Usability testing is an essential step in our design sprint process at Checkmate Digital. However, we conduct the majority of our testing remotely so we’re not limited geographically and so test users aren’t required to travel to our office. Our user tests are also moderated—meaning a design sprint facilitator and/or designer watches, observes, and takes notes while a user walks through the prototype—and we’re able to do this remotely thanks to the best tools in the biz.
Below are (in our opinion!) four of the best remote usability testing tools and an explanation of how we use them.
MURAL is a visual collaboration tool that allows us to collect and organize feedback on digital whiteboards—and we think it’s a must-have for conducting remote usability testing. (We like MURAL so much we’re actually part of their partner program!) MURAL makes it easy for us to organize the ideas that come out of our design sprint workshops in a secure, visual workspace that our team can access anytime, anywhere.
Features we love: We love that digital sticky notes allow us to conduct remote usability testing exactly the way we would in person. The drag-and-drop functionality enables us to easily cluster different concepts into themes, so we can begin to recognize trends that will later be used to aggregate results.
We use Figma to design, prototype, and collaborate all in one system. The interactive prototypes that come out of our design sprint workshops live in Figma, so when we send a link for usability testing that’s where target users are directed. Once we send out a Figma link—which happens right before the user test to avoid skewing results—test users can simply jump right in and access the prototype from their web browser without the need to install any specific software or plugins.
Features we love: Figma allows everyone—from designers and design sprint facilitators to key stakeholders and test users—to access the latest and greatest version of a prototype and collaborate in real-time. Figma’s unique design capabilities streamline the prototyping and testing processes, making it easy for us to build and test prototypes that look (and function) just like real digital products.
At Checkmate, we use an automated scheduling platform called Calendly to schedule qualifying calls with target users who will be taking part in prototype testing. We also use the platform to schedule individual user tests. The process is simple: We send a Calendly link to target users that showcases available time slots for testing. Test users can then book directly in the platform, which helps to eliminate all the back-and-forth emails that make scheduling difficult.
Features we love: We love that Calendly takes the work out of scheduling usability testing, making the process painless and helping to avoid unnecessary project delays. (After all, the design sprint process is all about efficiency!) It also integrates with Google, which is important because we use Google Hangouts Meet for video calls during remote user testing.
Chances are you’ve already heard of Google Hangouts Meet. This video conferencing solution works great in a lot of business scenarios, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s one of the best tools for remote, moderated usability testing. Because the majority of tests are moderated, a video conferencing tool is needed for observing remote testing.
Features we love: While there are undoubtedly several other options for video meetings, we’ve found that video calls on Google Hangouts Meet are easy to access— even for the least tech-savvy test users. We also love that test users don’t have to worry about having login information or specific plug-ins to jump on a video call, as this eliminates a majority of technical difficulties we face while conducting remote tests.
These tools make it possible for us to put our digital prototypes in front of targeted users—regardless of where they’re located and how busy their schedules are. As a result, we can generate invaluable feedback that’s used to inform and validate our clients’ product strategies.
If you’re tossing around a new product idea but are unsure of where to go next, let’s talk. We’d love to hear what you’re working on and discuss how we can help bring your vision to life in record time.