Users Say What?

Usability research is not optional.

Many designers are brilliantly educated on design, yet virtually clueless when it comes to obtaining valuable user feedback.  The good news is that nowadays, usability testing can be conducted on the phone and on your computer.

These inexpensive, easy usability testing options are sorted based on your people tolerance quotient (how much you like your fellow planet dwellers).

  • People who like people: Conduct and record a screen-sharing session with a participant.  For this you will need a screen-sharing software tool, a screen recording application, a willing participant and a telephone.  Tips: keep questions open-ended and do not interrupt as the user navigates.
  • People who like machines: Use an automated research study. Use online tools to create task-based usability tests and measure analytics.  This approach lets the tools automatically gather feedback with zero human-to-human contact.  Most of these tools fit into the following categories- task elicitation (gives users specific task prompts), card sorting (learn how to best categorize concepts), enhanced analytics (monitor traffic and what people do on your site).
  • People who like people (from a distance): Try unattended qualitative research.  These services get users to submit webcam videos, images, and verbal feedback on their experience.

If none of these options is attractive to you, be sure to check out this spreadsheet from A List Apart.  This incredible resource includes 70+ remote automated UX tools to kick start your research.


Vickilynn is a Novelist whose first book "Waving Backwards" was published in July 2015. She is also a Blogger at Adoptionfind Blog. Previously, she was a Freelance marketing copywriter at OpenView.
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