Remote and in-person usability tests are similar, with one key difference: the participant and facilitator aren't in the same geographical location.
Remote usability testing:
- Allows you to conduct user research with participants in their natural environment.
- Doesn’t require the participant or the facilitator to travel.
- Is great for testing products whose users are geographically dispersed.
- Requires employing screen-sharing software or online remote usability tools.
Both remote and in-person usability tests can be moderated or unmoderated.
Moderated remote testing:
- Participants are observed and interacted with while they complete the tasks for the test.
- Best for complex tasks that don’t have a structured sequence of steps or where more interaction and questioning will benefit testing.
Unmoderated remote testing:
- User must perform the task without the intervention of the moderator.
- More effective when it comes to simple tasks that want to answer specific questions about product functionality.
The objective of the task, the type of user required, and its geographical location will determine the type of test: traditional or remote, moderated or unmoderated.
In both moderated and unmoderated tests it is important to be available to address possible problems that may occur.