User testing – on-site or remote: What’s better?

Bild von Elena Gocheva, Director of UX Strategy bei valantic, daneben eine Person, die auf ein Laptop tippt, eine Person, die etwas zeichnet | User Testing: Besser vor Ort oder remote?
Elena Gocheva
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valantic expert Elena Gocheva on user experience & testing methods

User testing is the “way to go” to ensure an optimal user experience from the point of view of the customer. Especially in the areas of retail and e-commerce, it is important to test the current user experience (UX) in order to continuously improve upon it.

There’s no way around it: User testing requires extensive know-how. Experienced partners like valantic will support you in the implementation of UX tests – both on site and remotely.

What are the differences between the two options? We asked our Director of UX Strategy, Elena Gocheva. Read on to get the answer!

Two women talking to each other at a standing workstation

What is user testing?

Having users test systems

User testing is based on the proven method of usability testing, which is primarily concerned with the functionality of a system. The concept of UX testing goes one step further and incorporates the subjective impressions and experiences of users.

How does user testing work?

Customized UX tests at valantic

At valantic, the user testing process looks as follows:

  1. Determine relevant target groups – together with our clients. Based on this, we select suitable test subjects. These are recruited with the support of our clients or by relying on the expertise of market research institutes. In order to achieve significant results, we conduct the tests with a minimum number of five test persons per target group.
  1. Establish the basic parameters: Will the test take place remotely or on site? Exactly which target groups do we test with? Desktop or mobile device? Which evaluation format does the customer need? And so on.
  1. Define suitable scenarios and create guidelines: A guide consists of questions about the target group and the product as well as firmly defined scenarios. A scenario is a task that the user should complete during the test. Based on these scenarios, we can observe the user behavior while performing a task. This lets us find out which challenges users are facing in dealing with the product that is being tested.
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User testing: on-site vs. remote

Differences & advantages summarized

Depending on the individual requirements of our clients, we conduct UX tests on site or remotely. Decision criteria can be the product (system) to be tested, the task, different language versions or the location of the test subjects.

On-site

On-site UX tests take place directly on the client company’s premises, at one of our valantic locations or in a usability lab at a market research institute. An experienced UX expert conducts the test with the respective test subjects. The client observes this from another room, accompanied by a second UX expert. Immediately after each test, the user’s challenges are discussed and suitable options for optimization are defined. Thus, at the end of the day, a common picture emerges for planning the next steps.

Advantages:  

  • strong involvement of the client during the test
  • direct and personal exchange on the day of the test
  • fast decision-making processes
Photo of a woman presenting something to her colleagues.

Remote

With remote testing, the tests take place remotely via video chat. For this option, access to the product should be provided and tested in advance. The guideline and the scenarios to be completed are geared towards remote execution. Live observation on the client’s side is possible without disturbing the test subjects. If the participant agrees, there is also the possibility to record the test.

Advantages:

  • fast and cost-efficient
  • location-independent
  • ideal for internationally active companies

Regardless of whether you opt for remote or on-site testing: At valantic, we focus on you and your customers’ needs in accordance with the user-centered approach (UCA).

Man with glasses looking at a computer screen.

When does it make sense to carry out user tests?

The right test for every phase

At valantic, we work according to the principles of the UCA. This user-centered project methodology puts users at the center of everything we do. It is divided into five phases, which consist of different services.

Grafik von fünf Phasen des User Centered Approach.

Uthe user-centered approach in a nutshell

Depending on the goal, the project phase, and the status of the product being tested, UX testing can be done in the following three phases:

Discovery phase

At the beginning of a project, it is important to test the current status of the product. The goal is to get to know the needs, challenges and wishes of users. In this phase – also called the research phase – the goal is to identify possible improvements based on the test results.

Create-phase (or early delivery phase)
We want to test the first product versions with end customers right away. That’s why rapid prototyping tests are used in the creative concept phase. These can be carried out as follows:

  1. Rapid prototyping test with wireframes
    Initial conceptual approaches are developed in the form of wireframes. For this, we define the strategic direction and the basic wireframe of the site or product. Via the prototyping test, we check the main functionalities and the overall understanding of the new product. Any bugs are uncovered at an early stage, and additional efforts are avoided ahead of time.
  1. UX testing with high-fidelity prototypes 
    In the case of high-fidelity prototypes, the focus shifts even more strongly towards the user experience: In addition to the functionalities of the product, the joy of use is surveyed here. The decisive factor for this test is not only whether users understand the overall concept but also how they perceive the brand and the design.

Good to know: At valantic, we often offer both prototyping tests as a package. Because of the interactive optimization of the product, important questions and requirements are asked at an early stage. The result: an application that is as user-friendly as possible.

Conclusion

Do you want to conduct on-site or remote user tests to optimize the user experience on your website, in your online store, or in your app?

Bild von Elena Gocheva, Director of UX Strategy bei valantic

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