Unmoderated studies work best for evaluating live websites and apps or highly functional prototypes.
They are appropriate for studying activities that don’t require a lot of imagination or emotion from participants.
Perhaps the most important benefit of unmoderated testing is that it allows for the collection of quantitative usability metrics; in other words, statistics.
Because there’s no need to schedule individual meetings with participants, unmoderated testing is much faster than a moderated study. It is possible to launch a study and receive results within hours.
We provide several ways to help you source your participants.
Unmoderated studies also allow you to collect feedback from dozens or even hundreds of users simultaneously.
And for international studies, you don’t have to get up at an ungodly hour to match users’ time zone.
There are a lot of scenarios where online, unmoderated testing is a great fit.
Traditional lab-based testing often consists of between 5 to 8 participants; or more if you have a bigger research budget.
With such a small sample size it would be wrong to attempt to calculate percentages to assist in reporting (e.g. the percentage of participants who completed a task successfully or the average time it took to complete a task).
However, larger sample sizes are possible with online testing and make the calculation of these and many other usability metrics entirely possible. These metrics can deliver significantly greater insights into the usability of a website than ever before.
If you run some online testing in conjunction with lab-based testing you’ll get the chance to validate your lab findings to ensure they are a valid and true representation of your website’s user experience.
Because online testing allows for the collection of quantitative usability metrics it becomes very easy and practical to measure how one website performs against competing websites or other versions of the same website.
This can be particularly valuable if you are redesigning your website and have prepared wireframes of a new design. Pit them against each other to ensure the new design performs better on those key tasks your site visitors come for.
If the target audience of your website is senior business executives, doctors, lawyers or brain surgeons then getting them into your lab for testing can be very difficult and very expensive if you’re offering incentives. But getting these people to do a 5 to 10 minutes online user test in the comfort of their own office is a much more realistic proposition.
If your website has an international audience and you want to ensure it can account for any cultural differences that might exist, lab-based testing around the globe is guaranteed to blow your budget…if you had one big enough to begin with. Online testing easily allows you to recruit participants anywhere in the world.
The cost of doing usability testing is always going to be much cheaper than the lab-based alternative. And once you’ve run a few online studies you’ll be able to run them much faster than anything you can do in a lab.
It follows that if it’s faster and cheaper, you can now conduct more user testing studies more frequently with your currently budget. For years they’ve said, “Test early, test often”, but how many of us have honestly been able to do that? Now, it’s become a reality.
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