7 Ways to Get Better Data During Remote Usability Testing

Ashutosh Chandra | 30th July 2020

Empathy is absolutely crucial for gathering candid user feedback. It is an essential part of the product research process. The key to getting users to open up during research is to make users as comfortable as possible, which requires empathy. Focus on constantly trying to empathize and relate during your research conversations.Here are some of the effective strategies to have more comfortable conversations with users and get more valuable insights:

Make time for introductions


As users can get nervous during a research call, so ensure to spend some time at the beginning of the session. Introducing yourself and ask them about themselves. Ask a few simple questions about where they’re from and the company they work for. If you do this sincerely, it demonstrates that you care about what they do and want to understand more about their world. It also offers more context about what their job entails and how and why they might be using your product.


Casual Conversation


Align the research you’re doing as just two people having a conversation. Make it clear that you’re on the same team. And remind them of this as much as you need to throughout the call — especially when you’re sensing they’re becoming uncomfortable or hesitant.

Converse in Customer’s Language



Use the customer’s jargon and terminology, not your own. If your customer makes up their own name, although you have an internal name for a feature, use that. Don’t make them feel stupid for calling a “landing page” a “squeeze page” even if that’s not what you’d call it in a million years. You’re in their world now. They must call it that for a reason. Learn from it.


Think like an account manager


Sometimes a customer will become angry with you for something your company did — something that has nothing to do with you or your research. This might be completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand, but it’s not something you can ignore. Give them an assurance that you’re listening and apologize for the negative experience. Tell them that you hear their feedback and that you’ll make sure it gets to the appropriate person, fast. Then get back to your task at hand. Write down the feedback and after the call follow up with them to let them know you appreciated their candor and that their feedback has been heard by an appropriate team member. Copy the person you’ll be referring to their feedback to on this email, if appropriate. Whatever you do, follow up and follow through.


Be constantly reassuring


Often, users aren’t sure if they’re even being helpful. Reassure them that their feedback has been incredibly valuable and that you can’t do your work without their assistance.


Ask neutral questions


As you’re running the call, try your hardest to ask questions that don’t indicate that there might be a correct answer. For example, after looking at a website, you might ask, “Why did we make this page?” These type of questions could make a user feel as if they’re being tested, which isn’t what you’re after. Practice something more neutral, like “If you had to describe this page’s purpose to a colleague, how would you describe it?” That makes them think about it in the context of how and why they would have ended up at this page, not making them guess as to why you built it. It also gives insight into what and how they speak about your company to their colleagues and what that page’s purpose might be from their point of view.


Don’t answer questions


It is possible that users are going to ask you questions about why something is designed the way it is during the session. Rather than answering them and starting down that path, say something like “That’s a really good question and one I was actually wondering myself. What do you think?” Use this to reiterate the fact that you are here to learn from them and you don’t have any of the answers. It points back on them to tell you what they were thinking as to why you built something and will give you another bullet point of data about your design.



As you can see, each of these techniques focuses on removing the pressure from the customer to perform correctly and frames your chat as to what it is. a conversation between two people. Talk to users and empathize as you would talk to a close friend and you will start to collect better data about your designs.

About Author


Ashutosh Chandra

Ashutosh is a blogger and technical writer at Oodles, who covers topics ranging from Branding, UI/UX design, Graphic design to other design and technology-related matters.

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