Moderated vs Unmoderated Usability Testing
Usability testing can allow you to understand and improve the user experience of your website or app. If you decide to take advantage of it for your asset, you’ll need to choose between moderated and unmoderated user testing. Since both options can be useful in various situations, it’s important to familiarize yourself with what they are and how they differ. By doing so, you’ll be able to design an effective user testing strategy that sets you up for success.
Benefits of Usability Testing
No matter if you opt for moderated or unmoderated user testing, you can gain valuable insight into how your users interact with your website or app. With this information, you’ll be able to fix errors and make changes before you launch, saving time and money. User testing may also lead to an overall better product and happier customers, which can translate into improved ROI and increased revenue.
Moderated vs. unmoderated tests, what’s the difference?
The main difference between moderated and unmoderated user tests is whether a moderator will be present to guide the participants or the participants will be left to carry out the test on their own. Here’s a brief overview of moderated and moderated user testing and the pros and cons of each option.
Moderated Usability Testing
Moderated user testing involves a moderator and the participants in a remote setting or in-person in a UX lab or corporate environment. The moderator is usually someone with knowledge of the product and people skills whose main focus is to keep things running smoothly.
They guide participants with tasks, answer questions, and respond to their feedback in real-time. The moderator may also intervene in the event a participant doesn’t understand the instructions or faces a technical issue.
Pros Of Moderated Usability Testing
The most noteworthy advantages of moderated usability testing include:
- High-Quality Feedback: The involvement of a moderator allows for more in-depth answers from participants, which can, in turn, lead to more meaningful insights.
- Greater Participant Engagement: A moderator’s guidance usually results in participants who are more motivated to complete the test.
- An Effective Way to Gather Qualitative Data: With moderated usability testing, it’s much easier to answer questions related to ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’.
Cons Of Moderated Usability Testing
These are the drawbacks of moderated usability testing.
- Difficult to Plan: Since you have to coordinate with every participant’s schedule, it may be a real challenge to plan a moderated session.
- Expensive: Due to all of the resources involved, the cost of moderated user testing can add up very quickly.
- Potential for Moderation Errors: Mistakes by the moderator, which are common, will hinder the quality of the test results.
Unmoderated Usability Testing
Unmoderated usability testing allows participants to perform tasks on a website or other digital asset on their own, typically in a remote setting. Since there is no moderator involved, participants are asked to follow directions that have been created in advance.
The clicks, taps, page views, time on task, and other metrics of the participants’ engagement may be tracked. Participants might also offer ratings or some qualitative feedback in a survey or text entry box.
Pros Of Unmoderated Usability Testing
The benefits of unmoderated usability testing are:
- Convenient: Test participants can test anytime, anywhere on their own device in a relaxed and comfortable environment.
- Cost-Effective: Unmoderated usability testing can give you the chance to engage a large or widely-dispersed audience at a very low price point.
- Quick: Compared to moderated usability tests, unmoderated testing is fast and can be completed in only 20 minutes or even less, depending on the tasks at hand.
Cons Of Unmoderated Usability Testing
These are the downfalls of unmoderated user testing:
- No Opportunity to Ask Follow-Up Questions: While follow-up questions can offer valuable insights, the lack of a moderator makes it tough to ask them.
- Risk of Participant Confusion: Since a moderator won’t be there to guide them, participants might get stuck on certain tasks.
- Technical Issues May Occur: Unmoderated usability testing is prone to technical glitches, especially if you don’t invest in the right type of technology or have participants with unreliable internet connections.
Getting Start With Unmoderated Usability Testing
Moderated and unmoderated user tests should complement one another, rather than compete. Both options can help you test various components of your design and user experience. If you’d like to pursue unmoderated usability testing, UserBob is here to help.