Constraints force us to think creatively. A locked down laptop forces us to throw ourselves out the nearest window.

Need a way to record some user testing without installing any additional software on your Macbook or waiting 6 months for a procurement order?

I came up with this quick and dirty method which uses only what OS X provides out of the box.

Before you begin

Have a Retina Macbook Pro? Show off. But also, I find setting the resolution to scaled and ‘More Space’ helps give a bit more room for both the participant camera and the prototype during the user testing.

Scaled Resolution

Start the front facing camera

**Update** I recently learned you can actually use Quicktime to fire up the front facing camera too. Simply go to File -> New Movie Recording and then skip to the next step

The first thing we need to be able to do is record our participant’s face as they smile with delight or cry with despair at the prototype we are user testing with.

There are actually two methods to do this. If you like big faces you can use Photobooth. If you would prefer a smaller face (as I do) follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menuSystem Preferences
  2. Click on ‘Users & Groups’
    Users & Groups
  3. Click on your avatar picture. Depending on your version of OS X you should see either a dropdown arrow or ‘Edit’.
  4. A tooltip will appear. Click on “Camera” on the left hand side and your ugly mug will   show up.Avatar
  5. Drag this window to the bottom right of your screen

Load your prototype

  1. Fire up your browser and drag the window as big as it can be without obscuring the front facing camera in the bottom rightTesting Screenshot
  2. Load your prototype in the browser

Record the screen

  1. Open Quicktime
  2. In the “File” menu go to “New Screen Recording”New Screen Recording
  3. A little window will pop up. Click on the small downward arrow and make sure that the built in microphone is ticked and also the “Show Mouse Clicks in Recording” option. Make sure to set the volume too
    Quicktime Player

Start your user testing session

You are ready to go! Press the record button and Quicktime will record the entire screen along with the mouse and the participants face in the background.

When you are finished simply right click on the Quicktime icon in the dock and choose “Stop Screen Recording”. You will then be prompted to save the Quicktime movie.

Quicktime Stop Recording

Found this tip useful? Let me know in the comments!

Image courtesy David Goehring

Chris Mears

Chris is co-founder of He has worked with clients such as the UK government, Just Eat & Which? with a focus on service design and transformation.