I’ve been watching our venture into informal user testing at Cre8asiteforums. There are presently two BETA applications being explored by willing volunteers, from various countries, computer experience and interests. What strikes me is how well each company’s programmers are taking the news.

Explore or review: Textic Talk

This JavaScript application renders in browsers, on demand, to provide website audio. We learned to not compare it with screen readers. Textit Talklets lets you highlight text with your mouse so that it is read back to you. It was designed by someone with reading difficulties, for people with sight impairment or eyestrain, and the millions of people who suffer from dyslexia, or who read slowly. Many people comprehend better when they listen to words, rather than read them.

Because this application requires a mouse (so far), it differs from screen readers. The added bonus is that it has an MP3 option whereby you record web pages, to playback later at your convenience.

Explore or review: Ask3.com

This was our debut into forums functional testing. It’s been one of our most popular threads in the Website Hospital. The company, JustASKthem.com, has sent their President, Vice President and Lead JAVA programmer to respond to questions, and user feedback, as it comes in.

Their’s is a survey application, JAVA-based, that resides inside selected web pages and rotates a series of 3 questions. The data collection system, called SMART, collects data, sorts it, cross tabs it, lets you ask it questions and over the long term, provides expert marketing data used for statistical analysis. It’s inventor has a strong background in customer service call center data.

The application has been in development for years, and arrived at a point where actual users were critical to the next steps. Hence, this is where our forum came in.

None of the testing is guided, expertly managed or requirements based. It’s essentially a “come pound on our stuff” so we can watch how it performs. In addition, everyone has opinions and in both cases, are able to ask direct questions from the developers.

All this, for free.

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Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)