Key Pointers for Website Usability Tests Moderation


There are several techniques for conducting website usability tests.  In the case of synchronous usability testing, the moderator interacts with the users to guide them through the testing process. 

The moderator oversees the usability testing and then reports the findings to the website design team. This information is useful in improving the product such that it provides an excellent user experience when it launches. The most crucial qualities for this job are quick decision-making and being observant.

Here are a few tips for effective moderation of website usability tests.

  • Make the participants comfortable
  • Profile the participants
  • Listen
  • Watch yourself
  • Watch the participant
  • Manage observers
  • Watch the time

Key Pointers for Website Usability Tests Moderation

Remote Usability Testing - Best Practices - Usability Geek

  • Make the Participants Comfortable

When performing website usability tests, the environment should be similar to the real-life setting where users interact with a website. This is not always the case. Most participants feel uneasy, are aware of how they are perceived and know that they are being observed and tested. 

As a moderator, you should be friendly to the testers and make them comfortable. Keep note of their mood throughout the test, as a relaxed user gives you more accurate results than a nervous one. Accurate results tell if your product is likely to succeed when you launch it to the market. 

  • Profile the Participants

Website usability tests involve a variety of people, each with a unique character. You should profile them according to these personas to make the process quicker.

Here are some of the characteristics you are likely to encounter when overseeing usability tests:

    • The quiet ones that are hesitant to share information
    • The talkers who tend to discuss irrelevant information
    • The overly negative naysayers
    • The ones who act like they know everything
    • The critics who criticise everything
    • The ones who agree with everything, even if they are experiencing challenges

These characters are nothing but a referral point. You should profile each persona based on their interactions with you during the testing sessions.

  • Listen

Listen Up |

The objective of a site usability test is to collect information from participants. You should always look to find the balance between listening and taking charge of the interactions with users.  

You should only start talking when the participant stops. Interrupting them will not only break their flow of thoughts, but it also means that you miss out on useful insights. Also, you should give the users time to understand your question before they start giving a response.

  • Watch Yourself

As you observe the user during website usability tests, it is important to watch your conduct as well.  Here are a few tips to help you in this regard.

    • Know your moderation style
    • Take note of researcher bias
    • Watch your body language
  • Know Your Moderation Style

You should know your personality, the style you use to moderate, its demerits, and more importantly, how to make up for them. There are two main personality types, robotic and animated.  If you are robotic, you should try to become more lively.

Regarding the style of moderation, you can be either transactional or relational. Transactional moderators usually overemphasise the test and lack a human touch. If you happen to be one, try to use positive gestures and words of affirmation.

  • Take Note of Researcher Bias

Researcher bias is a widespread shortcoming that hurts digital marketing in Singapore. It is prevalent even among experienced moderators. 

Common types of biases include control bias, leading questions, question-order bias, halo effect, and confirmation bias.

  • Watch Your Body Language

Your body language tells a lot about your attitude towards the participants. Make sure that you observe your non-verbal cues to avoid any issues.

  • Watch the Participant

Besides feedback, you should also watch how the participants conduct themselves during the test.  Here are a few things you need to take note of when moderating website usability tests.

    • Respondent bias
    • Non-verbal cues
  • Respondent Bias

Response Bias: Definition, 6 Types, Examples & More (Updated)

If a participant is biased, they will not give accurate results. You should actively look to reduce the incidences that may impact the integrity of your test results. The most prevalent biases among users include consent biases, demand characteristics, and social desirability bias.

  • Non-verbal Cues

You can easily tell if the participants are comfortable with the research by observing their body language. Non-verbal cues can also show you if the respondent means what they are saying verbally.

As a moderator, you must know how to interpret non-verbal cues and adjust the way you interact with participants. For instance, if the user is fidgeting, it shows that they are nervous. You should start with easier tasks or ask simple questions until they gain confidence.

Another clue to look for is restlessness. Usability tests often cause fatigue, and you should stop a session immediately after the users appear tired. In such cases, you can either introduce breaks or shorten the tasks.

It is difficult for novice moderators to pick up non-verbal cues. As you interact with more people, you will develop this ability and be able to point them out easily.

