Remote user testing – or what I learnt from Michele Ide-Smith

I was tipped off that I should talk to Michele about remote user testing at the recent UK Govcamp 2012.

I was lucky enough to meet Michele who very kindly gave up a fair amount of time to cover some of the basics.

Some of us have probably seen some kind of user testing that either involved a facilitated discussion or maybe one to one script testing watched by a one way mirror. This is always fun and revealing.

But what do you do if you don’t have much time, budget or you want to test a very specific point? This is where remote testing might help and compliment other approaches.

If you want to film what users do generally you use a tool such as Gotomeeting to start the initial log in. You then use one of the filming tools below to track what users actually do. Of course there is a bit more to it than that which is why you might need to approach an expert like Michele.

So here are some tools or sites that you might want to have a look at:

Camtasia – if you want to film online what a users does with your content.

Silverback – Guerrilla usability testing software for designers and developers (of course)

Chalkmark – screenshot testing with heatmaps

Crazyegg – heatmap tracking

Treejack – to test your IA – lots of advice

UXdesign.smashingmagazine – even more advice

You can also read the article by Nick Breeze on the Government Digital Service site with a useful slidedeck.  

I have also used Clicktale to log what users do on my other blog.

Q. So what was the one key message from Michele?

A. Keep testing on a regular basis – all those small improvements add up. 


Recommended book – Rocket surgery made easy by Steve Krug of course.

If you have any sense you might also want to follow Michele @micheleidesmith





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