How to do remote user testings for free
Updated: Aug 14, 2020
User testings and Usability testings are a very important step to be taken before a product, website, or application is launched. By testing a design on a real user, you are able to easily identify what goes wrong with the product, as well as validate what really satisfies your costumers. If most users do not like something in the prototype, or the final product you are showing them, there is no better time to be making a change. Anyways I am not writing on how to conduct a step by step user testing today (comment somewhere if you would like me to), but on how you can conduct one remotely... and for free!
In this article, I could be listing a ton of user testing tools (free and paid), so that I would get a better Search Engine Optimization ranking on Google, but unfortunately for Google, I have decided to take a more unconventional approach for this article, and without farther ado, I will go straight to the point and tell you which tool I use for remote user testings.
Yes, I will show you the good stuff in a second! :D, but first I really wanted to explain the things that I do in a non-remote user testing in an office space, so that you can easily understand how much time and money a remote user testing can save you.
User testings must do's
When I conduct a user testing, I perform a few tasks prior and during the session. These habits, in my opinion, lead to a successful user testing session in an office space:
Prepare a script
Test the script with colleague and memorize a few questions
Test camera, microphone and multiple monitors
Test the expensive testing software you are using, prior user testing
When the interviews begin, record screen, audio , and user's face
I also observe as much as possible the user's face expressions while going through the prototype
I take key notes while all of this is happening, or someone else is taking them
I let stakeholders watch the live session from another room
Using Microsoft Teams for remote user testings
When I was first looking for a remote user testing tool online, I was overwhelmed by the many options offered by articles and websites on the internet. Many of those sources are free (Zoom, Skype, etc.), while some software needs to be paid (ex. Usertesting.com).
While I was looking into all these tools, I suddenly remembered that I use Microsoft Teams to video call stakeholders of projects I am involved in, and I also share my screen with them sometimes. Then, I wondered if I could record people's faces and the screen at the same time on Teams, so I called my colleague, and asked him to help me test a session.
The recording worked perfectly, and the following day I used Teams for some real user testings. During the User testings, I was able to record the user's face and the screen at the same time, while over 3 stakeholders were observing the session (you can have up to 250 people join a Teams call). Microsoft Teams is free, easy to download and very user friendly; on the other hand, If you use mainly zoom in your company, then I would suggest you use Zoom for User Testings
Why remote user testings are not so bad
Remote user testings are really easy to conduct because they make many things a lot easier. Testing the software prior testings does not take long at all unlikely conventional user testings, note taking is a lot easier and it does not make the user feel under pressure. Throughout the interview you can read from the script you prepared without being caught by anyone, while stakeholders can easily observe the session from anywhere.
I am really starting to enjoy remote user testings lately, Let me know in the comments if you agree, and if you liked this short article!