4 tips to conduct remote usability testing

Conduct usability testing from the comfort of your work desk.

- Nidhi Rai, UXaudit.io
8th April 2018

When you are designing a product one of the main objectives should be how usable it is to the target audience. The best way to know that is by putting the product in front of your users and ask them to use it and give you feedback. This is called usability testing. Usability testing is conducted by most companies to see the reaction to their product when a real-time user is actually using it. Let’s take an online makeup ordering app. You want to know if they are facing problems installing the app in various device configuration, is the keyword for searching items intuitive enough, how the app works in a slow internet connectivity environment, is the user experience from shopping to payment smooth enough?
usability testing for application

What is remote usability testing

Usability testing can be in many forms, create a test lab and assign set of tasks to your employees, you can ask your friends and family to install the app and give you feedback, walk into a college and ask students to test it on their mobile phones or do it remotely by selecting your target audience consciously and assign them a list of tasks, these people can be from different geographical locations, different age group, mix gender ratio and they can test your app on different devices in their own personal space, be it their home, office, college, or any specific location you want them to be at. Remote usability testing is a research method by which you can record the screen, the user reactions while the user is using your product. There are various tools which you can use to get this data. It is a smart way to get maximum input in a short duration of time, but conducting a successful remote usability testing is another story which we will uncover in rest of this article.
remote usability testing

Tips and tricks to conduct Remote Usability Testing

To conduct a successful remote usability testing session there are few must-haves which one should keep in mind. I have listed down below few points which have helped me in the past:
  1. Make a conscious decision when selecting your user base.

    usability testing audience

    Ask yourself these questions:

    a. What is the age group you want?

    b. Do you need both genders?

    c. Is your app specific to a location or do you need users from all over the world?

    d. Is there an education qualification you want your user to have?

    There should not be a maximum limit on the number of users, the more you have the more data you collect. But the moderator should be comfortable with this number. The moderator should not feel overwhelmed with the number of participants

    usability testing audience

  2. The infrastructure required to test your app

    a. Is your website/app accessible outside the VPN network

    b. Is a specific OS or configuration needed to access the website/app

    c. The tool that you will be using to collect data on the day of the session. Eg: UXaudit.io is a tool which records user behavior data and tracks analytics

  3. Communication with the users before and during the event

    a. Communicate with all your users before the day of your event to make them clear about the tasks they need to perform and tell them other requirements which you might have. Keep their contact information handy in case you need to get in touch, for any issue clarification later

    b. Skype, Hangout, GoToMeeting are good options for collaborating with all selected users on the day of Remote Testing. Be sure to record their behavior and action when using your product. Do they look confused, frustrated, disengaged while using it? You can use this data to analyze and improve the UX of your product

    c. Send reminder emails on the day of the event

    communication in usability testing

  4. Tasks and Moderator

    a. Send out a list of detailed tasks on the event day to all the users with clear instructions if needed so that all are on the same page as to what they are expected to do

    b. The Moderator should be available to answer any questions or help users get unstuck if they are facing any difficulties. It is not very uncommon that users leave the event on getting stuck at some point

To end this article I would say Remote Usability Testing is definitely worth giving a shot, it takes a little extra effort and coordination but it gives extraordinary, honest and unbiased results which are difficult to accumulate otherwise.

Hope this article was helpful.

Happy Testing!

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for your time and feel free to add your comments below and let me know your thoughts about this article.

Nidhi Rai, UXaudit.io

I am a QA by profession with 5 years of experience on various automation technologies. I am highly passionate about experience design as an emerging field and an enthusiast to spread the importance of usability and usability testing. When I am not working I am mostly reading, writing, or traveling. I am from India but currently staying in the United States.

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