Unmoderated usability testing involves research participants conducting a set of tasks or activities using the product or service being tested. The tasks or activities are provided to the participant by a piece of software that subsequently records their actions and responses to the tasks they are given, The software can also ask follow up questions to the participants after tasks have been completed.
Usability testing is generally used once the product concept has been defined and the detailed user interface is being developed. The aim is to uncover potential issues with the product design and discover opportunities to improve the product before it’s released. It’s also a valuable tool when a product is live and you want to optimize aspects of it.
Unmoderated usability testing is specifically used when no researcher to participant interaction is required. This is typically best used when quantitative insights are required, for instance measuring task completion times, task success or error rates.
When little follow up or exploration into why something happened is required unmoderated usability tests are great.
How long will it take users to complete tasks?
What percentage of people will be able to use the product without making an error?
Where in the product will cause confusion?
Participants can conduct the test where they naturally would use the product
No impact on key metrics such as task completion by a researcher being present or available to talk to
High volume of tests can be completed simultaneously
Limited opportunity to understand why a behavior is occurring
No ability to ask the participant any follow up questions based on their behavior or previous answers
Research sessions need to be short as the participant is working on their own