Use the Blur Tool to protect PII

Learn how to use the Blur Tool to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

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About the Blur Tool

  • UserTesting's Blur Tool allows you to hide Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as users take your test.  PII examples include names, logins, and addresses.
  • Use the Blur Tool when creating your test plan in the UserTesting Platform if your tasks could result in a contributor showing sensitive PII, and therefore violate internal policies and applicable data laws that protect personal information.
    • With the Blur Tool, you can blur any task in your test.
    • In addition to protecting their security, blurring sensitive information allows contributors, when they're confident their private information isn't visible, to feel more comfortable taking your test.
    • When creating an unmoderated test, never include tasks that require prohibited Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
  • If your study involves Protected Health Information (PHI), please review our article on collecting insights under HIPAA.
  • Pro Tip: The blur tool blurs the entire screen, not just the sensitive information on the scren.


Set up contributors/participants with your screener

  • Using a screener question, screen for contributors who are willing to use their real information but let them know it will be blurred.
  • In the screener, include language such as:

    During this test, you will be required to log into your XYZ Company account. We will blur the task where you enter your login credentials. Are you willing to log into your account?

    Yes, I am willing to log into my account
    No, I am not willing to log into my account
    I'm not sure

  • In the above example, you would Accept individuals who select Yes..., and Reject those who select No... or I'm not sure.


Blur Tool alternative

  • An alternative to using the Blur Tool is to give test contributors/participants fake information to use. For example, email address, name, credit card information, etc..
  • Using fake information prevents contributors/participants from sharing PII so there's nothing you have to blur during review.



Use the Blur Tool

  1. Under the task you'd like to blur, check the Blur video to hide PII box.
  2. Explain that you will be blurring any type of PII in your task(s). For example:
    • In the next task, you will need to log into your account. While completing the task, your screen will be blurred to protect your privacy. Move on to the next task when you are ready.
    • Log into your account. Remember this task is blurred to protect your privacy. Once you have logged in, move on to the next task.
    • This task is still blurred to protect your privacy. Is any personal information still showing on your screen? If so, please navigate away from that page before moving on to the next task.
  3. Launch your test.
  4. Review your test results.
    • While receiving the video results, you will hear the contributor speaking their thoughts aloud as they complete the task.
    • Their screen is blurred in the video, so you will not see their personal information.
    • Note that the video is blurred when saved to our screeners, so no un-blurred version is saved.



Protect PII in Live Conversations

The Blur Tool is only available for unmoderated tests. Follow these best practices during Live Conversations:

  • Remind moderators to tell contributors to avoid sharing PII if sharing their screens. This may require the contributor to close tabs and prepare their screens before or at the beginning of the session.
  • Ask contributors/participants to turn off screen sharing when they can't avoid revealing PII.
  • Avoid screen sharing when there may be a risk of accidentally revealing PII.
  • If PII is recorded:
    1. Download the video.
    2. Manually edit or blur the video in another video editing tool
    3. Upload the session to UserTesting in a separate test.


Related content

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Want to learn more? Check out these Knowledge Base articles... 

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Protecting Personal Information

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