At a Glance
In this article, learn about remote user research and the different methodologies you can apply to gather feedback to improve customer experience.
What is remote user research?
User feedback is a primary key to business success—whether you’re launching an app, redesigning a website, refining product features, or improving the overall 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 testing with focus groups—both of which can be time consuming—remote user research allows you to recruit contributors and get results in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.
You’re not limited by your location, schedule, or facilities: you’ll get candid feedback from real people from your target demographic in their natural environment, whether that be at home, a store—whatever environment or context within which they’d typically 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 into the following areas:
- 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 the quantitative. For example, usability testing helps you...
- Generate that qualitative-based narrative with a smaller sample size.
- Focus more on the "why...?" or "how...?" than the "how many...?" or "how much...?".
- Be quicker, more efficient—and reduce cost as a result.
- Understand or discover insights, instead of proving a point or winning a bar bet.
- Provide a subjective tilt and tint to objective
Other remote user research methodologies
In addition to usability testing, here are other examples of approaches and methodologies to support remote user feedback:
- Longitudinal/Diary studies: Observing users interacting with a product/flow/process over time
- Benchmarking studies: Tracking changes in your users' 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 purchasing decision in a store
- Moderated studies (remote): 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 contributors 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.
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