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5 types of moderated user testing

User testing




Moderated user testing is one of the usability testing methods that allow you to assess a variety of aspects concerning your website or products. It is a method in which you actively involve different participants.

With the help of an experienced moderator/facilitator who has in-depth knowledge regarding various aspects of user testing, you can assess the ease and functionality of your products/services (e.g., websites). Now, there are numerous ways to adopt usability testing, which include moderated and un-moderated testing. However, we will focus on the 5 most successful types of moderated user testing below.

5 Types of moderating user testing

Assess the level of resources, your target audience, timeframes, and the understanding of the purpose of usability testing before opting for a moderated user testing method. It will not only allow you to create an understandable test plan but also provide relevant results for improvement.


1. Lab testing

Lab testing is an in-person moderated user testing method that allows a moderator/facilitator to work closely with the test participants. This helps to answer any queries that the test participants may have during the task regarding the prototypes, test subjects, given tasks/queries, etc.

It also allows close observation and reveals powerful insight into consumer behavior with regard to your products and services such as websites, mobile apps, etc. Thus, lab testing reveals favorable qualitative data regarding the usability of your test subjects, for example, your website.

2. Guerilla testing

Guerilla testing involves a moderator or expert setting a shop in public places where they request random people to test a product or service. In exchange for a free gift, random test participants help a moderator to reveal the usability of a prototype.

It is a relatively low-cost option user testing method and provides real-time user feedback. Nonetheless, random people may not be suitable for a prototype that targets a niche market, such as software for accountants.

3. Card-sorting testing

Another moderated in-person user testing method, Card-sorting, allows test participants to categorize and sort a set of conceptual cards that depict the layout, design, and navigational features of a website. The moderator determines the reason behind the arrangement of the conceptual virtual cards to assess consumer behavior and pattern.

4. Tree testing (reverse card sorting)

Tree testing, similar to card sorting, is a method in which test participants group several virtual items and cards within a pre-defined set or sets of categories. It is highly valuable when you are in the designing phase of a website.

How users approach the navigational and other functional features of your website naturally can help you make changes to your prototype for an improved user experience.

5. Moderated phone interviews

Phone interviews do not give valuable insight into consumer behavior. However, they are helpful when there is the need to actively involve a test participant to answer their questions regarding the test criteria and other aspects of the test prototype.

You and moderators collect data on how the customer interacts with your website or product. Therefore, it reveals authentic feedback from test participants when there are geographical constraints.



Suppose you launch a website without testing the design, layout, functionality, navigation, etc. Soon, you will have a plethora of complaints and usability errors. Therefore, moderated user testing methods can help you streamline the level of service that you are willing to provide.

This way, you will be able to point out the relative mistakes, errors, functionality setbacks, and so on before launching the prototype in the real market.


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