Unmoderated or moderated tests, what’s the real difference? And when do these different research methods work best? We reached out to Moa Bogren to delve into the world of research!
Moa has been working as a UX designer, focusing on research, for the past five years. She is a comprehensive expert on working with customer and user insights.
Unmoderated tests serve as an excellent complement, providing valuable insights with less effort and preparation.
What’s the difference between unmoderated and moderated tests?
– The distinction between unmoderated and moderated tests lies in modality. Moderated tests are led by a person, often a UX designer or researcher, who presents a scenario to the participant. They are given a task to solve, often within a digital interface. The designer then sits with the individual, guiding them and asking follow-up questions. In unmoderated tests, participants receive written instructions – a task – directly on the screen to perform. Both the screen and the participant are recorded, allowing a designer to later review how the participant carried out the test and draw conclusions based on that.
When should we use unmoderated tests?
– I would say, in the latter part of the double diamond. When you know what you’re looking for and the feedback you seek. The simplest scenario is to conduct a test where you want to check the flow from point A to B. There’s no room for speculation because then participants get stuck and do not progress. The prototype must also be extremely stable since you can’t interact with the user; there’s no room for error. The test participant is entirely on their own.
What are the benefits with unmoderated tests?
– There are numerous advantages to unmoderated tests. They take less time to prepare, are often quicker and more efficient, and can be done at scale However, this also demands precision when designing the test. It should focus on a very specific aspect to be tested, such as how long it takes for the user to navigate through a flow or complete a task; or when you want to eliminate error variables.
Any Tips for conducting unmoderated tests?
– Be tough on yourself when preparing for the test, and dare to limit yourself. In unmoderated tests, you can’t elaborate. Simply kill your darlings and concentrate on what you know is the problematic area, advises Moa.
According to her, one of the advantages is that through unmoderated tests, you can transform qualitative tests into quantitative ones!
– There’s been a prejudice that unmoderated tests lack validity, but for me, it’s a way to quantify qualitative research. That can be extremely valuable when communicating with various stakeholders. Speaking about quantified data linked to experience is very powerful.