I like working with good, reliable checklists. Here is one that I created after I had conducted a couple of remote usability test sessions, in order to keep an eye on the most important things that require my attention when using this method. Today, as I’m more experienced, I find myself completing most of the tasks without turning to the checklist; nevertheless, I made it a habit to check the tasks on the list at least once in the planning phase. And you know what? There are always one or two tasks that slipped my mind.

You might find this checklist helpful especially if you don’t have much experience with remote usability tests. Use the checklist to get an overview about the most important tasks, and enhance the list with the tasks that are particular to your test. If you add a deadline next to each task from the planning phase, you’ll have a nice to-do list.

If you want to dig into the details and the hands-on tips and tricks concerning remote user research sessions, check out the Part 1 and Part 2 posts on this topic.

While Planning the Remote Usability Test Sessions

☐ Create the prototype.

☐ Create the interview guide or the task script.

☐ Check if you have all the equipment and applications that you need (e.g., laptop, camera, mobile device, online conferencing tool).

☐ Agree with each participant on a suitable date and time.

☐ Send an online invitation to each participant.

☐ Communicate to each participant what he or she needs for the session (e.g., a quiet room, a LAN connection).

☐ Send documents (e.g., task script, legal documents) and information about the access to the online conferencing tool to each participant.

☐ Reserve a quiet meeting room for each session.

☐ Send an online invitation to the project team for each session (include the information about the reserved meeting room).

☐ Run a pilot test (also called dry run) about one week before the first session.

☐ Brief your project team about test sessions conducted remotely.

☐ Clarify how and if your colleagues can ask questions during the sessions.

☐ Think about a backup plan in case of technical issues during a session.

☐ Make sure that you have received all the necessary legal documents signed by the participants.


Shortly before the Session (Approx. 30 Minutes before the Session Begins)

☐ Put up a ‘Do not disturb’ sign at the door.

☐ Set up and check the technical devices and the applications you’re going to use.

☐ Open the online conferencing tool and dial-in.

☐ Open the prototype.

☐ If you want the participant to fill out a post-test survey (and you haven’t sent it to the participant), open the document.

☐ Turn off any messaging applications that might disturb you during the session (if you’re using only one monitor).

☐ Close any unnecessary applications (e.g., eMail).

☐ Turn off the screen saver.

☐ Remind your project team about how to act during the session.


Once the Participant Has Joined the Session

☐ Welcome the participant and describe the procedure.

☐ If you prepared a welcome slide for the participants, share it.

☐ Explain to the participant the backup plan for technical issues.

☐ Share the prototype.

☐ Ask the participant if the prototype is displayed well (e.g., if the texts are legible).

☐ Give the participant presenter rights if he or she is to interact with the prototype.

☐ 10 minutes before the end of the session, unmute all lines for open questions of the project team


After the Session

☐ Debrief the project team and discuss the most important findings.

☐ If you’ve recorded the session, save the recording and share it with your project team.

☐ Send a thank-you email to each participant.

☐ Send a gift to each participant.

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