Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Guide to Remote Usability Testing

Tips on conducting remote usability tests...

"As more usability practitioners start conducting remote usability testing, there seems to be a demand for some tips and guidelines around this technique. New screen-sharing tools like Breeze, Co-Pilot, and GoToMeeting, and remote usability tools like Ethnio and The Astoria Project Beta, make it easier to conduct moderated remote usability testing. Dealing with video and audio recordings keeps getting simpler as well. But observing people remotely presents a unique set of obstacles, so this is a guide to what we’ve learned from conducting 149 remote studies with 1,213 participants over the last seven years. We can’t get that time back, but hopefully some of what we’ve picked up will be helpful.
Moderated Remote What?

Basically, there are two kinds of remote usability – moderated and automated.
Moderated is one person watching another person use a computer, viewing their screen movements with a screen-sharing tool, and talking with them over the phone. The moderator watches and listens to where the participant runs into difficulty while interacting with the application or site, and records both the conversation and the participant’s screen. It’s pretty much the same as in-person testing, but minus the user’s facial expressions. Also known as facilitated remote research.
Automated means hundreds or thousands of participants report their own behavior through a browser window or frame that has an open text field and survey questions. As the user navigates through a web site, they enter their feedback and answer page-specific questions in the browser frame. It’s more than a survey, because it’s still behavioral, but there is nobody watching and talking with the users. Some people call this unattended remote usability. The data is usually automatically distilled into a report with aggregate verbatim answers, click data, or exercise results. Some of the best new automated remote tools are MindCanvas, UserZoom, ClickTale, RelevantView, and KDA Revelations."   continued ...   (Via OK/Cancel)

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