Eight things you should know about using Zoom or Skype for remote research

The case for an alternative solution to using video-conferencing tools for UX research. 

Are you interested in conducting remote user research but you’ve noticed that Zoom has been having some security issues lately?  We would like to present you the case for an alternative solution. 

Okay, so cards on the table…

We love UserZoom GO. Of course, we own UserZoom GO, but that’s because WE LOVE UserZoom GO.

And one of the reasons for this unbridled love between brands is because of their ridiculously easy to use Remote Usability Testing solution, that’s completely secure, hassle-free and built specifically for the purpose of moderated and unmoderated user research.

We love it so much that we’ve just integrated it into our own UserZoom solution.

But we’re not here to talk UserZoom, we’re here to talk UserZoom GO. And its awesome Remote Usability Testing solution. And how it’s waaaaaaay better and safer than using Zoom or Skype or Teams or FaceTime.

So why should you believe us? May we present you with…

Eight reasons why you should think twice about using video conferencing tools for user research

1) Security issues

There have been countless serious cases of hate-speech, violence and other disturbing videos shared by unsolicited guests on a Zoom call.

Although Zoom has recently improved its security features to tackle ‘zoombombing’ it’s still struggling to cope with the demands of its soaring user-base and people willing to find a way to hack such a high-profile tool.

If you’re carrying out user research for companies that demand a higher level of security, Zoom has been tarnished and therefore you will have to find a solution with enterprise-level security features.

2) Privacy issues

Just a few areas of privacy concern for Zoom users:

  • Zoom has recently fixed a bug that allows hackers to take over a Zoom user’s Mac
  • It has just reversed course on a decision to provide end-to-end encryption to all customers, not just those who pay for a subscription
  • The iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don’t have a Facebook account
  • Zoom has admitted it suspended the accounts of human rights activists at the behest of the Chinese government and suggested it will block any further meetings that Beijing complains are illegal

And these are the ones we know about.

As a user researcher you want to be 100% confident that when you tell your participants that their session is completely secure and their data is private, you really mean it. So you probably shouldn’t be using Zoom.

3) Complicated interfaces

Many video conferencing tools tend to have lots of controls, settings and floating windows available for everyone because there’s a wide variety of scenarios in video conferencing they need to cater to.

This isn’t optimal for user research. Your participants, and indeed your stakeholders don’t need all these controls and distractions. They could easily press the wrong thing, and it detracts from the experience you want them to focus on.

4) Stage fright

In a video conference, you can see everyone on the call. This is great for meetings, not so good when trying to get a participant to open up to you and give honest feedback. Having lots of people in the room is intimidating.

In UserZoom GO, your stakeholders are hidden away ‘behind the glass’, the participant can’t see them and are therefore more likely to give useful feedback.

5) You still have to find your participants

Video conferencing tools don’t help you to find participants and inviting and scheduling sessions can be manual, laborious, and time-consuming. And that’s before you’ve even begun running the sessions, collecting the data, and running the analysis.

With UserZoom GO you can source your own users and simply schedule a session through the platform, or we can source participants for you through our panel – no more sourcing headaches.

6) You still have to manually analyze and share insights

Video conferencing tools aren’t great for watching back your sessions, collating notes, and sharing insights.

UserZoom GO's Insights Report helps you quickly take video clips and turn them into insights to send directly to your stakeholders.

7) Where do you keep and access all your session videos?

Video conferencing tools don’t work as a research repository. You’ll need to store all your videos on a hard drive, taking up a huge amount of space, and you’ll have to ruthlessly label them and index them to make them vaguely searchable.

With UserZoom GO, all your sessions and studies are available from your dashboard, and enterprise customers can even upload previous interviews you conducted in your video conferencing tool into UserZoom GO.

8) They’re just not built for user research

If you’re using Zoom or Skype or another video conferencing tool for user research, then you’re having to use it in conjunction with other unintegrated tools that weren’t made bespoke for user research.

Perhaps you’re furiously scribbling in a notepad, missing key moments of behavior. Maybe you’re recording the sessions, but then you have to face watching hours and hours of videos in order to carry out your analysis. You could pay for transcriptions, but these are costly and you could be waiting days.

You then have to collate all the qualitative data yourself and put them into some kind of visually stimulating report, that conveys your results and suggests the next course of product development.

OR… you could use UserZoom GO, which does all of the above for you. Records the sessions, provides transcriptions, automates the collation of results and creates reports for you.

And of course, in a completely secure manner, that meets the strictest standards. And it’s super easy to use – for participants, notetakers, observers and you: the moderator who has to sit through all these sessions, yearning for a better way.

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