This style of evaluation doesn’t just ask for a play-by-play, but rather a thought-by-thought account of an experience. People’s articulation of a typically unspoken thought process not only helps the team pinpoint where the success and failure points are in their system, but it also diagnoses the causes. When successful, a Think- Aloud Test reveals important insights and inferences that would otherwise be unknown to a design team.
Effective sessions—those in which comfortable reviewers offer lots of clear information—require the sensitive moderation of a well-prepared testing team. You will come to appreciate the mindset, intentions, and expectations of people, which will in turn help you decipher what specific attributes of your design are causing certain reactions—and how to address them. Fortunately just six to nine of these tests will usually reveal 80% of the issues with a design, so it is a low-investment opportunity to make a significant impact on the efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction of a solution.