User Testing

How To Save Up To 40% More Time at Remote Usability Testing

Published May 21, 2015 ⚡ Updated on October 2, 2023 by Markus Pirker
Remote usability testing: How to save up to 40% time while analyzing the usability videos

If you’re improving your website with the help of remote usability testing you’re already saving up to 60% of the costs and time involved, compared to traditional Lab Testing.


But I’ll now show you a simple yet very effective method of speeding up your remote usability testing cycles even more.

Let’s break up the time needed to set up a remote usability session with 4 participants each month using Userbrain.

Registration, Setup first task ~10 min
Watching four videos ~40 min
Decide on actions ~60 min
Time needed each month ~1h 50min

At Userbrain, the average length of a remote test session is 9,41 min (Yes, we’ve done the math).

That makes around 40 minutes a month needed watching the videos of people using your site.

While this definitely is the most entertaining and rewarding part of usability testing (especially if you share this experience with your whole team) it’s also a very time consuming one.

It’s our goal to make usability testing a habit for everyone. That’s why we are working on solutions to streamline the process of getting insights from usability videos even more.

While we can’t easily cut off time at task setup or Project Management and Reporting, we’ve found a great way of speeding up the process of watching your test videos.

Jumping through the videos

We’ve analyzed how Userbrain customers are watching their test videos and we stumbled upon a pattern: jumping.

Jumping means that people are not really watching the complete video but instead they rush through it by jumping forward every few seconds.

This is how this behavior looks like on a single test video:

Remote usability testing: How to save time analyzing the videos

Jumping behavior while watching a user test session: Green parts are watched once, yellow and orange parts multiple times, white parts are skipped.

While you’re saving quite a lot of time using this method you might as well miss important insights on the parts of the video never watched.

In the example above only 22% of the video was watched, which makes 3,66 minutes needed watching this 18 minute video.

There is of course a trade-off – you’re missing out almost 80% of the video and many possibilities for new insights and usability problems.

How can we increase the speed of watching videos without missing any insights?

You might have guessed it:

Increasing the playback speed

We’ve tested a couple of things and found that a playback speed increased by 40% is the perfect trade-off between efficiency and understanding.

After all you don’t want your participants to sound like squeaking laboratory rats.

So let’s look at the numbers if you increase the speed the videos are played at:

1 Test / mo 4 tests /mo 12 tests /mo
Time needed watching 10 min 40 min 2h
Watched at 1,4x speed 6 min 24 min 1h 12min
Time saved each month 4 min 16 min 48 min

As you see, using this simple method can save you up to 1 hour a month – if you’re remote usability testing with 3 users a week.

Quite nice isn’t it?

If you’re using Userbrain to get continuous usability insights you can now increase the playback speed while watching your tests.

If you do your usability testing on your own, you can of course increase the playback speed on almost any media player as well.

How are you speeding up your remote usability testing cycles?

Tell us in the comments!

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