Five essentials for delivering engaging virtual research

4th March 2021

An unexpected positive of the last 12 months has been the ability to conduct more remote usability testing conveniently and quickly. As a provider of participant recruitment for UX studies, Acumen has put together 5 steps on running an awesome field stage of a UX project.

Define but also diversify your personas

Define the personas you want to test from an appropriate source – this might be existing customer data or even competitor data if your client is seeking new customers. Ask yourself if you need to think about life stage, gender, income, ethnicity, abilities and recruit a broad range of participants.

Have your links ready

Have a clear idea of the platform you’ll use and how participants will join it when you put your brief together. Then you can check they have the right setup during recruitment (browsers, screening in mac/ pc users), and they will receive one clear invite which has everything they need on it rather than a drip of information.

Do tech checks

The technical ability of the general population has increased alongside their reliance on it. Hands up if your granny can now use Zoom? But when remote testing some platforms may struggle; internet connections may vary. A tech-check the day before (at roughly the same session time) for just a couple of minutes can iron out any teething problems.

Listen and take time

There is huge pressure to run back to back sessions, jumping from one to another. Even if you’re eager to cover ground with participants, active listening is essential. Consider a formal qualitative moderation course to help develop this skill. Arrange sessions with rest times between to alleviate the stress of overrunning, and give yourself time to make notes.

Avoid bias during testing

Keeping things contained, low cost and casual led many developers to use friends, family and colleagues in the past to test. This can cause a false consensus effect if participants are not neutral to the process. Screen out those who might have hidden agendas, and balance the range of criteria so that your participant’s characteristics are weighted in any one way.

Acumen provides project management and recruitment for in person and remote user tests. Screener writing, recruitment, tech checks, hosting, and incentive payments can all be handled by our expert team of project managers. To chat about how we can help email 

By Gareth Dyson



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