Usability Sciences | UsabilitySciences

Is Online User Testing Reliable for Your Website?

Jul 10th 2014 at 4:52 AM

Online user testing or remote usability testing can be beneficial for businesses whose target users are geographically spread out, making in-person testing impossible or very costly to implement. With remote usability testing, participants can go about using the product being tested—whether it is a website, a new app, software, or any other program, task, product, or service right in the comfort of their natural environment. This offers great benefits in terms of determining comfort levels as well as real-world distractions while using the product. In online testing, such as in an in-person approach, users can be moderated by employing screen-sharing software or a usability vendor service that can help monitor activity and in turn, get real-time test results. Just the same, online testing can also be un-moderated, where users and participants can complete tasks independently, at the time that is convenient to them.

Remote online user testing makes sense for a business/website when:

  1. Timelines and scheduling issues prevent in-person testing.
  2. The target audience and/or participants are too geographically dispersed making in-person testing impractical due to travel costs and difficulties.
  3. The participants require a specific work machine because of security or software requirements.
  4. The participants have issues with accessibility, requiring them to use their own equipment or software.
  5. You want to run multiple tests at once.

Online user testing is a very flexible methodology. However, just like any other research approach, it has its own benefits and challenges:


  • It eliminates the need for a specialized lab environment.
  • It can accommodate a diverse group of participants.
  • It is generally less expensive than most types of in-person lab testing.
  • Un-moderated testing allows you to stretch and extend the test day, which means better chances of accessing a larger pool of users or participants.
  • It affords you the opportunity to administer tests to a significantly larger audience than a typical lab environment can accommodate.


  • There is restricted view of (sometimes no insight about) the user's body language, which may inhibit some cues to reactions to the material/website being tested.
  • Technical difficulties might arise if users are not comfortable with the technology, have conflicting equipment or software, are unable to use screen-sharing over the web, have slow or unreliable connection speeds, or if the test requires a special program, equipment, plug-in, or download, which participants are unwilling or unable to access.

About The Author:


The article has been written by Ben Bishop, the Marketing Manager at Usability Sciences. Usability Sciences offers various Usability Testing services like – Website Usability Testing, Mobile Usability Testing, Website Design, Testing, Remote Usability Testing, and Rapid Iterative Testing. They also offer Eye tracking, Web Usability, Card Sorting and Intercept Survey services to improve your web experience. Besides these they also take a keen interest in various online research and competitive usability research study and analysis.

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