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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Silverback Usability Testing Software: Home

This guide provides a basic overview of the Silverback Usability Testing Software for Mac.


Silverback is a usability testing software platform developed by ClearLeft that is exclusively available for Mac. Silverback utilizes screen captures plus live video and audio that you can edit, tag, and share via QuickTime composites.

A graphic with the title "What does Silverback do?" The graphic shows how screen captures and live video & audio are processed through Silverback and output in Quicktime.The text at the bottom reads: Usability testing is last on everybody's list of priorities. It's time-consuming, can require specialist equipment, and is expensive to outsource. Not any more. Silverback makes it easy, quick and cheap for everyone to perform guerrilla usability tests with no setup and no expense, using hardware already in your Mac.

Silverback is a trimmed down usability software program, best suited to those who have a quick project without need for offsite oversight. While Silverback does not have all the bells and whistles of other usability software, it is lightweight, easy to use, and can streamline the usability process precisely because it is not loaded with extra features.

Silverback is great for usability testing, and its simplicity makes it great for other image capture needs as well, such as reporting bugs in web services, determining where workflows are unclear, and more.

Getting started is quite simple. You start a new project, start a session, and hit the spacebar to start recording. The Mac in the Usability Lab (Main Library 316) has an iSight and internal microphone to capture sight and sound.

QuickTime - Your Theatre

QuickTime works seamlessly with Silverback, allowing you to export your usability tests as QuickTime videos. You can flag interesting parts of the study and consolidate them for presentation to the study cohort. If you have QuickTime Pro, you can edit the video further using all the features and tools QuickTime Pro offers.

Contact the Scholarly Commons to reserve a time in the usability lab.


Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise indicated, original content in this guide is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license. You are free to share, adopt, or adapt the materials. We encourage broad adoption of these materials for teaching and other professional development purposes, and invite you to customize them for your own needs. 

Scholarly Commons

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Scholarly Commons
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