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Owen Hughes
Owen Hughes Updated

User Testing during COVID-19

Best tips for User Testing during Covid-19 I’ve had to run some user testing sessions remote now during Covid and its mostly been pretty smooth! But i thought its worth sharing some tips that i’ve learnt along the way.

1. Make sure you have a solid tool set that you are familiar with.

A solid tool set that won’t fail mid interview will make for successful interviews, it will help make them seamless and as effortless for both parties as much as possible. My personal tools of choice are:

  • Zoom - for the interview itself. A paid zoom account allows you to make reliable calls, allows you to record the calls, provides a transcript at the end and importantly allows users to control your screen for the test.
  • InVision - for the prototype. I use InVision for the prototype. Users use the share link version and I have my admin view of the prototype incase I need to make any quick changes or fixes during or between interviews.
  • Google docs - for a discussion guide/notes that I use as a crib sheet to guide the interview.
  • Airtable - for not taking, participant details and findings. I could go into the capabilities of Airtable and the advantages but we’d be here a while. Tagging is probably the best feature and makes it stand out above excel/Google sheets as a note taking tool.
  • Google sheets - for the report.

2. Practice

Run a pilot interview, this should be pretty standard anyway Make sure you know the software and your set up is ready for the interview(s) so there is no rushing around before and after interviews.

3. Organisation - turns out it’s pretty useful!

Try to be as stringent as possible in terms of organisation. Its likely people are off work and will want to talk for various reasons so try to stick to timings as much as possible leaving yourself plenty of time in between interviews for any over runs. You can then take the time to address anything thats arisen, have a quick debrief with any observers/note takers and then make a bru in time for the next one!

4. Acknowledge the situation

When doing your normal introduction to the interview, take some time to acknowledge the situation. We’re all working from home or at home and we have our lives around us, children noisy dogs and things going on in the background. Reaffirm with the participants that it is ok to take breaks where needed and to not worry about it as we’re all in the same situation.

These have all helped me, feel free to add some of your own!

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Caitlin Cambron
InVision ambassador Caitlin Cambron , ambassador Edited

Owen this is such a great list for the unique situation we are all in.

You also have nicely articulated (maybe inadvertently) a great way to conduct remote moderated usability studies. I'll tack on a few additional notes if anyone is interested in using this approach:

1. Tool set

I would add here that you might want to see the user's face and their screen at the same time. This can be a little tricky but using a QuickTime trick while screensharing in Zoom should allow you to see a user's phone screen and their face. For web, simply screensharing will allow you to see their desktop and them. Since InVision prototypes work well on website (for web and mobile prototypes), simply screensharing that is the ideal option. No hacky QuickTime solution to figure out that way!

2. Practice

I'll reiterate that makings sure your tools work before beginning usability studies with end-users is critical.

3. Organization

You hit the nail on the head! This is definitely a key part of remote moderated usability studies.

4. The Situation™

Usability studies already require focus on the part of the user. Distractions at home should be expected and as Owen said, let the user know that it's okay. You can always ask a clarifying question or take a raincheck on the meeting.

Hope this can be helpful to anyone needing to conduct usability studies under current lockdowns and social distancing. Cheers,


Meredith Micale
InVision ambassador Meredith Micale , ambassador Edited

I'd appreciate the community's support in troubleshooting the following:

I'm a UX researcher. I'm trying to do a remote usability test with a mobile app prototype my design team built in InVision. When using the Share link version of the prototype on an iPhone, how can I get the mobile prototype to display in full screen view? (Currently the web address bar and iOS navigation bar at the bottom of the screen appear, so the full prototype screen isn't visible.) Zoom mobile will be used for the video call.

Also, how do you create a public Share link of the mobile prototype so it's already in User Test Mode (without hotspot hinting) for the participant?

Raynor B
InVision ambassador Raynor B , ambassador

Hi Meredith,

I see that you already have a ticket open regarding these issues, so if you'd like to provide any additional details or updates, please feel free to reply there and we'll be able to assist you directly. 

However, I'll be happy to address your points for anyone who may be having similar issues:

  • Currently, it's not possible to disable hotspot hinting in the share link settings for prototypes created in Studio. This is possible in regular prototypes, however. If you're looking for this ability specifically regarding Studio prototypes, please let us know and we'll be happy to add your vote to this feature request. 
  • It is possible to display a share link on iPhone without the browser UI showing. This is achieved using the "Add to Home Screen" option in Safari. Instructions for this are here: Adding a prototype to your iPhone
    However, we are aware of an issue in which this does not work for Cloud V7 prototype share links, so if you're having trouble with this, please submit a ticket or let us know here and we can troubleshoot this with you. 

I hope that information helps!



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