At a Glance
This article takes an overview look at remote moderated and remote unmoderated usability tests—what each test is and how the two test types differ from one another.
What is a remote moderated usability test?
Remote moderated usability testing sessions are when you collect feedback from another person during a live session with that individual. The interaction between the moderator and contributors is in real-time—contributors are in the same “virtual” space and connect using a remote conferencing tool such as Web conferencing, VoIP, phone, chat, or a combination of methods.
During such tests, a moderator provides contributors with activities to complete, using a design or interface. The contributor thinks out loud as they work on tasks, while the moderator observes the contributor and may ask follow-up questions for clarification or to gather more data.
UserTesting offers Live Conversation to conduct moderated testing.
Why are remote moderated usability tests helpful?
Remote moderated usability tests are great when you would like to:
- Allow for unique, individualized follow-up questions in real time.
- Ensure that contributors don’t get stuck while doing something technically difficult, like dealing with a complex or low-fidelity prototype.
- Ensure quiet contributors are more vocal since the moderator can prompt them to share what they are thinking.
- Observe body language and note the subtleties of contributor behavior and feedback.
When should a remote moderated usability test be conducted?
Remote moderated usability tests can be done at any time, but they are particularly valuable when conducted in the early design and prototype stage.
What is a remote unmoderated usability test?
In a remote unmoderated usability test, the contributor typically thinks out loud as they work on the tasks, and the researcher reviews the recorded sessions at a later time. The researcher doesn’t communicate with the contributor in real-time. The researcher may include follow-up questions as part of the test, or they may follow up with the contributor after viewing the session. Why are remote unmoderated usability tests helpful?
Remote unmoderated usability tests are great when you’d like to gather very quick feedback. Unless you are looking for every narrow demographics, a test is often completed by UserTesting contributors on the same day!
What can be tested through a remote unmoderated usability test?
- A live website or app
- A website or app prototype (as long as it’s hosted somewhere)
- Real-world experiences, such as when a contributor opens and unboxes a product
- Assets within a site or app, such as images, text passages (messaging), and calls-to-action (buttons and links)
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