Bolt | Peters

Remote Usability Explained

November 11th, 2004

There are several kinds of remote research options available now, and we've seen a lot of confusion out there on the difference between automated remote testing and moderated remote testing. We've outlined the differences below:

Moderated Remote Testing

A real person observes each user perform tasks, using software to record their screen movements, and notes their behavior and the areas that are problematic for them. After 8-12 users, clear patterns emerge showing where the interface is broken. This is a small-sample behavioral research method.


Ethnio, WebEx, Camtasia, NetMeeting

Automated Remote Testing

A computer program watches thousands of users perform tasks using a frame to input their thoughts. The tool then compiles a report of how long it took people to complete tasks and where they failed and reported problems. This is a large-sample research method and is great for benchmarking or validating findings from small-sample research.


Relevantview, Vividence, Netraker.

Remote Card Sorting

We use a combination of Web Sort and IBM's EZ-Sort.

Web Surveys

Large sample research with thousands of users.

By Nate Bolt
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