How to set up remote UX research

Proper remote research is all about a smooth experience. For yourself (the researcher), observers, and participants. Tooling plays an important part in this. And as you probably discovered recently: there’s not one tool that does all the magic. That’s why we combine tools. We’d love to share our remote setup to help you do better research.


Obviously, smooth remote research requires more than just the right set up. Interview preparation and clear participant instructions are just as essential. However, right now we focus on the set up.


Create a proper observation room


We’ve created our own remote observation room. It shows participant details and allows observers to chat with each other. The study takes place in a separate ‘room’ to make sure we don’t disturb the researcher and participants during the interview. It’s not rocket science at all. But a well-organized observation room is a must-have. 


Check what our observation room looks like:

Whereby is our favorite desktop testing tool


Whereby is the easiest and most stable option for interviews on desktop. It doesn’t require participants to install software or add plugins to their browser. Whereby only requires both parties to join with Google Chrome. It’s very clean and easy to use. You can use one link for all participants and let them in after a ‘knock’ at your room’s door. When in the room you’re able to share your test-URL via the chat. Moreover, the interface of Whereby is customizable. You can add your own background – not an essential, obviously, but it is nice to have.


The video below gives a quick tour:

Lookback is our best bet for mobile testing


Most video conferencing tools have an app that allows you to share your mobile screen with others. However, shared screens on mobile often falter and lag. Besides that, most of the tools require you to switch to your browser app, which turns off the front cam. And you don’t want that – facial expressions are important. Lookback has a built-in browser. So no switching between apps during your test needed. The downside of Lookback? There’s no option to chat with your participant. This doesn’t have to be a problem though; you can put your test-URL under the landing page or in the instructions section. 


The video below shows how:

Don’t forget the host


In a physical UX lab, hosts ideally welcome participants and put them at ease. Hosts are just as important when testing remotely. Our host makes sure every participant is on time and checks if they’re all set for the interview. You simply don’t want to lose valuable interview time and mess with technology when stakeholders are in. Having a host who solves issues beforehand is invaluable.


Sounds like you can use some help? It’ll be our pleasure!