Understanding HCI

Remote Testing

What is

Remote usability testing is used when tester(s) are separated in space and/or time from the participants. This means that the tester(s) cannot observe the testing process directly and that the participants are usually not in a formal usability laboratory. There are different types of remote testing. One is same-time but different-place, where the tester can observe the test user's screen through computer network, and may be able to hear what the test user says during the test through speaker telephone. Another is different-time different-place testing such as journaled sessions, where the user's test session is guided and logged through a special piece of software as well as additional code added to the system being tested.

Why Use it

Participants Needed


1 expert is required


Approximately 5 users are required

Task List

Conditions required

  1. Computer network through which participants can send the test results to the tester
  2. Application like Look@me that allow the tester to observe the participant's screen during the test
  3. Application like Lotus Videocam that can record, and replay the recorded screen series
  4. Speaker telephone if the participant is supposed to speak aloud or commnunicate with the tester
  5. Voice recording to record the verbal activities during the test
  6. Journal software to guide and log the usability test session


Limitations Of method



  • H. Rex Hartson et. al., Remote Evaluation: The Network as an Extension of the Usability Laboratory, in CHI96 Conference Proceedings