Task elicitation is the most direct way to gather performance feedback on a particular task, which is why it’s also the most popular. This is a remote version of a tried-and-true user research method.
Unattended qualitative research is useful if you’ve already built some functional elements of your design or application, and you want to hear actual user voices talking about your interface, but you just don’t have the time, desire, or social skills to talk to them directly.
This is a cutting-edge niche of remote research, which takes advantage of the increasing webcam and rich media capabilities many users now have.
There are three basic approaches to conducting quick remote interface tests, whether you’re testing live websites, designs, wireframes, or prototypes.
The approach you take will depend mostly on how you feel about people—do you want to talk to users face-to-face, or use one of the many new UX tools and let computers gather the information automatically? Conduct and record a screen-sharing session with someone you know.
Unattended qualitative research services get users to submit webcam videos, images, and/or spoken feedback about your product.
Doing this kind of research is mostly just a matter of signing up for one of the services and writing a couple of questions for your users to answer.You can then link the form from one of your web pages, or embed the form right on the page (which is slightly more effective).(For a more in-depth discussion of recruiting, see Chapter 4 of our Remote Research book.) Who actually does quick and dirty user research, besides the companies we’ve conducted studies for?As you can probably guess, these methods do not give you much insight or qualitative information on why people struggle with certain parts of your interface, but they do illuminate exactly where users are going wrong.Usually they’ll track various parts of the user’s behavior and allow the participant to type in comments, but that’s it.The idea is to get a sense of how users naturally categorize different concepts so that you can structure your interface’s categorization scheme accordingly.