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Juliette Melton at BayCHI: Real World Remote Research

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Remote research can raise the quality and lower the costs of your user research efforts; using a combination of surveys, video, screensharing, and phone, you can connect with a much broader range of users than you could using traditional lab-based usability tests, while using resources more efficiently than you would doing contextual research. In this workshop-style talk, Juliette Melton will cover recruiting sources, technology tools, and caveats you might not have thought of, including managing time zones and participant distraction. We will also address pros and cons of increasingly popular non-scripted research services.

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Juliette Melton at BayCHI: Real World Remote Research

  1. 1. Real World Remote Research Juliette Melton Deluxify User Experience
  2. 2. What is remote research? flickr.com/striatic
  3. 3. Who has done this? flickr.com/striatic
  4. 4. Why and why not to go remote flickr.com/johnida
  5. 5. Selling remote research... • Ease of recruiting • Recruiting quality • Participant’s real environment • No limit to the number of observers • If real-time recruiting, using actual tasks
  6. 6. ... but there are some caveats • Limited to participants with fast internet access • Lots of opportunities for tech failure • Can’t see participant faces
  7. 7. ... but there are some caveats • Timezones • Languages • Doesn’t work for mobile • Secret works in process • Consent for minors
  8. 8. Go remote if: • You can share what you’re studying • You don’t have easy access to your target users • You’re not focusing on mobile research • You’re not working with minors
  9. 9. Exercise • What big questions is your organization facing? • How are you addressing those big questions?
  10. 10. How to do remote research flickr.com/62327186@N00
  11. 11. Components • Participant • Moderator • Observer(s) • Tasks • Computer
  12. 12. Components • Participant • Participant’s computer • Moderator • Internet access • Screensharing software • Observer(s) Plus: • Phone • Tasks • Moderator/observer • Computer communication • Recording mechanism
  13. 13. Whither scheduling? • Scheduled, moderated • Non-scheduled, moderated • Non-scheduled, non-moderated
  14. 14. Scheduled & moderated • Pro: Doesn’t require access to code • Pro: Could be easiest transition from in-person studies • Con: Tasks aren’t authentic • Con: Scheduling takes time
  15. 15. People • Participant • Moderator • Observer(s)
  16. 16. Recruiting • House ads • Event websites • Customer lists • Recruiting agencies • Twitter
  17. 17. Recruiting • House ads • Event websites • Customer lists • Recruiting agencies • Twitter • Mechanical Turk
  18. 18. Scheduling • Survey to collect information • Ask for: name, age, internet access, willing to install plug-in, time zone, email address, phone number • Email back with confirmation, proposed times • Information you can refer back to on the phone
  19. 19. Audio • Easiest: call landline or mobile via Skype • Skype-to-Skype quality isn’t great • Record on your computer • Use a good quality headset! • Better quality: use patch to record your landline
  20. 20. Screen Sharing • WebEx • Adobe Connect (don’t need Pro version) • GoToMeeting • LiveLook • Try whatever your company already has!
  21. 21. Recording • Mac: iShowU HD • PC: Camtasia • PC: UserVue (discontinued)
  22. 22. Moderation • Introduce yourself and remind them of the email you sent • Help the participant install whatever plug-in they need to use the screen sharing software • Get approval to record
  23. 23. Moderation • “It's a little weird doing this and not being able to see each other! Could you just tell me a bit about yourself? Where you live, how old you are, and the kind of work that you do?”
  24. 24. Moderation • “We’re testing the website, not you” • Make it clear that you’re listening • Stay focused and comfortable • Respect participant’s time • Let your colleagues know that you’re in a testing session
  25. 25. Pro Tips • Keep a timer in the recording frame • Include your notes in the recording frame • Edit video to make a “best of” montage • Give yourself plenty of set up time!
  26. 26. Dealing with tech failure • Be apologetic • Reschedule, if possible • Increase the incentive amount • Sometimes it just won't work
  27. 27. Non-scheduled & moderated • Pro: Get real users of your site engaged in authentic tasks • Pro: Reduced recruiting time • Con: Requires access to code • Con: Need lots of site traffic
  28. 28. Ethnio • Live recruiting tool from Bolt | Peters • ethnio.com • (Also check out their book Remote Research)
  29. 29. Non-scheduled & non-moderated • Pro: Get real users of your site engaged in authentic tasks • Pro: Reduced recruiting time • Con: No control over moderation sessions • Con: Can’t adjust sessions on the fly
  30. 30. Non-scheduled & non-moderated Usabilla Source: mashable.com
  31. 31. Non-scheduled & non-moderated Usabilla Source: mashable.com Text Text
  32. 32. Real projects flickr.com/denniskatinas
  33. 33. Lumos Labs • Goal: Understand customer behavior related to daily game playing • Participants: Current customers • Recruiting: Twitter, email newsletter, blog • Why remote: User diversity, ease of recruiting
  34. 34. LendAround • Goal: Interviews with potential customers as formative research • Audio only • Recruiting: Mechanical Turk • Why remote: Easier to reach very specific user types
  35. 35. flickr.com/haraldfelgner
  36. 36. Exercise • Would remote research be useful for your organization? • Is there a project that you know about that would benefit from a remote component?
  37. 37. Questions? flickr/a-g
  38. 38. Thanks! Juliette Melton Deluxify User Experience deluxify.com @j

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