Remote Web Site Usability Testing - Benefits Over Traditional Methods

Jessica Gardner


Web sites have become a key communication medium, and usability is an essential factor in good web site design. Usability testing is an inexpensive way to gather valuable feedback from representative users, which can help web designers and content creators make their site more usable and relevant to its audiences. This paper examines the benefits of remote online testing over more traditional face-to-face methods. Remote online testing provides access to a larger pool of potential testers, cuts out travel time, and can significantly lower the cost of usability testing. Although the benefit of face-to-face contact is lost, research shows this method is just as effective in identifying usabilityissues as traditional testing. The UNECE Statistical Division recently conducted tests of its current web site ( as a basis for redesigning the site's information architecture and establishing a benchmark for future usability studies. Tests were conducted remotely using online conferencing software, allowing testers to be truly representative of our geographically dispersed users and significantly reducing costs.

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