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Read this article on "The Changing Face of Usability Testing" on Usability News (www.usabilitynews.com/news/article5564.asp), which talks about this New Zealand based company called Optimal Workshop, offering free software that replaces usability consultant in the field of UT.

Here is a link to another article:
The changing face of usability testing: Optimal Workshop releases free service called Treejack
www.thestandard.com/news/2009/03/31/changing-face-usability-testing...

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I haven't tried this, but it looks promising:

"RobotReplay"
I don't believe this will replace the Usability Consultant, especially for more complex projects like applications.

It looks to be a good learning tool for beginner to intermediate levels of people interested in Usability.
I would agree. The software seems to do a good job of covering the basics; but "consultants" will still be needed to do the deeper digging and to run the more complex testing scenarios, etc.

In this same vein though and a more likely note, I did find this publication:

http://www.upassoc.org/upa_publications/jus/2007may/agile-ucd.html
I found this article pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing.

I realize this is an old post... Many years past since, and as it turned out Optimum Workshop did not replace usability consultants, but they did replace the free version of their software with one of the most pricey among all online usability tools. Granted, they decided to go after well-funded corporate teams, which left out in the cold a whole bunch of independent contractors and small UX firms. Later they bought WebSort, which was one of the oldest on the market and offered competitive pricing. That option is no longer available. Couple of years later, the one that came out as a budget-friendly alternative was usabiliTEST, which has been growing ever since.

Here's an independent review: https://dirtarchitecture.wordpress.com/user-research-tools/

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