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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Morae Guide - Usability Testing

Covers the basic functions of Moarae: recording and exporting

Morae Basic Guide

Morae on campus:

Morae is available for use in the Scholarly Commons Usability Lab, located on the third floor in the Main Library. You will need to make a reservation with the Scholarly Commons for the Usability Lab. Contact them at  This software is currently not available for use in any of the University of Illinois general computer labs. 

A few notes about using Morae:

Morae is a very rich application with many options and features.  This quick start guide will teach you how to use the most basic functions of Morae: recording a user session and saving it in the default Morae format (*.rdg) using Morae Recorder.  Then, exporting those recordings into a format you can later view without the Morae software (AVI or WMV files) using Morae Manager. Please be aware that creating an AVI or video of a Morae recording can take nearly as long as capturing the initial recording (a one hour interview may could take the computer nearly an hour to convert) so make sure you leave time in your schedule to accommodate this.  Also, you want to make sure that you keep all your original .rdg files if you ever plan to come back to Morae later and use more of its advanced features to further analyze your data, even if you are also exporting/saving WMV or AVI files.  Be aware that Morae recordings and exported video files can be file space hogs.  An hour long interview may take a few gigs of space, so make sure that you have adequate media to store your recordings on (consider getting a portable hard drive or large flash drive).  By default, Morae is configured to use your H: drive space for all recordings and exported videos.  Storing recordings there temporarily is acceptable, but you’ll want to move these files off your H drive and on to your own storage device at your earliest possible convenience.

The Three Programs within Morae

Morae Recorder - Where the Action Happens

This is where the end user’s interaction with the software under study gets recorded. Morae can be synced with a web cam to record facial expressions at various parts of the study, as well as a headset that includes both a microphone and earphones. The user’s voice can be recorded to track their reactions to parts of the study. You can also set the program to “autopilot,” which is an automated task manager that you create and setup before each study takes place. This will allow you to let the user interact with the software without having “Big Brother” looking down at them.

Morae Observer - Mission Control

This is where you, the study administrator, can view the participant live as well as administer tasks. Observer connects over the network to the PC where a participant is working through the tasks with Recorder running in the background. This is where you will log tasks and task scores. You can also take notes and add annotations to parts of the study in Observer. The option to chat with the participant is also available and can be used to check in or answer participant questions.

Morae Manager- Compilation of Study Results

In manager you can view and edit your recordings, tasks, and more from existing projects or a new one you are creating. Adding annotations to sections of video with either text or voice is possible. If there are only a few parts of different recordings that are interesting you can cut them out and compile them, flag them, and merge different studies together. You can graph your findings for visual representations of study results and compile all of your analysis into a presentation video for sharing with others.

Using Morae: Part 1 Recording the User

  1. Start Morae Recorder
  2. Keep the “Default  Study” options that appear and select OK
  3. Arrange your user in the seat, and (if necessary) adjust the tilt of the camera capture them.
  4. When you are ready to begin recording, click the large Red “Click to start recording” button in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
    Start Recording button
  5. Run your user study
  6. To stop recording, right-click the Morae Icon in the task bar:
    Morae Task bar icon
  7. Give your recording a name and save it. PLEASE NOTE it is imperative that you save this recording at this point. If you forget, or you/your user accidentally cancel at this point, your recording will be lost forever.
    Save recording as..
  8. Once the file has been saved, say OK:
    OK - successful recording
  9. At this point, you can prepare for the next subject (go back to step 3) or you can export your recording to an AVI or WMV format that you can view at your leisure on your office computer. If you are done with recording sessions and are ready to export, close the Morae Recorder program and proceed to the next section. Otherwise, go back to step 3, above.