It is more important than ever to understand the needs of geographically distributed customers. But with today’s economic challenges, it’s often more impractical than ever to visit them in person. Remote usability testing lets TecEd reach out to your users, wherever they are.
Remote usability testing is similar to lab testing, except that participants, TecEd’s researcher, and your product team can all be in different locations. Online meeting tools, including application-sharing software, and telephone conferencing enable all parties to join the session virtually.
Attended vs. Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing
Remote usability testing typically refers to attended (or moderated) remote testing, in which sessions are facilitated by a researcher. Attended remote testing takes advantage of the TecEd researcher’s facilitating, interviewing, and observational skills to gain a deeper understanding of user needs, goals, and expectations.
Unmoderated remote testing refers to automated usability testing, which relies on commercial products and services to collect user data. Unattended remote testing is best for collecting quantitative data from a large group of users.
Both kinds of remote testing have a place in the design process.
Benefits of Remote Usability Testing
Remote testing is useful for:
- Involving users who live in diverse geographic areas, whether across a country or around the world.
- Eliminating travel expenses and facility rental fees.
- Providing greater convenience for participants and observers, who can attend sessions from the comfort of their home or office.
Research shows that the results of remote testing are virtually equivalent to the results of lab testing, even though we cannot see participants’ nonverbal behavior (body language). Remote participants, free of the interpersonal dynamics of face-to-face sessions, may give more honest feedback.