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Beyond the Usability Lab by Donna Tedesco, Thomas Tullis, William Albert

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4.1. Pilot Data

Regardless of how small or large the study, we think it's important to do a small pilot test first. Believe us when we say that no matter how confident you are that the study is perfect, there will likely be some issue—whether it's people misinterpreting a task or question, a drop-down list not working properly on a particular browser or platform, or data being returned to the database in some unexpected format. These kinds of issues are bound to come up, and it's important to catch them before launching the full study. Just as having an unusable Web site can affect the perception of a company or institution negatively, so can administering a faulty online study. A study that is broken or confusing may also undermine users' ...

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