Synchronous, Remote, Real-Time, Internet-based Usability Tests … what for? – Part 2 –

So What About Synchronous Remote Usability Testing?

The previous week, I posted part One of this article.

In order to integrate the user into the design process at the earliest possible date, it is customary to develop a low-fi prototype which will allow initial evaluation of the overall design. We are however faced with a problem if we want to combine the qualitative feedback of synchronous usability testing with the advantages of non-biased remote testing. How can both approaches be combined?

Yet again, technology should hold the answer to this question:


Requirements for Synchronous Usability Testing:

  • test-user and moderator need to be connected via the Internet
  • a shared screen needs to be in place for both to view the prototype
  • a live audio connection should be in place for synchronous communication
  • the data of the test-session needs to be recorded (audio, video recording of all mouse movements)
  • recorded data needs to be stored for instant retrieval

Optional requirements which may increase the quality of the session:

  • information and tasks should be visible to the test-user
  • moderator’s ability to integrate questionnaires which the user can fill in his own time
  • the moderator can change parts of the prototype whilst conducting the test
  • comments and annotations can be included on-the-fly
  • test-user and moderator can be connected via a live video-feed

Usability Test: Methodologies

The overall test should allow the following methodologies:

  • Thinking Aloud (test-user must think aloud and express what he thinks or misses in the prototype)
  • Wizard of Oz Prototyping (the prototype can be changed on-the-fly for instant ratifications)
  • Team Observation: (the rest of the production team follows the usability test, make notes and come up with alternatives)
  • Formal and Informal Tests
  • Click-path Analysis
  • Use of Questionnaires

Next week, part THREE of this article will follow.

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