Videoconferencing for remote research or phone call / screen-share?

I’ve done a lot of lab-based usability testing, but now will be conducting remote research in a new job. I’m wondering if the norm these days is to conduct remote (web) testing via tools like webex, gotomeeting, etc and to have users use their video cams to conduct the session as a video conference, or do people still do the phone call and screen-sharing approach?

I just read Remote Research (Bolt, Tulathimutte), which is a whole 7 years old now and it seemed to be all phone call/screen sharing back then. I also read something Steve Krug said a few years ago about where adding videoconferencing just adding a layer of complexity that’s not useful. But some might argue it’s good for facilitating empathy with users.

So, my friends who conduct remote research – Where are things at these days in regard to this? Or does it depend perhaps on whether it’s a straight usability study vs. something like an in-depth interview?


We have recently done some remote testing, we have used webex so that we can use internal prototypes and given them control of our screen. We have not asked the user to use a webcam but we do have them on the phone so that we can record their voice and talk to them.

We have also used software called ‘whatusersdo’ previously, and for a fee you can use your own participants,however they will also source people for you if required.

Hope this helps

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