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In-person vs. remote user research. Techniques and Tools.

Natalia Álvarez
August 27, 2020

We have recently published an article about the advantages of remote vs. in-person user research studies. In the article, we argued how each methodology might affect the results of our study if we don’t prepare it carefully and pay special attention to the biases that might arise from each methodology.

It’s also important to remember that not all user research techniques can be used in both modes. Some are specific to remote mode and others are only available for in-person studies. In the following table, you can see the list of techniques, their availability and a list of tools that our team of user researchers regularly use for remote studies.

User Research Techniques and Tools

SurveyCommon method to find quantitative dataSurvey Gizmo

Optimal Sort

Survey Monkey

Google Forms

True intent StudiesTechnique that usually asks users about their experience during a real visit to an app or website, with the idea of getting better usability metrics and detecting improvementsUserZoom


Focus GroupQuantitative method that is normally used to evaluate opinions, feelings and attitudes of a group of participants.Zoom





In-depth InterviewsQualitative technique that’ s used to hear personal experiences,  opinions, attitudes and perceptions of the participantsZoom





Ethnographic StudiesQualitative techniques that usually combines observation and interviews to analyze the users behaviour in a context of real use to understand their behaviour..❌
User DiariesIt is used to collect qualitative information about the users’ behaviour, actions and experiences through a specific period, por example for a hiring process of an insurance for a vehicle. Users must document in a diary all the interactions with the process or experience being analyzed.La gran mayoría de herramientas de encuestas online
Card SortingUsers organize and group elements of a web according to their mental models, which helps us design an information architecture and optimized hierarchy of our website.Optimal Sort



Survey Gizmo

Tree TestingTechnique in which users are required to look for elements in a content tree that represents the information architecture of a real website. This helps us to verify if the organization, content and hierarchy are defined correctly from the participant’s mental models.Optimal sort



Design SprintIdeation methodology to solve business problems in 5 days or phases.Miro



User TestingReal users are observed interacting with the product or service to identify the problems that can be found to be used, understand why and to look for solutions.Lookback



It is key to dedicate some time to try the tools for each technique. This way, you will easily be able to choose among them for each specific project or need and ensure you obtain the desired data and results. The tools in this table are the ones we regularly use in TeaCup Lab for Remote User Research projects. However, we strongly recommend you to look for the tool that best suits your project’s needs and goals. Luckily, there are more and more tools every year.

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