Rose Cox

Website & Portfolio

Remote usability testing: moderated and unmoderated

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Conducting research is crucial making informed design decisions. Remote usability testing is great for testing websites, prototypes, and mobile apps using online tools or a dedicated remote user research platform. We want to make sure our users have the best experience possible and that they can give us their feedback no matter where they are.

Unmoderated remote usability testing

1. Set your goals. First things first, determine what you want to achieve. Here are some examples:

  • Find usability issues on your platform.
  • See if users can easily find information.
  • Check if users understand the value of your product.

2. Know your audience. Think about who you’re targeting and your audience’s characteristics, such as age, job position, and other factors such as:

  • What jobs they want to get done.
  • How long they’ve been on the platform.
  • What kind of content they like.

3. Find your participants. Research shows 5 to 10 participants can provide a large enough sample size for generating valuable feedback. Craft some questions to find the right people for your test. Remember:

  • Keep questions neutral.
  • Don’t make the screener too long.
  • Avoid leading questions.

4. Set the scene. Give participants a heads-up with an introductory scenario. This sets expectations and includes details like:

  • What they’ll experience.
  • How long the study will take.
  • Any tasks they’ll need to do.

5. Task time. Decide what you want participants to do and estimate how long it’ll take. Remember to:

  • Provide context for each task.
  • Aim for a mix of qualitative and quantitative data.

6. Follow up. Consider what additional information you need, like task success or participant opinions. Use a mix of:

  • Survey and multiple-choice questions.
  • Open-ended responses for deeper insights.

7. Wrap up questions. Finish off with questions about their overall experience. You might ask about:

  • System usability.
  • Likelihood to recommend.
  • General satisfaction.

Tips for writing tasks for unmoderated testing:

  • Keep it clear and simple.
  • Provide all the info they need.
  • Break tasks into easy-to-follow steps.
  • Ask broad questions for insightful feedback.
  • Always evaluate, not just validate designs.

Moderated remote usability testing

Before the interview: Prep; don’t wing it. Here’s what you need:

  • A discussion guide.
  • Clear objectives tied to your questions.
  • Decide who’s facilitating, and who’s taking notes.

During the interview: Time to shine!

  1. Build rapport with some friendly chit-chat.
  2. Set expectations upfront.
  3. Let them do most of the talking.
  4. Embrace pauses – it’s when the good stuff comes out.
  5. If you are recording, ask for permission before doing so.
  6. Jot down timestamps of interesting parts to review later.

After the interview: Wrap-up time!

  1. Summarize the highlights.
  2. Keep all notes in one spot.
  3. Dive into transcripts and recordings for details.


  • Ask lots of “how” and “why” questions.
  • Avoid yes/no questions.
  • Stay neutral to dodge bias.

Common question mistakes:

  • Leading questions (inserting your opinion).
  • Loaded questions (making assumptions).
  • Double-barreled questions (two questions in one).

Example questions to ask during moderated testing:

  • Tell me about the last time you…
  • Tell me about how you…
  • Can you tell me more about…?
  • What are your thoughts/feelings on…?
  • What are your impressions about…?
  • What do you think will happen if you…?
  • How was your experience with…?

Now go rock those usability tests! 🚀