Web-based User Research Tools -
A Buyer's Guide
Remote testing apps now occupy a prominent place in the user researcher's arsenal. With functions ranging from surveys, concept testing, mental model validation, usability testing and live site feedback they provide an extremely convenient means of validation design proposals at any stage of development, without involving the research manger in the inconvenience and cost of sourcing test participants or organising a suitable test location.
Yet results can in many cases be more credible than those conducted in a lab. This is particularly true of unmoderated user tests, where participants use a site on their own mobile or in the comfort of their own home or office. The value of this approach is demonstrated when users react with petulant annoyance to failings in a site just as they would in real life, unlike in a usability suite where, due to social norms, participants are inclined to be polite.
However the range of remote testing apps, costs and business models is huge and bewildering. This survey, conducted in mid-2016, combined existing sourced data with original research to provide a guide to their application.