Pidoco – prototying and remote, moderated user testing – combined!

I have to admit I only tried Pidoco° very briefly at UX Brighton last week, but I was impressed with what I saw. They’ve integrated an Axure-style prototyping tool with a remote, moderated usability testing tool, and the price is very competitive: only $45/month for the entry-level package. For the same service using Protoshare (which only does prototyping) and Uservue (which only does remote moderated testing), you’d be paying almost $200/month in total: almost 3x the price!

Here’s a quick walkthrough the product:

1 signup-editor
Above you can see the wireframing/prototyping tool. It’s pretty much as you’d expect if you’ve ever used Axure, Protoshare or any of the other similar tools out there at the moment (there were at least 32 last time I checked).

2 signup-sketched
When you view your prototype, you can view it with either a low-fi (hand sketched) or hi-fi skin. Above you can see the low-fi skin. All of the form fields are interactive.

3 signup-plain
And here’s the hi-fi skin.

4 usabilitytest-welcome
You invite participants by sending them an email containing a unique URL. When they click through, they are taken to the page shown above. Pidoco° has a built in VOIP tool (much like Skype), or you can fall back on good old-fashionned telephones. Then you simply run the usability test over the web, much like you would in a face-to-face session. While you are interviewing them, the session is streamed to your web browser. Obviously it’s not going to feel as intimate and easy as a face-to-face test, but it’s far cheaper, particularly when you are testing people spread over large geographic distances.

5 usabilitytest-user
This is the participant’s screen during a test. The narrow grey bar along the top is inserted over the prototype. The entire session is recorded in the same way as any other screen recording tool (e.g. jing, camtasia, etc), and it includes the VOIP audio. The footage is saved online for you, within your (secure) Pidoco° account area.

Bargain hunters among you may be thinking “I could do all of that using free tools instead of Pidoco!” – This is completely true. You could, for example, use yuuguu for the screensharing (free), hotgloo (still in free beta) for the prototyping and camstudio (free) for the screen recording. However, if you cobble together your own assortment of tools, you wont get the tightly integrated workflow process that Pidoco° offers. For example, on Pidoco°, moving from prototyping to a user test only requires one click. Plus, you can edit a live prototype during a user test, which is trivially easy. It’s these little details that promise to make Pidoco° different to the masses of other prototyping tools on the market today.

Disclosure: I received no incentive for this review (not even a cup of coffee). However, Pidoco° was one of the sponsors of UX Brighton Remote 360, an event I helped organize. UX Brighton is a free event, and sponsorship covers the cost of venue hire and refreshments for the attendees.