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picture-in-picture usability test recording tool
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Pongo: an inexpensive UI lab

Andreas Nilsson wrote on

»Ever wish you had your own UI-lab, but can’t build one with all the expensive cameras, big boxes and one-way-mirrors in your house right now?

[enter Pongo]

It catches sound and video from your web cam, records your desktop and merges it together into a ogg file that’s ready to publish on the web. Hope anyone finds it useful. We’re planning on a more proper UI and something that catches the key and mouse presses.

Big thanks to Daniel ( and Olivier (, who helped me with some initial tests and Jan (, who put together the final python code.«

It’s portable, small, fast and only requires Python and Istanbul: Start recording with »python«, stop with Ctrl-c.

I picked up this project to learn Python and help push open usability. As I am just starting out, I am always happy for any help. You may also want to have a look at the wiki site which inspired this:

Current features: – »catch sound and video from your web cam, record your desktop and merge it together into a ogg file« – move camera video position with parameters – scale output video to increase performance – disable camera video (hackish b/c no priority)

Planned features: – »proper UI« → something similar to Silverback: → maybe built up on gtk-recordmydesktop: → video preview to see if everything is working → move camera video position freely → »a collection of previous sessions and ability to add some notes to them« – something that displays keyboard and mouse presses, similar to but in the background (only on the recording) – background mode via application indicator or something similar – separate recording and exporting → do not directly stitch screen and webcam video together → be able to export different qualities, layouts etc.

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