Remote usability testing vs. lab testing: 4 questions for making the right choice
In general, we recommend remote usability tests as opposed to lab-based usability tests. This is because a moderated remote usability test can often deliver results that are at least as good as those from a more expensive lab, but with lower costs, less prep and more flexibility.
But in certain situations, it might be more advantageous to carry out a lab-based usability test. Answering the following four questions is an easy way to decide which type of testing is best for what situation.
Situations favoring a moderated lab-based usability test
If you can answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, then a lab-based usability test may well be your best choice:
- Does this test require the use of eye tracking?
- Do you need high-resolution video documentation for later review?
- Do the moderator and test participant need to be in the same room?
- Is the test item still unstable and unpredictable, making it impractical for the test participant to operate the test computer remotely?
If all four answers are no, then we recommend (as in most cases) a moderated remote usability test.
Situations favoring a moderated remote usability test
In most situations, a moderated remote usability test is the preferred choice, especially in terms of cost-benefit ratio. In the following two situations, we’d even recommend remote testing as the superior option:
- If the target group is poorly represented in the general populace, or is widely spread out across Germany
- If there’s not much time left for prep, and the test needs to be done as soon as possible (still subject to the recruitment of test participants)