Usability Testing for Remote Moderated and Remote Unmoderated Tests

Usability Testing



Remote usability tests are similar to conventional usability tests with only one vital point of difference, i.e., the party and the facilitator are in two distinct physical positions. Despite the usability expert traversing to the party’s place or vice-versa, the party interacts with the expert in his own office, home, or other locales, and the expert watches remotely.

Generally, in-person usability testing is recommended whenever possible. It is faster and easier for usability experts to read users’ body language and recognize a relevant inquiry or follow-up question when they are in the same room with the user. It can also help product development squads to watch users interact with their projects in real life rather than observing them on a remote feed.

Nevertheless, when in-person testing is not achievable due to multiple reasons such as time or budget restraints, remote testing is the preferable alternative to skipping the test altogether.

Remote mobile usability test or website usability testing sessions do not demand the party or facilitator to travel. Remote testing is an excellent solution for testing things whose users are geographically dispersed or for squads with restricted funds.

Also, the installations for testing do not need to be secured. Further, parties can opt for usability testing from any geographic area rather than being condensed into one locality, making recruiting faster and easier.

Remote research allows participants to use their computers for the study, letting you and your team see how they set up their desktop, navigate between programs, and use tabs, for instance. This insight into how people work on their systems is valuable, although it makes it even more difficult to troubleshoot any problems parties have with the remote tools needed to conduct the study.

Remote UX testing also has its disadvantages. Some of them are :

  • The feedback experienced in an online session is generally less elaborate since the party might feel cumbersome to think out loud, contrary to speaking to the person sitting next to him.
  • Many non-verbal cues of the party, such as body language and facial expressions, are also missed in remote sessions.
  • Technically specialized issues might be another stumbling block in remote sessions. The participant is more likely to give up on the test if he encounters challenges he does not know how to tackle.

Still, in numerous cases, Remote Testing typically gives more than enough feedback for this to be prosperous.

For this purpose, we will assume that the party has resolved to take a remote test for app usability testing. Here, we shall describe, in more detail, the different types of Remote Usability Testing.

What is a remote moderated usability test?

A remote moderated usability test is a test where a moderator provides the contributors with exercises to complete utilizing a particular design or interface. The dealings between the contributors and the moderator are in real-time. They are in an identical “virtual” room and are inter-connected by employing a remote conferencing tool like VoIP, Web conferencing, chat, phone call, or a combination of these approaches.

The contributors think out loud as they toil on the chores. The moderator observes the contributors and may ask them about the problems to clarify or gather more data.

Why are remote moderated usability tests helpful?

Remote moderated usability tests are of great help when you.

  • Allow for individualized and unique follow-up interrogatives in real-time.
  • Ensure that the contributors are not getting stuck when doing something technically delicate, such as dealing with a low-fidelity or complex prototype.
  • Assure that the quiet contributors are more voiced since the moderator can prompt them to share their thoughts.
  • Observe non-verbal cues such as body language or facial expression and pick up on the perceptivity of contributor conduct and feedback.

When is a remote moderated usability test conducted?

At any point in time, remote moderated usability tests can be conducted. However, they are specifically valuable when they are being done in the early stage of design and prototype.

What is a remote unmoderated usability test?

In remote unmoderated usability testing, the contributors generally think out loud as they operate on the assignments, and the investigator reviews the recorded sessions of these operations later. The investigator does not deal with the contributors in real-time. The investigator may involve some follow-up questions as a portion of the experiment. Also, they may follow up with the contributors after reviewing the session.

What can be tested using a remote unmoderated usability test?

A few things that are generally tested using the Remote unmoderated testing approach are as follows:

  • A live app or website
  • An app or web prototype (when it is hosted somewhere)
  • Some real-world experiences, like unboxing a product
  • Assets within an app or website include text passages (messaging), images, buttons, and links.

Advantages and Disadvantages of moderated and unmoderated usability testing:

Given Bellow are some relative Advantages and disadvantages of moderated and unmoderated approaches to remote usability tests.

Pros of remote moderated usability testing:

  • The moderator or facilitator can intercede to clarify instructions or modify tasks and ask follow-up questions.
  • The parties are less likely to get frenzied.
  • Speaking to a moderator might feel more natural rather than talking to yourself.
  • It allows for an adaptable extent of the remote session.

