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Nah, it isn’t really this week’s overly-dramatic Lifetime movie. This week I did some remote usability testing. It was pretty fun overall. I definitely ran into a few issues:

  • If you’re dealing with a live site, and you’re asking users to narrow down choices on an eComm site, make sure there are tons of products to choose from. Nothing worse than making the task so specific, and then there not actually be any products to buy. Hey wait, maybe there’s the problem – don’t make the tasks so specific.
  • These were unmoderated – and the site I used didn’t allow for audio/video recording so there was no “think aloud” aspect to the sessions. It was cut and dry – pass/fail. No idea why the user succeeded or didn’t.
  • Technical difficulties across various browsers/os etc. aren’t easily bypassed/remedied in an unmoderated scenario. Preparation and dry runs of your tasks become even more critical.

After doing these remote, unmoderated studies I will say I definitely prefer some level of moderation. I understand that it is much easier to coordinate the logistics of an unmoderated study, but to me the benefits don’t outweigh the issues.