Clearleft’s Silverback app: is it for user research?

Last week Clearleft announced that they are building a revolutionary new app, called Silverback. As a viral marketing tactic, they haven’t told anyone what it actually does, and have only released a rather lovely splash page. Well, I’ve clearly succumbed to their marketing, because here I am blogging about what I think it’s going to be.


Observation: the Silverback gorilla logo is wearing a lab coat, holding a clipboard.
Interpretation: maybe it’s something to do with analytics or at least some form of research.

Observation: guerilla sounds like gorilla, and nerdy research types (like me) recognise the phase “gorilla usability testing” as a bit of an in-joke.
Intepretation: maybe it’s a tool for usability research.

Observation: Clearleft is moving steadily into user experience. Last years DConstruct conference (organised primarily by Clearleft) was user experience themed. Andy Budd is doing a talk on guerilla user testing at the FOWD conferece this year, which is a substantial departure from his prior fare of CSS and web standards.
Interpretation: to do user experience design properly, you have to pair it with user experience research in an iterative process called User-Centred Design. This process is pretty well known and even has an ISO standard associated with it. With this in mind, it makes sense that Clearleft, moving along their current trajectory, might consider making an app for user research of some kind.

Reasons why I may be wrong: