Usability testing is an essential element in the optimisation of any website and can be conducted in a variety of ways. Moderated user testing means that the testing is supervised by experienced and knowledgeable invigilators who can help the participants with difficulties and questions and observe their actions in an informed manner.
Remote moderated usability testing simply means that the moderation is done at the other end of a computer line rather than face-to-face or physically present in the room.
The Benefits of Remote Testing
- Speed: this sort of test can be set up quickly as the availability of both participants and moderators does not have to coincide in the same place – both can fulfil their roles from their own locations and can even choose the preferred time to conduct the test in some instances.
- Cost: because of the flexibility of this type of exercise costs can be more easily contained. Travelling expenses (and travelling time) is not incurred and the hire of a venue is not necessary either for the testing to occur.
- Recruitment: finding people to test your product is much easier, especially if they are geographically dispersed. It is logistically much more of an exercise to conduct normal in-place testing than the remote equivalent.
- Equipment: you don’t need to find and provide equipment for the testers to use as they will be participating on their own machines. This might also be beneficial for observers as they can see the product working in a real situation with actual working computers and across a range of machines and user behaviours.
Why chose Moderated Usability testing over Unmoderated Testing?
- There is every chance for intervention, clarification and feedback, which is, by necessity, absent in unmoderated tests;
- Moderators are able to observe what is happening so they can see what is going wrong and reconfigure or explain to participants exactly what is being sought;
- Because they are observing, moderators are also gaining valuable information and insights into behaviour which can be lost in the process of unmoderated activity;
- Participants can feel more relaxed and liable to open up about what they are doing and why if they know there is someone there to listen and help;
- Unmoderated sessions have to be shorter and therefore can miss opportunities to broaden and develop the test and record actions.
Selecting the moderators and preparing and briefing both supervisors and participants is an important aspect of remote testing and you need to make sure that all those engaged in the process are suitable and aware of what is expected. Clear instructions and objectives should be communicated and the testing set up in such a way that maximum coverage and relevance is achieved.
If you are planning usability testing and would like to know more about remote testing, whether moderated or not, ring us on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an exploratory chat.