Mr Tappy during contextual research.

Mr Tappy: review of a mobile device usability test recording sled

Mr Tappy is a highly extensible recording sled for mobile devices that can be used to capture your users as they interact naturally with devices, sites and software.

Update: this review is based on a 2013 version of Mr. Tappy. I'm currently reviewing the latest 2018 evolution. New review to come in April 2019.

In my opinion Mr Tappy is the best multipurpose sled for filming usability testing, UX and human behaviour research that I've encountered. However there are some things to consider if you want to get the best results from the rig.

Where Mr Tappy excels

  • Modular design — enables highly flexible testing configurations and scenarios
  • Device agnostic — works with any device, is future proof
  • Low vibration — stiff frame reduces flex and blur in video feed
  • Professional aesthetic — looks the business, not like a hack
  • Portable — very easy to transport once collapsed
  • No tool assembly
  • 'Borrowability' — mine is frequently stolen (!) borrowed by other teams
  • Customer service — my early edition Mr Tappy developed a fault with its hinges. Nick from Mr Tappy quickly replaced the jig with his newer, lighter, weight design incredibly quickly and was a pleasure to work with.

Things to consider

  • Cost — can seem expensive for small teams / those with limited budget
  • Delivery time — ~5day lead time (ships from NZ, not the UK nor EU)
  • Weight, Balance — rewards use of a small camera; a possible additional expense
  • Wireless camera — for cable free, portable, and natural use cases. I use a wireless Veho MUVI Micro
  • Hinge adjustments — can occasionally need to tighten, tune the hinge joints during a session

Alternatives and competitor products

The main alternative is to make your own usability testing camera mount system which can be cheap and fun, but definitely has limitations.

The principal competitor is the Mobile Device Camera by behaviour research company Noldus. This looks like an interesting design because it appears to be lighter weight (although none is listed) and its two parallel arm construction might reduce vibration in the video feed further.

Let me know in the comments if you are aware of any other camera rigs.

Mr Tappy Reviews elsewhere

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