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Top 8 Concepts to Consider When Conducting Remote User Research

UX research lies at the heart of any successful design. You need to ensure that people understand your design, can use it effectively, and don’t lack any vital features or elements. Thus, usability testing with real target users is what you need to make the website efficient and successful.

Some time ago, every SaaS web design company organized face-to-face interviews and focus groups on testing the website’s usability and collecting user insights. However, this approach is costly, long, and very resource-intensive. Besides, the modern digital era poses different rules of the game, giving businesses a set of handy online research instruments. Much of the user research has become remote, helping companies get the needed data from users without offline contact.

If you’re on the threshold of a new design and want to double-check it will be relevant to your target users, we strongly recommend testing it via user experience research. Here’s how to organize it and what issues to consider in the process.

Credit: Optimal Workshop’s Blog


#1 Make a Plan

Before starting any UX research endeavor, you must make it focused and well-organized. Having a research plan that guides you and helps you avoid deviations from the initial business goal is always reassuring. The following questions can help you establish the firm basis for remote usability testing:

●       What is the primary research goal? How can it be formulated in the form of a question?

●       What are your narrower objectives?

●       Who are the target participants?

●       What is the optimal study sample?

●       In what context will you conduct research? What kind of interaction does it presuppose?

●       How long will you collect data from the target population?

Answering these questions helps you boil down an abstract research idea to a clear task scope. Thus, it becomes more manageable.

#2 Choose the Target Audience

The next step you need to make is to determine the target population able to give you relevant, valuable insights into your potential design decisions. It should be people possessing some expertise in your target industry; ideally, they should be experienced in using your product or that of competitors. Otherwise, they should possess background knowledge about such products to offer informed opinions instead of guesswork.

#3 Make It User-Friendly

Don’t forget that your target users are not UX research professionals. Thus, you can derive maximum valuable information from them if you design questions simply enough for a layperson to understand and respond to them. Questions should be clear, focusing on one issue at a time, and containing no confusing terminology.

#4 Be Brief

People don’t like completing lengthy questionnaires. It’s a waste of time that no modern busy user can afford. Thus, the main secret to your success is making the survey brief. Focus on a couple of specific points of your concern; don’t distract users with irrelevant questions; your outcomes promise to be much more valuable than extensive qualitative interviews.

Here are some pro tips to achieve brevity and efficiency in your research endeavor:

●       Compose short questions

●       Ask for minimum additional information

●       Give users a clear timeline of the survey to ensure proper time planning and avoid survey abandonment in the middle

●       Use humor to avoid user boredom

●       Split the questions into thematic blocks

#5 Add a Personal Touch

People like being treated with a personal touch and a good degree of customization. Thus, you can win the respondents’ loyalty and commitment to interview completion if you treat them personally.

It’s pretty easy to organize a personal interview with modern technology; you can add the person’s name to questions or sort the questions based on the socio-demographic data indicated in the opening section. Besides, you can introduce yourself and add contact details at the end for those who want to keep in touch or get updates.

#6 Define Your Outcomes

It’s hard to get tangible results from UX research if you’re not sure what you plan to achieve. What is the business idea behind your study? What confusion do you want to resolve? What strategy do you want to test?

Besides, it would help to communicate the expected outcomes to your participants. They should understand who you are, what company you represent, what type of study you’re holding now, etc. Give a short introduction at the beginning of the survey, pointing to:

●       Voluntary participation in the survey

●       Confidentiality of data

●       Purposes of data collection

●       Ways of analyzing data

●       Ways of treating data after collection

#7 Offer a Reward

There’s nothing better than offering a financial or non-financial incentive for people agreeing to participate in your UX study. Incentives make participants more committed to survey completion and more diligent in responses. Thus, you can boost users’ engagement in the survey by offering exclusive materials, lucrative discounts, or a coupon for their next purchase.

#8 Use Different Methodologies

UX research is a vibrant sphere in which capable, talented specialists can gain unique insights from the target audience. Producing products that people need is always a winning strategy, and you have the chance to take advantage of UX research by understanding what people need and giving it to them.

Every business case is individual, and expert researchers should be able to identify the right tools for getting the information they need. However, the choice of research methodology is often the key determinant of your efforts’ success. Arranging online surveys is often not enough to fully understand people’s attitudes and preferences. You might need to complement the research endeavor with focus groups, personal interviews, and A/B testing.

When to Use Remote Research?

As you can see, remote research is pretty simple to organize, especially if you have a clear goal and a good idea of who your target audience is. With the modern tech progress, remote research is a great substitute for face-to-face research. You can utilize various tools, such as recording software, headphones, and transcription programs, to get an informative dataset for further UX work. So, remote studies can become a real savior for UX specialists at the crossroads, giving first-hand insights into customer preferences in the comfort of your office or home settings.

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