How important is it to test users in their natural context of use?
At home, at work, or on the go: four reasons for conducting remote user tests.
We find it very important. It’s something that anyone would agree helps things seem closer to reality. But let’s analyze it in more detail.
Here are 4 reasons why conducting usability tests with users in their natural context of use is an asset to your ux research:
- Having users interact with an application at home, or at work, with their own PCs and their real settings is obviously where and how you’d want users to give you feedback. They’re interacting with the system with their laptops, with a specific monitor resolution, processor speed, mouse etc.
- When a user does not have a stranger in front of him, he may be more direct (and honest?) about what’s good or bad, what he’s missing, etc. This is specially true (or valuable) when the topics are considered private, or when we’re dealing with the kind of issues you just don’t feel comfortable discussing openly in a Lab environment.
- In Remote Usability Testing, you can test users at home. However, there are two types of remote testing methods: Moderated and un-moderated. With un-moderated (which is what we do at UserZoom), the fact that you can test users at home and they participate simultaneously without a moderator also gives researchers another huge advantage: cost-efficiencies. Obviously you save time and money on moderation time, but also you can perform international testing for a relatively lower investment.
- Furthermore, it’s all about ‘quantifying usability’. In unmoderated testing you normally use large samples of users, allowing you to actually quantify (not just identify) usability issues. Sometimes companies need metadata to make strategic decisions. Sometimes it’s very useful to combine qualitative with quantitative data.