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Concurrent think-aloud protocol (CTA) is often used in usability test settings to gain insight into participants' thoughts during their task performances. This study adds to a growing body of research within technical communication that addresses the use of think-aloud protocols in usability test settings. The eye movements and verbalizations of 10 participants were recorded as they searched for information on a website. The analysis of transcripts and real-time eye movement showed that CTA is an accurate data-collection method. The researcher found that the majority of user verbalizations in the study included words, phrases, and sentences that users read from the screen. Silence and verbal fillers that occurred during CTA enabled users to assess and process information during their searches. This study demonstrates the value technical communicators add to the study of usability test methods, and the paper recommends future avenues of research.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2010