In this guide you’ll learn about:
- Remote user research
- The different methodologies that are possible with remote user research
What is remote user research?
User feedback is the key to making any business successful—whether you’re launching an app, redesigning a website, refining product features, or making ongoing improvements to your customer experience. So how do you go about getting that feedback?
Remote user research is a fast, reliable, and scalable way to get the insights you need to improve your customer experience.
Unlike traditional in-lab usability testing or focus groups, you can recruit participants and get results in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. You’re not limited by your location, schedule, or facilities. You’ll get candid feedback from real people in your target demographic in their natural environment: at home, in a store, or wherever they’d ordinarily interact with your product.
Performing remote user research on a regular basis helps you:
- Validate your product ideas before committing resources
- Influence decision-makers in your company to make improvements
- Align your team on priorities
- Identify opportunities to differentiate your company from your competition
- Transform your company’s approach to customer experience
What is usability testing?
One of the most popular remote user research methodologies is usability testing. Performing remote usability testing allows you to gather insights on:
- Visual design (how it looks)
- Interaction design (how it works)
- Information architecture (how it’s organized)
- Content (what it says and how it sounds)
- Functionality (what it does)
Usability testing typically focuses on the qualitative aspect of feedback rather than quantitative. For example, usability testing:
- Gathers a narrative instead of numbers
- Answers why or how, versus how many or how much
- Observes a small sample size rather than a large sample size
- Is cheaper and faster versus expensive and time-consuming
- Helps understand or discover, instead of proving a point
- Provides subjective feedback rather than objective
Other remote user research methodologies:
You may also be interested in an alternative research method beyond remote usability testing. These methodologies are also possible with remote user research:
- Longitudinal studies: Watching users interact with a product over a period of time
- Benchmarking studies: Tracking changes in your user experience on a monthly or quarterly basis
- Competitive benchmarking studies: Comparing the user experience of several similar companies over time
- Beyond-the-device studies: Observing non-digital experiences, such as unboxing a physical item or making a purchase decision in a store
- Moderated studies: Facilitating users through your study one-on-one in real time
To learn more about how and when to use each of these techniques, check out The UX Research Methodology Guidebook.
- Remote user research is a fast, reliable, and scalable way to get the insights you need to improve your customer experience
- Unlike traditional in-lab usability testing or focus groups, you can recruit participants and get results in a matter of hours, not days or weeks
- One of the most popular remote user research methodologies is usability testing, which can help you quickly get qualitative feedback
- The UX Research Methodology Guidebook
- Modern UX research in action: 10 research stories
- UI vs. UX: What's the difference between user interface and user experience