and one big Don’t for gauging whether you’re on the side of Good nor Not Good, but as always, let your conscience be your guide:

DO be transparent. Users should know before the session begins exactly the kind of access you’ll have to their computer, whether or not you’ll record the session, and what you’ll do about the recording. If they’ve got questions or reservations, don’t try to strongarm them into consenting–after all, if you’re doing live recruiting, you can always just snag another user.

DON’T invade people’s privacy. Avoid bringing up any material that might make the user feel like they’re being intrusively scrutinized, or which has the potential for awkward situations. Overstepping your bounds can make your user feel anxious, untrusting, and defensive, where what you want is casual, warm, and relaxed. Examples of things you DON’T want to say: “Hey, I see there in your web history that you just went shopping for underpants! Want to tell me all about it?”, “Can you show me what’s in all those image files on your desktop?”

Keeping your eyes open for the right details on your users’ computers can help give you a more complete picture of the real people who are using your website or software product. We’re all for anything that puts
the emphasis back on treating users like people, rather than like talking pinatas that you whack opinions out of.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

296 Responses to “Remote is Better, pt. 2: We’re in ur computer”

  1. plastic card design
    Dec 02, 2016

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

  2. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve workesd hard on. Any suggestions?

  3. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks a lot

    Dec 02, 2016

    Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and
    said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  5. book buyback
    Dec 02, 2016

    Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  6. First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Appreciate it!

  7. lloan
    Dec 02, 2016

    Everyone loves what you guys are up too. Such clever work
    and exposure! Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve you guys to my blogroll.

  8. lloan
    Dec 02, 2016

    Great information. Lucky me I found your site
    by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve book-marked it for later!

  9. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great work, have a nice evening!

  10. steel toe
    Dec 02, 2016

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back down the road. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great writing, have a nice day!

  11. you’re in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The site loading velocity
    is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick.

    Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a fantastic job in this subject!

  12. Dolly
    Dec 02, 2016

    He lastly ended that since Google would disappoint
    HIM exactly how I was able to rate so well in their online search engine results, then I have
    to have been lying.

  13. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this
    website’s content every day along with a cup of coffee.

  14. Trademiner Software
    Dec 02, 2016

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written much better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of myy previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this.
    I’ll forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  15. Just wanna comment that you have a very decent website , I like the design and style it actually stands out.

  16. How can i allow anyone to write on my Blogspot blog?

  17. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time tto be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips.
    Perhaps yoou could write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read more things about it!

  18. Chrinstine
    Dec 03, 2016

    Ahaa, its pleasant conversation about this post at this place at this webpage, I have read all that, so now me also commenting here.

  19. Jack
    Dec 03, 2016

    I like it whenever people come together and share thoughts.
    Great site, continue the good work!

  20. Heath Lambourne
    Dec 03, 2016

    Il nous arrive souvent d’aimer une personne, énormément et de ne malheureusement pas pourvoir recevoir la réciproque des sentiments en retour. Blackma reste je pense le meilleur endroit pour trouver des maitres spirituels, des marabouts sérieux pour vous aider à rompre ces forces négatives qui nous entourent et nous empêchent d’être heureux avec celui ou celle que nous aimons. Je vous conseille de visiter

    Dec 03, 2016

    This article is truly a fastidioius one it assists new internet people, whoo are wishing in favor of blogging.

  22. I’m not sure exactly why but this website is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  23. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  24. holiday baches
    Dec 03, 2016

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  25. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

  26. Hey there, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

  27. Mac
    Dec 03, 2016

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did
    you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find
    out where u got this from. cheers

  28. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Many thanks

  29. Lincoln Blubaugh
    Dec 03, 2016

    BlackMa reste je pense , le meilleur plateforme pour trouver des maitres spirituels, des grands marabouts d’Afrique qui mettent leur savoir faire à votre service pour tous vos besoins, ils vous aideront à régler tous vos problèmes :

  30. Loida Eicke
    Dec 03, 2016

    Sweet internet website , super design , really clean and utilize genial .

  31. Chrinstine
    Dec 03, 2016

    I have been browsing on-line greater than three
    hours nowadays, but I by no means found any fascinating article
    like yours. It’s pretty price enough for me.

    In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content material as you probably did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  32. naproxen noflam
    Dec 04, 2016

    If you are going for finest contents like myself, only pay a quick visit this
    web site daily as it provides feature contents, thanks

  33. I wasn’t going to fall for the same trick, so asked their CS to get on to the distributors and find out whether the later seasons are positively on their manufacturing calendar.

  34. Alejandra Mcgauley
    Dec 04, 2016

    La vie est toujours pas juste mais malheureusement nous n’avons pas cette force d’accuser quiconque mais Dieu étant amour a su donner la force à certains hommes de pourvoir aider des gens comme vous et moi pour vivre le pire, à être heureux, à affronter avec facilité ces expériences qui font trépasser certains. Visiter BlackMa pour tous vos besoins d’aides.

  35. Search engine results could bring about repeat audiences,
    which indicates higher website traffic, higher advertising sales, and also higher sales in general.

  36. It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  37. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

  38. check this out
    Dec 05, 2016

    How to uninstall firefox using command prompt or from registry?

    Dec 05, 2016

    This breadmaker most of these 2009 while in the magenta (they will not anymore obtain that coloring) when i absolutely love these. I have already been looking manboobs ever since secondary school and at last acquired these individuals and even let me tell you they’re Worth their expense!!! there’re sooooo nice and which means that adorable! I prefer all of them!!!

  40. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  41. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!

  42. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  43. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

  44. See, as you raise your testosterone levels through
    means of injeftable testosterone treatment or any other testosterone enhancement plan that truly works,
    the regular signalss from your brin to your testicles to produce
    testosterone (your luteinizing hormone LH) stop.

  45. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. All the best

  46. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

Leave a Reply