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Retrospective Think-Aloud

Retrospective think-aloud (RTA) is a research method usually applied in usability tests. While participants applying the concurrent think-aloud method are verbalizing their thoughts as they simultaneously complete test tasks, participants verbalized thoughts, using the retrospective think-aloud method, are only recorded after the completion of the test tasks.

To support their memory, the video recordings of the test session can be replayed to the participants. If eye tracking was employed, the gaze point data can be visualized as well. While the video is running, the participants describe and explain their approach and thoughts while completing the tasks.

When using retrospective think-aloud, participants are less distracted from what they are doing and there are no additional influences on the time they take to complete their tasks. This allows time measures. However, because some time passes between the moment a problem was experienced and the moment the thoughts concerning this problem are recorded, the quality of user feedback is reduced. Further, testing time is significantly longer than using the concurrent think-aloud method.

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