Moderated usability tests
Remote mobile testing or any other remote testing may prove to be challenging sometimes especially if we are talking Usability. Sure you are getting feedback, yet how to manage the process? Basically there are two approaches that are commonly used here:
- Unmoderated Studies. That is the approach where the participant is alone in his testing session. There is zero of interaction between you and the participant in real-time. There are several pre-defined questions in the study allowed by various tools that are usually shown after every completed task. Or questions are simply e-mailed to the participant after he has completed what he was tasked to.
- Moderated Studies. Here we are seeing the participant as well as the facilitator both online simultaneously. The facilitator has a chance of asking questions personally and to get deeper into the issues revealed with additional questions as well. The approach is more resource-requiring but proves to provide you with slightly better results.
So what’s not to forget about Usability Tests?
There are many steps you are to follow while performing Moderated usability Testing. Steps like:
- Do more listening and less talking. Don’t be silent as you are to talk in order to actually moderate the session. But talk only when necessary. Pay more attention to listening to what the participant has to say.
- Record the way users are handling tasks. And always provide users with appropriate tasks no matter on the seeming simplicity of the app under test. It may deem easy to you but not to them.
- Measure all you can even if reporting of those numbers is not required. Problem frequencies, rating scales, task times, completion rates, etc. are to be at your disposal at any time otherwise tests may prove to be a simple waste of time and resources. Questions are to be asked after the completion of every single task.
- Have a standard questionnaire and use it at each session’s end. Such an approach proves to be way better than a homegrown one.
- Record all that is happening on the screen so you are able of playing back required parts of the entire process whenever they are needed later on.
- Sometimes you are getting informed and more often you don’t. I am talking about no-shows now. Statistics prove that there is about 10-20% of people that won’t attend as they stated before for an unknown reason. Thus you are to over-recruit from the start.