Remote User Tests: The Best Tools of The UX Researchers

Remote User Tests: The Best Tools of The UX Researchers

The world switched to remote solutions overnight, and you certainly do. What now? Well, user testing is supposed to continue. Remote methods bring you great user insights while maintaining a healthy, “germ-free” distance. That’s why we introduce you to customers’ favorite tools.

Methods and Tools

Remote methods allow UX Researchers to get faster and more cost-effective user feedback. Basically, there are two possibilities: moderated or unmoderated remote user tests. If you need help deciding which method is right for your study, take a look at this article.

When it comes to choosing a tool, there are many possibilities today. The variety of tools is almost slapping. To give you an overview of the most useful tools, we’ve selected some that customers use regularly and that work great in combination with TestingTime.

Ratio of moderated and unmoderated remote studies within the last 12 months ordered from TestingTime.
Ratio of moderated and unmoderated remote studies within the last 12 months ordered from TestingTime.

Tools for Moderated Studies

Let’s start with the most commonly used method for remote testing: the moderated user test. It is often used for usability testing, user interviews, and focus groups. It’s no great surprise that most UX researchers stick to their preferences here. Even though all studies are now moving from in-house to remote, most customers want to do moderated user tests.

1. Lookback

Lookback works perfectly for all companies of all sizes. This cloud-based software has a variety of features and records the user experience across all devices. The good thing is that this application is designed exclusively for user testing, so the usability of the tool is well thought out. What makes Lookback so special is that you can participate in the live tests as a moderator or observer and talk to users as they test your design. You can easily ask questions or have an interview. The price starts at 49.00 USD per month.

2. Zoom

Zoom is the most stable video platform, especially for larger groups. It supports high numbers of participants, is affordable, and offers many administrative functions. A recording option is also included, and the videos can be stored either locally or in the cloud. The Zoom Basic Plan is free to use, and if additional features are requested, the price starts at USD 14.99 per month.

3. Google Meet

This article wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention Google and its solution Hangouts Meet. You can easily share a link with your test subjects and give them quick access (mobile or desktop). Hangouts Meet is very stable and has a clean and clear user interface. The solution works very well for many UX researchers, especially in combination with Android users. The tool is free for calls and video conferencing.

4. Whereby

Whereby (formerly Appear.in) is a simple video app that lets you create a custom room with an individual room name. The program allows you to easily connect with your test persons and is very user-friendly. You can reliably hold video conferencing, it’s browser-based, so there are no downloads and no registration for guests required. However, when used intensively, Whereby works best in Google Chrome. So if you have users with different browsers, you might want to consider another tool. It’s free for up to four people, and if you want to use it professionally, it starts at USD 9.99 per month.

5. Skype

Skype is used by a large majority of our customers. It is a good solution for UX Researchers who want to use a free tool that is already installed by many test persons. Unfortunately, Skype has recently reduced the resolution, making it a little harder to see details when making video calls. If you want some additional features, you’ll need to get the Business Tool from Skype and upgrade to Office 365. However, we do not recommend this because setting up the Business Tool is too complex for the test subjects.

Overview of tool features

Here’s a quick feature overview and how to find out which tools include the features that are important for your study:

 LookbackZoomMeetWherebySkype
Usability Testing✔✔✔✔✔
User Interviews(✔)✔✔✔✔
Focus groups✔✔✔✔
Moderator &Observer Role✔(✔)
Time stamping &
Notes
✔(✔)
Webinar
Recording &
Playback
✔✔✔(✔)
Premium
✔
Screen-sharing✔✔✔✔✔
Remote Control
of the Researcher Desktop
✔
Smartphonesupport✔✔✔✔✔
Test person
needs an account
✔
Test person
must install app
ChromeExtension✔(Mobile
& iOS)
✔
FreeTestversionTestversion✔✔✔

Tools for unmoderated studies

Unmoderated research tools are suitable for a much larger number of qualitative and quantitative methods. There are many platforms for unmoderated user research and we are spoilt for choice. At the same time, the methods are less standardized, making it harder to compare the results with other studies or tools. We are happy to help you find the right tool and tell you which software our customers use.

1. Optimal Workshop

Optimal Workshop comes with a number of tools for usability studies (e.g. Card Sorting and Tree Tests), of which customers use online card sorting (OptimalSort) most often. You submit your test, send us a token link and we will send it to the test persons and you will get the results delivered. Optimal Workshop offers a free trial as well as flexible pricing and plans that can be adapted to your requirements.

2. dscout

dscout is the most commonly used diary study platform by our customers. It captures current behaviors and thoughts through mobile video, image, text, and survey feedback. Pricing is based on two license options: annual subscription (special price) and project (pay-per-project). However, Dscout also offers a free trial.

3. UsabilityHub

UsabilityHub offers some interesting testing features such as the five-second test or preference-based tests. It is designed for companies of all sizes in the areas of e-commerce, IT, retail, and many other areas. This solution helps you analyze open texts, export CSV, etc. UsabilityHub offers a free version. The basic package starts at USD 79.00 per month per user.

4. Hotjar

Hotjar is known for its user heat map, which it creates from websites. It shows the behavior of test users as they click through a Web page. The tool really provides a good insight into how you can improve the user experience and performance of your website. The basic version for getting started is free of charge. More powerful, paid versions are available from 29.00 EUR per month.

5. Usabilla

Usabilla is known worldwide for its in-site feedback and emoticon questions to users. In a few minutes, you can create a custom feedback button, conduct targeted surveys, and process the results through the intuitive report interface. The price is based on specific requirements and monthly traffic on your websites, apps, or emails. To try out, however, you can start with a free trial.

6. Loop11

Loop11 makes it easy to create tasks that you want to have tested on your website. It can be used on any internet-enabled device. You can use the tool to identify navigation and usability issues. You can mix questions and tasks in any order and set a goal for each task that the user should achieve. All Loop11 pricing plans include a 14-day free trial. The simple package for quick insights is available for 69.00 USD per month.

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