Moderated Studies with Professional Services

At a Glance

Customers without the Live Conversation feature can purchase Professional Services to help them run moderated studies. During these engagements, the UserTesting Professional Services team will organize, launch, and facilitate your moderated studies. 


The purpose of a moderated test

Remote moderated studies

Moderated test process

Invite Network moderated studies

UserTesting UX Researchers


The purpose of a moderated test

When Professional Services helps conduct a moderated study, they focus on observing contributor behavior in real time with your product or service. When helping run a usability test, for example, a Professional Services researcher is tasked not just with asking contributors a series of questions designed to reveal their attitudes and thoughts; we also want to see in what ways the contributor succeeds or fails when undertaking critical tasks that involve using your product or service.

We then ask follow-up questions, doing so in the service of gaining a better understanding of the behaviors contributors exhibit when engaging with your prototype.

Remote moderated studies

In a remote moderated test, a moderator will provide target contributors with tasks to complete or questions to answer while interacting with a design or interface. In addition to your moderator, a UX researcher will also be on each call to troubleshoot technical issues and record the session for review at a later time.

The interaction between the moderator and contributor is in real time, as they’ll be in the same virtual space and will be connected by remote conferencing tools. The contributor will be asked to think out loud as they work on the tasks. The moderator will observe the contributor and is able to ask questions to gather more data or for clarification.

Remote moderated tests are helpful because they:

  • Provide tangible, observational evidence, in real time, of how people interact with your product or service. Some measures used include:
    • Task success or failure rates
    • Time on Task
  • Allow for unique, individualized follow-up questions in real time.
  • Ensure that contributors don’t get stuck while doing something technically difficult.
  • Ensure that quiet contributors are more vocal, as the moderator can prompt them to share what they’re thinking.

Moderated test process

Before your moderated session begins

Your UserTesting Professional Services researcher will manage the technical setup for you as part of their responsibilities, which range from test planning and analysis to researching logistics and recruiting contributors. Your Professional Services researcher and the scheduled contributor will be on the line at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time to ensure the best audio and video connection.

If you have colleagues watching the sessions you’re moderating, be sure to have them mute their microphones to ensure the best audio quality possible during the session. 

What can I see during a moderated session?

You’ll have several viewing options for moderated sessions:

  •  Share your screen and let the contributor interact with mouse and keyboard control.
  •  Contributors can share their screen.
  •  Use the Chat feature to share prototype URLs.
  •  Use moderated sessions for one-on-one phone or face-to-face interviews (using webcams).

Note: To ensure contributors are who they say they are, ask them to describe their most recent relevant experience at the beginning of the test. (The contributor can write a response, but verbal responses are better because contributors can speak more freely.)

How a moderated session ends

At the end of the moderated session, your researcher will stop the recording, inform the contributor they're allowed to go, answer any questions you may have, and wrap up the session. 

Invite Network Moderated Studies

You may bring your own contributors to an Invite Network moderated study. This process enables you to recruit, schedule, and provide compensation to your own contributors.

Because your contributors aren’t part of the UserTesting Contributor Network, we’re legally prohibited from communicating with them outside of the moderated session. UserTesting can provide compensation recommendations. Should you elect not to moderate the sessions yourself, a researcher can be provided for an additional cost.

UserTesting will provide you with instructions on how your contributors can set up and prepare for the moderated study. Once a session timeline is established, we have a three days lead time to confirm your scheduled sessions.

UserTesting UX researchers

A UserTesting researcher will be on the call to help guide you and your contributors through the session and be available for technical assistance, including any audio or video adjustments, as needed.*

Our goal is that every session runs smoothly; however, technology doesn’t always cooperate. In the event of any technical issues, your researcher is available to provide assistance. Here are a couple of situations your researcher can help resolve:

  • Video and audio quality
  • Audio quality
  • Contributor assistance (e.g., answering any questions contributors may have).

Your researcher will be muted in the background and only interrupt your session to provide technical assistance, or if you directly request their help (either verbally or by using the Chat functionality).

Please note: Webcam clarity and internet connection will vary between study contributors. If you’re unable to get a clear connection, your researcher will offer a replacement session (if feasible).

*In a situation where the client just hired Professional Service for research operations (setting up sessions, for instance), the role might be referred to as "research operations support person" rather than "UX or Professional Services researcher."

Using Zoom for moderated studies

UserTesting uses Zoom video conferencing to run all moderated sessions. However, if you’re prohibited from using Zoom, we can also use GoToMeeting.

Conferencing software such as WebEx, Click Meeting, and others are welcome. However, they are not supported by the UserTesting Platform. If a technical challenge occurs during your moderated session, UserTesting won’t be able to provide a backup recording, as we usually can through Zoom or GoToMeeting.*

*UserTesting does require a tech check to ensure that we can join the web conference, and that all sites or prototypes can be used on our web conferencing software.


  1. Visit to enter the 9- or 10-digit meeting code for the meeting you’re about to join. (Please note, you’ll be automatically entered into the web client and/or prompted to download the software client at this time.)
  2. Once the software has been downloaded, your web browser will prompt you to open Zoom.
  3. Zoom will prompt you to enter your name. If you arrive early, you'll be put in a waiting room to await the arrival of the facilitator.


Once a UserTesting facilitator starts the meeting, you can begin your audio setup.

Select the audio of your choice:

  • The Computer Audio option is recommended if you have a headset and microphone. Instructions and volume controls will appear once the Computer Audio option is selected.
  • The "Phone Call" option is recommended if you are using a headset and microphone. Instructions on what number to dial will appear once the Phone Call option is selected.


Mobile moderated studies

Our Professional Services team is available to help with any technical considerations needed for moderating sessions with mobile devices. There are two options for using Zoom with mobile moderated sessions:

  • Webcam: Enables you to observe the contributor and see their voice and gestures as they complete tasks on their mobile device.
  • Sharing directly: This option simply shares the screen of the contributor. And while it may provide a clear picture, this view doesn't capture gestures and keyboard taps.

What does a moderated study look like?
You can find examples of moderated studies completed on various devices here.

Where can I view my completed session videos?
Your completed video will be available on your Dashboard within one business day.


Contact us by reaching out to your dedicated Customer Success Manager, Project Manager, or Support.

Learn More

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