In his UXBristol 2016 workshop, Adam Babajee-Pycroft shared what he’s learnt about validating ideas quickly, having executed hundreds of hours of remote research on a variety of projects.
In this session summary we capture his key insights about the process and advice to other UX researchers looking to try this method, including how to write tasks for self-moderated testing, and how to find the right participants.
“Remote user research is doing exactly the same user research we have always done, but taking advantage of the technology available to do it remotely.”
Adam was initially skeptical about remote user testing, but when circumstances forced him to try it, he became a convert.
Some of the advantages of remote user testing include:
Some of the disadvantages include:
Adam described some of the tools you can use to administer remote user testing, including survey tools, such as Google Forms and Survey Monkey, and interview tools, such as Skype, which are often free and widely available. He also outlined the key features of some of the more quantitive tools available, including Optimal Workshop, Notable and User Zoom. These offer facilities such as card sorting, tree testing and click testing, allow you to upload a design and ask users to annotate, and allow you to carry out memory and mood tests with remote users.
Adam discussed some of the key things to consider when judging different services on the market. One of the key considerations is speed: most services allow you to get results in 1-2 hours using self moderated remote user testing. However, this is usually only the case for basic demographics. If you need a specific user group, results will not be as fast. Many of these platforms allow you to do your own recruitment, under different subscription models.
Finally, Adam recommended considering what users can or have to install in order to participate, as this may be a barrier. Many of the tools offer native Android and iOS apps.
Adam provided some key tips for creating effective remote user tests, including:
He also highlighted some common issues, in particular stressing that some of the specialist platforms don’t limit the number of tests a participant can do, which means participants can become too familiar with the process and not representative of normal users.
Worksop participants were asked to prepare a set of tasks for a self moderated remote user test lasting no more than five minutes.
Each table was assigned a website which they could ask a user to test on any device to hand. Adam selected a random person from each table to act as the user to carry out the test. Each table had the opportunity to revise their tasks and test them again on a different user before showcasing the best tasks to the rest of the group.
Adam Babajee-Pycroft is UX Director and Co-Founder at Natural Interaction. Fuelled by coffee and heavy metal he’s spent the last decade delivering successful User Experience projects across Automotive, Financial Services and eCommerce. Adam enjoys Lean UX projects, where we validate that we’re building the right thing whilst getting it done.
Follow Adam on Twitter: @adam_ux