Cons of remote moderated usability testing:

  • A moderated session might disintegrate the participants’ natural thought process and affect the pace.
  • It might take longer and is more costly than an unmoderated session. The moderators can inadvertently impact the completion of the chores.

Pros of remote unmoderated usability testing:

  • It delivers quick results at a relatively low expense.
  • The party remains in his environment, which is a more natural gesture.
  • Recruitment is not required (if testing services given by the platform are used).
  • It is specifically beneficial when a large volume of data needs to be gathered.

Cons of remote unmoderated usability testing:

  • It is a fixed-length test session, which is set by the platform.
  • It is not suitable for complex and elaborate tasks. There is no space for the moderators to get involved in clarifying the job instructions.
  • The users may get distracted.
  • The parties might feel unnatural talking to themselves, affecting the feedback quality.

How and when to run a remote usability test:

This section will discuss what one must remember to maximize the advantages, whatever the system or operation one picks. Although a usability test can be run at any stage of the development process, it is specifically helpful to do so initially.

In an ideal scenario, a working prototype of the developed product should be tested as it is being constructed. Conducting a test on the premier design will assure you are on the same portion as your customer regarding the development’s fundamental premises. It also helps to clear up any misapprehensions.

However, testing should be an iterative operation. Running minor tests more frequently is preferable to running a complex test on time. It will let you refine the design and avert usability effects from bursting up down the line.

One should keep in mind that sessions do not claim to take long to deliver sound feedback. Remote tests generally last between 60 and 90 minutes. Allow some time at the commencement of the session to demonstrate the jobs to the clients and reply to any problems they might have. Ensure you have also allocated enough time for detailed feedback towards the conclusion of the test.

According to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group, a leading Usability consulting organization, the most elegant usability testing results from tests involving not more than five parties. More than that might risk wasting your expense and time by picking up the same observations.

How to draft a good usability test script?

A script is a necessary building block of every mobile or website usability test, as it provides the clients with a set of instructions mandatory to finish the chores.

Before you conscript one, think about what distinct research intents you aim to attain and whether the session will be a quantitative or qualitative study. When planning for quantitative assignments, the instructions should be clear to ensure that all clients execute precisely the same exercise.

Qualitative studies, in turn, are specifically aimed at determining the customers’ discernment of the tool and registering their observations. The problems which are asked should be open-ended. Also, space should be allowed for the customers’ individualized level of interpretation and perceptivity.

One can combine both methodologies in a single test to pick up a holistic illustration. Remember that the tasks should be practical enough to resemble a natural application of the tool. Avoid exact, revealing instructions, and let the customer figure out the result themselves.

What metrics should one use for the evaluation of a test?

We accept that every number of feedback you collect during a usability testing session is precious data about the product. There is nothing called ‘bad’ or ‘good’ results. A customer failing to finish a job when instructions were crystal clear is as helpful as a success regarding feedback.

When estimating a session, select the pointers that mirror the precedence set out in the script and the aimed usage of the product. For you to pick up a good illustration of the Usability of the product you are testing, the pointers should be both quantitative and qualitative and could encompass, for example, the following :

  • error rate
  • completion rate
  • time spent completing a task
  • satisfaction rate

It’s not time-effective to gauge every phase of the product, so be purposeful about the benchmarks you use.

Also check: Client-Side Performance Testing – Metrics to Consider

Assaying remote usability test user feedback

Once one has successfully gone through the multiple phases of setting up a remote usability testing operation and gathered user feedback, it becomes indispensable to dissect the judgments and understand which intimations to enforce?

Nevertheless, if the script was comprehensive, one presumably collected a significant volume of data. As a first step, assemble it all in one spot and structure it in a system that allows your squad to penetrate and understand it smoothly. Group the intakes and prioritize them based on their significance to the program. You might require to resolve easy-to-fix glitches from issues that demand an added elaborate discussion within the squad.

Prioritization will additionally assist you in establishing accurate timing. For instance, the cost, effort, and impact should be considered to determine each issue’s significance and potential solutions.

Assaying the results is also a proper approach to substantiate a common ground within your team regarding the design conditions and shrug off any inconsistencies.

Final thoughts

These days many things are far more precious than your developers’ time. However, one cannot afford not to test the product in advance if the aim is to manage it cost-effectively.

Testing does not mean one must set up a complex laboratory test or make travel arrangements. One can take advantage of the substantial variety of tools and user testing websites available online to help you run a prosperous remote usability test that provides eloquent results at a considerably lower cost to your enterprise.


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