Remote international UX Research and adventures with Lookback

International remote UX research plus adventures with Lookback

Using Lookback for remote usability testing in two countries

We recently completed a project that involved running remote usability testing sessions on two versions of a prototype in each of two countries, Germany and France. The project was about delivery and collection when ordering online. The prototype had been integrated with the “back end” so that it mirrored exactly the behaviour of finding a location when using address information. The client, quite rightly, wanted to test with a geographically dispersed audience and so we decided with them to run the research remotely.

Participants used either desktop or mobile devices to join the research so we decided to use We had used it before for UK research but not for research in France or Germany. To add to the technical complexity, the client wished to view the research live and so we had to employ a simultaneous translator. We ended up with the following:

  • Participants geographically dispersed joining the session on Lookback
  • The moderator facilitating the session via Lookback from their location in France
  • The simultaneous translator, watching the session on Lookback and broadcasting the English translation on a separate audio channel from their location in Paris
  • The client watched the session on Lookback and listened to the English audio stream on a separate channel from their offices in Germany
  • Our research Ops team oversaw the entire project from our offices in London

Despite the large number of “moving parts” the communications between translator, moderator, client and our research ops team went very well. However, there were challenges with the participants using Lookback.


Advice for using Lookback for remote UX research that isn’t in English

We had previously created our own set of Lookback instructions for users and we used them again for this project. Lookback isn’t currently available in any language other than English, but as it is one of the only tools that will allow for remote UX research on mobile we felt it was still the best option. We got around the problem by translating our instructions into French and German and providing a short PDF document to the recruiter. They in turn asked participants to set up well in advance for the research.

In most cases this was fine although we still suffered the fate of many copywriters in that participants didn’t fully read what we had supplied. As a result, we had some turn up without headphones (a feedback nightmare), on a slow internet connection (disastrous) or without a webcam (not critical but disappointing).

A bigger issue was where we had cancellations and replacements at short notice. When in the lab, this isn’t an issue as we can get them up and running quickly so no time is lost. With remote it is a real challenge and our timetable quickly went out the window and with it our budget for the translator.

What if you have two URL’s?

To add to the fun, we had two URL’s for each participant and Lookback only supports one. So we had to find a way of sharing this with the participant without losing them from the session. We did this by using the instructions box which the participant is able to switch too in session. This enabled us to include instructions and an HTML link to the second prototype which the participant could switch too mid-session.

If you would like to know more about international remote UX research, ring us on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at

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