Usability testing allows you observe and analyze real people using your product. By getting insights from users who have actually used your service or product, you get a solid idea of your end users' possible needs, pain points, thoughts, and actions, and as a result, you can identify usability issues and improvements.
One great way to gather these insights is through remote usability tests. Unlike traditional usability testing, which requires in-person availability, this method is super flexible because you can do it without worrying about geographical limitations.In this guide, we've put together some practical tips on how to do remote user testing and get the juicy insights you're looking for, along with going over why usability testing is important. By following these recommendations, you’ll be able to run successful research and make informed decisions to incorporate stellar UX practices into your product development.What's Usability Testing?Usability testing is an important UX research method that involves evaluating the usability of a product or website by real users. These users, who are representative of your target audience, interact with your product or service in their natural environment. This research method aims to understand how users interact with a product, identify any usability issues or pain points, and gather feedback for improvements.During usability testing, participants are asked to complete specific tasks while their interactions, feedback, and overall experience are observed and recorded. This hands-on approach provides valuable insights into how users navigate through a product, whether they can easily accomplish their goals, and if there are any obstacles or frustrations along the way.But why usability testing is important? It allows you to put yourself in the shoes of your users and gain a deep understanding of their needs, expectations, and challenges. By observing real users in action, you can uncover usability issues that might have gone unnoticed during the design and development stages.Usability testing helps you identify areas where your product can be improved, leading to enhanced user satisfaction, increased engagement, and ultimately, higher conversion rates. By addressing usability issues early on, you can save time, resources, and potential customer frustration in the long run.
What's Remote Usability Testing & Why Consider Remote Testing?
Unlike in-person testing, remote user research allows participants to take the test and provide feedback completely online. The participants use your product at their own location rather than in-person with you, and their actions and feedback are recorded by a usability testing platform.It opens up access to a wider audience and allows you to connect with users on a global scale with ease. The benefits of remote usability testing also include saving you costs and time spent on facilitating in-person studies.
Types of Remote Tests: Moderated Remote Testing vs. Unmoderated Testing
When it comes to remote usability testing, there are two main approaches to consider: moderated remote testing and unmoderated remote testing.
- Moderated Remote Testing: In moderated remote usability testing, a moderator guides participants through the testing process remotely and observes their actions in real-time through a screen-sharing platform. They provide instructions, ask questions, and observe the user's interactions live. This method allows for more in-depth insights and qualitative data collection through direct communication with participants.
- Unmoderated Remote Testing: In unmoderated remote usability testing, participants complete the tasks independently without direct guidance from a moderator. They follow pre-determined instructions, and their interactions are recorded for later analysis. This approach is generally more scalable and time-efficient but may provide less detailed qualitative feedback compared to moderated testing.
Now, the question arises: which approach should you choose? Both moderated and unmoderated remote testing have their advantages. It's crucial to consider your research goals and resources when deciding on the right method for your remote usability testing. Whether you choose moderated or unmoderated remote tests, they provide both qualitative and quantitative data to inform your UX decisions.Advantages & Disadvantages of Remote Moderated Testing:With a moderator present, testers can benefit from real-time guidance and support throughout the process. The moderator helps users navigate any challenges they encounter, ensuring that every user successfully completes the test. This aspect is especially helpful when the tasks are relatively complex.Furthermore, as the moderator interacts with participants in real-time, they have the opportunity to discuss their experiences and ask follow-up questions. This helps in gaining a more comprehensive understanding.However, this kind of testing requires a time commitment from both the moderator and the participants. Both parties need to agree on a specific time that works for everyone involved. Time zone differences can make scheduling more difficult. As a result, this type of testing may have a relatively small scale and requires dedication from all participants.Additionally, if you want to observe the participants interacting with your product naturally and see how intuitive your product is, then the involvement of the moderator's effect on the participants' actions may provide insights that don't fit what you're seeking.Advantages & Disadvantages of Remote Unmoderated Testing:Unmoderated usability testing offers users greater freedom and independence. They can participate at their convenience, without requiring your dedicated guidance. This allows for a larger pool of participants, and it's faster when it comes to the turnaround of results. Moreover, it provides a natural glimpse into how users would interact with your product, as there is no moderator influencing their actions.However, while running an unmoderated test has its benefits, it also has downsides. For instance, if users encounter difficulties during the process without any guidance, they may just shrug and abandon the test. There may also be a lack of people completing the tasks simply due to a lack of motivation. Additionally, without the opportunity for real-time conversation, you miss out on gaining a deeper understanding of their experiences and their thoughts about your product.
Remote Usability Testing Software to Use
You need to choose the right remote usability testing tools for conducting user tests to best facilitate your remote user testing process.
- Video Conferencing Tools: Platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts provide video communication capabilities, allowing you to interact with participants in real-time during moderated testing sessions.
- User Testing Platforms: There are various dedicated user testing platforms that simplify the process of setting up and running remote usability testing and come with features such as task management, screen recording, participant recruitment, analytics, etc. These include Maze, UserTesting, UserZoom, Useberry, etc.
- Screen Sharing and Recording Tools: Tools like Lookback, OBS Studio, or QuickTime Player enable you to share screens, record user interactions, and capture audio and video during testing sessions.