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Abstract

While usability evaluation is critical to designing usable websites, traditional usability testing can be both expensive and time consuming. The advent of crowdsourcing platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and CrowdFlower offer an intriguing new avenue for performing remote usability testing with potentially many users, quick turn-around, and significant cost savings. To investigate the potential of such crowdsourced usability testing, we conducted a usability study which evaluated a graduate school's website using a crowdsourcing platform. In addition, we performed a similar but not identical traditional lab usability test on the same site. While we find that crowdsourcing exhibits some notable limitations in comparison to the traditional lab environment, its applicability and value for usability testing is clearly evidenced. We discuss both methodological differences for crowdsourced usability testing, as well as empirical contrasts to results from more traditional, face-to-face usability testing.