Remote User Testing Musings

I went to a BayChi meeting last night with my web UE team. The title
of the talk was “Hello
Morae, Farewell VHS!
” by Emily Hebard and Joanna Sim from Intuit. The
talk was good and I learned a bit about Morae.
But for some reason I had got it into my head that Morae could be used
for remote user testing (with the users being remote as opposed to just
the viewers). It was my bad basically for not doing the research.

What my team and I really want to start doing is remote user testing.
I’ve heard a bit about Ethnio, which
looks quite promising for what we want to do here for adobe.com. Also
there is a lot of customizing that can be done to Breeze to
gear it up for use in remote user testing. So there are things out there
that can help us.

More than anything, what I would want out of a remote user testing is
just to allow users to click through a proposed experience on their own
without anyone “watching”. The session would be recorded and include
mouse click data and other actions/events. In addition the user would
fill out a brief questionnaire related to the experience they just had.
They would be compensated in some manner and they’d be on their way.
Then, all the data would be magicked to a central repository where a
user experience professional could browse at will. Something like this
would really ease the overhead of running testing. Over the next month
or so the Web User Experience team will begin to explore and try out
various methods of creating a persistent, predictable, and actionable
input stream from site users (how’s that for a mouthful of mumbo jumbo…).


If anyone reading this has had experience with remote user testing of web sites, I’d
love to hear about it.