What is Online Usability Testing?
Most designers and developers like to test their products with end consumers and get feedback.
But user testing is commonly thought of as expensive and time-consuming, right?
In a nutshell, online usability testing is a cost-effective and agile way to test your website or mobile app. It has become a popular method used in user experience and usability research that facilitates an automated collection of qualitative and quantitative feedback from participants, or end users, of websites or mobile apps.
These users take the study simultaneously (asynchronous), they may be located in different locations, in their natural context, using their own PC or device.
Unlike traditional in-lab user testing, Online Usability Testing does not require a moderator, therefore it is less expensive and less time-consuming, while still providing reliable and actionable data and results (see more details below).
How it Works in 4 Basic Steps:
- You must first build the study using a Remote Usability Testing solution to conduct remote user tests. This is what we call ‘study design’.
- Once it’s ready, you need to recruit participants and invite them to participate. Users can be recruited through a panel provider, via email, social media, etc.
- Participants simultaneously take the test from their own computer or device and in their own environment (a.k.a ‘in-the-wild’ testing). No moderation is needed. During the study, participants are provided a set of tasks or goals and are asked to walk through it as they normally would. They may be also asked to provide thoughts out loud (think-aloud process). After the tasks, they’re asked to provide feedback after the task completion via a follow-up questionnaire.
- The software tracks and collects data real time, including success ratios, time on task, clickstreams, heatmaps, video, audio, facial expressions, mouse movements, responses to the questionnaires, etc. Results can be accessed through an analytics dashboard, shared with others or exported to Powerpoint, Word, Excel or SPSS.
Types of Testing You Can Conduct with Online Usability Testing:
- Unmoderated remote usability testing, task-based studies (desktop and mobile)
- UX & usability competitive benchmarking
- UX & usability benchmarking of your own site over time
- Online card sorting
- Tree testing
- Prototype and wireframe testing
- Voice of customer studies
- Click testing
- Timeout testing (5-second test)
- Market research
9 Main Benefits of Online Usability Testing:
- It’s one of the most cost-effective forms of research
- Collect feedback much faster compared to in-lab research
- Take advantage of a broad geographic coverage / conduct international testing
- Find the right participants for your research (sports car owners with manual transmissions)
- Convenient for participants and allows for more natural behavior
- Gain statistical confidence through large sample sizes
- Validate or define lab-based research
- Obtain both quantitative & qualitative data in a single study (depends on a tool that you use)
- Run multiple tests at once
Types of Data You Can Collect with a Online Usability Testing Solution:
One of the main reasons why Online Usability Testing is being implemented successfully is due to the quality of data collected. Here are a few examples of the types of data you can collect:
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