  • Manage Observers

A smart way of involving stakeholders in your website design project is by inviting them to see a site usability testing session.  That said, it is vital to exercise caution when dealing with external observers.

Since they are not researchers, observes may say or do something that may skew the findings of the testing session. Also, too many observers might make the users uncomfortable.

If you do not want observers to interfere with your usability tests, you can have them watch the session through a video live stream. If they have to be on the ground, make sure that they know what to avoid so that they do not affect the results of the test.

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  • Watch the Time

Ransomsafe Lost Time - Hand Watch Png Cartoon Clipart (#2250906) - PikPng

You have to be time-conscious when moderating a website usability test. However, make sure that the respondent complete tasks at their pace without any pressure.  If you want to save time, make the tasks shorter and easier to accomplish.

The secret to having successful website usability tests is asking the right questions and observing the behaviour of the participants throughout the session.  You need to make fast decisions and make most of the time while keeping the users comfortable. Lastly, you also need to be aware of your verbal and body language and find a balance between talking and listening. 

50 Web Design Tools You Can Use To Design An Awesome Singapore Website

Get in touch with me for more tips on how to carry out website usability tests in Singapore as well as website design services and tips. 

Top 10 Affordable and Reliable Website Usability Testing Tools

16 Usability Testing Tools for Optimizing User Experience

Creating a great website is like drawing the Mona Lisa. You can spend years on it and maybe never get it right. Imagine if Leonardo da Vinci had to stand there for two hours watching someone else draw her?

Well, that’s what you’re doing when you start website usability testing. Watching someone else struggle with your brilliant design is no fun! 

It can also be tricky because you don’t know what your viewers want until they tell you. Further, it could take days of testing with different people before you realize something doesn’t work!

So why not skip the headache and use one of these top, affordable and reliable website usability testing tools? These tools will help you get the information you need to improve your site, keep your customers happy, and make sure they find what they’re looking for.

TryMyUI Reviews 2022: Details, Pricing, & Features | G2

Are you looking for a great usability testing tool that is both affordable and reliable? Look no further than TryMyUI. With its easy-to-use interface and robust reporting features, 

TryMyUI makes it easy to test your website’s usability. 

Additionally, you get actionable insights that will help you improve your business’s bottom line. Users may also use TryMyUI to test their site, either with anonymous reviewers or their pool of applicants.


    • Free software with an easy-to-use interface
    • Feedback and advice on user tests for improvement
    • Variety of ways to improve qualifications- rating
    • App and website usability is easy to navigate


    • Low customer service engagement and support
    • The platform looks outdated
  • Loop11

There are several excellent online usability testing tools, and Loop11 is one of the best. It allows you to run website usability tests, A/B tests, and prototype tests. This tool is a game-changer for any company looking to optimize its website. 

Unlike other methods, you can use Loop11 without having coding knowledge or downloading programs from third parties and create tests that work on all devices – even mobile ones!

The multiple ways this program offers testing options make it easy to use compared with other similar tools out there today. 

In addition, the Loop11 tool integrates a mouse, keyboard, touch, and text inputs, so no matter what device visitors are using to look at your site-Loop11 will support it. 

Currently, the tool offers the following Loop11 integrations:

    • Knowbility
    • Justinmind
    • ethnic
    • Cint


    • You can test on mobile devices.
    • No Coding Necessary
    • Works in 40+ languages. 
    • No Coding Necessary
    • Create multiple tests. 
    • An extensive help centre/library is available for assistance with any questions you may have. 
    • Cost-Efficient
    • Heatmaps and clickstream analysis to see how users are interacting with your app or website.
    • Unlimited Number of Users.
    • Quick real-time reporting of data gathered from the survey, so you know what’s going on at all times! 
    • Never worry about whether people will use your app or website because it works on mobile devices and has a ton of translations available!


    • There is no going back after you have uploaded the test.
    • You could end up with more participants than you anticipated.
    • It’s difficult to assess the success or failure rate.
    • Some websites take a long time to load.
    • You may not have any idea who finished the test successfully.
    • The tasks must be well designed.
  • Maze

Rapid, remote testing for agile teams

A maze is an excellent tool for quickly collecting both qualitative and quantitative data. With popular design tools like Marvel, Adobe XD, InVision, Sketch, and Figma, you can use the UX tool. 

