Sample output from the User Study Console, a Java-based tool I developed to allow remote user study participants to stream anonymized recordings of their computer screens to a researcher's server with a minimum of effort.

This particular video shows a Mechanical Turk worker solving tasks in our "Related Worksheets" system for our study "A Spreadsheet-Based User Interface for Managing Plural Relationships in Structured Data" (mit.edu/~ebakke/research/related_worksheets_chi2011.pdf). A 15x speedup has been applied in post-production; this is how we reviewed most of the screencasts for our study.

In this video, the user has minimized the User Study Console window for most of the time; it can sometimes be seen to the lower right of the screen. A timestamp in frames, GMT, and seconds is shown on top. To help ensure the anonymity of test subjects, only focused windows titled "Spreadsheet Study Application", "User Study Console", or their child windows, are exempt from visual scrambling, which is applied directly at recording time.

In addition to its anonymized screen recording function, the User Study Console also takes care of launching the application under study, and allows the user to upload a file at the end.

The User Study Console compresses and uploads video data to our server on the fly while the user is working on the study, putting no limit to the length of screencasts. Uploading is done in small chunks via HTTP POST, passing through any firewall easily. The tool is written in Java and can be launched via Java Web Start, for instance from a Mechanical Turk HIT form.

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