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They make it easy to start testing your prototype in Maze quickly. A maze is also an excellent tool for running in-depth usability tests. It includes task analysis, multiple path analysis, heat maps, and more amazing features. 

Another great feature is the A/B testing. This allows you to test two different page versions to see which one is more effective. 

Guerrilla testing is also a great feature used by Maze to get feedback from users. The feature involves testing your website in a real-world environment. Last, the wireframe testing in Maze is another valuable feature for evaluating usability.


    • Intuitive and easy to use, even for first-timers
    • Templates make it easy for anyone to create impactful studies
    • Usability reports give you a general idea of your product’s usability
    • Heatmaps show where users are interacting with your product


    • It’s limited in question templates
    • It looks outdated, hence needs some revamping

This is another UX tool you shouldn’t pass on. CrazyEgg is a website analytics and heat mapping tool which identifies where users click and explores how they move through your webpage. 

It can be used to study conversion funnels, conduct AB tests, and discover the most effective content on your site. The tool’s scroll map feature lets you see what people are doing on your webpage. 

It highlights exactly where they’re clicking, how much time they’re spending on each page, and even where they’re scrolling.

Even better, the tools’ confetti snapshots also record your visitors’ mouse movements, giving you an in-depth look at where exactly users clicked when browsing your site. The resulting report includes many design metrics to help improve your website’s user experience.


    • There are a variety of interactive methods to see the results.
    • Data from Crazy Egg can help with design decisions.
    • You can export your results as reports.


    • The confetti visitor box remains stationary in the photograph.
    • The heat map view allows you to compare only two ‘snapshots.
  • HotJar

Hotjar: Website Heatmaps & Behavior Analytics Tools

Usability is essential for online success, and tools like HotJar make it easy to test and improve your website’s usability. With its heat maps, recordings, and survey features, you can quickly see how users interact with your site and make necessary changes to improve their experience.

Moreover, the tool is super easy to use. Also, its Google Tag Manager is simple to set up and makes usability studies a breeze. Once the HotJar tag is added, you’re ready to prepare your research and collect data. Another good thing about using Hotjar is that they have a lot of popular data visualizations. Data is laid out in a way that makes it simple to conclude, with the correct numbers at hand for users to look over.

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An even more positive part is that they have a lot of educational material. In emails, users get essential information about the tool and use it without spamming their inbox. The tool’s tutorial help pages are a fantastic feature.


    • User-generated recordings
    • Heatmaps
    • Recording segments
    • User interactions
    • graphical user interface


    • Needs additional features
    • No Google Analytics integration
    • Requires Increased heatmap precision
  • Optimizely

How to use Optimizely to create your first A/B Testing experiment | Mugo  Web | eZ Platform specialists in Canada and the USA

Optimizely is a well-known and popular tool for doing website usability tests. Its A/B testing capabilities have elevated it to the rankings of the most excellent A/B testing tools today.

This user testing tool is easy to use because it allows you to create new studies quickly. You can put everything on your dashboard, so you don’t have to code. It can also check existing sites for dynamic content, such as pages with interactivity.

This tool also helps researchers study specific groups of people more accurately. To make the research more accurate, they can focus on people from a particular area or setting on their cookies.

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This user testing tool is appealing because it was created for use by large teams. These teams might include people who are not designers, such as developers. 

The tool also has many features that make it helpful for managing the work of multiple teams. You may also follow up on your ideas using a backlog, comments, and a scoring system.


    • Easy to use, no coding
    • Fast user experience
    • Find out what your customers want
    • Ability to run over one experiment at a time


    • Doesn’t gain valuable insights when discrepancies happen
    • Cannot accurately target the right audience through automated tools
    • can’t measure which experiments have the most impact on conversion rates
  • Lookback

Lookback Pricing, Features, Reviews & Alternatives | GetApp

Lookback is one of the most popular usability testing tools on the market. It is best known for its ease of use, and Lookback is an excellent choice for website owners who want to conduct their user tests.

Lookback lets you record your testers in real-time and watch recordings in slow motion with their exact thoughts captured by subtitles. It also records the testers’ faces and voices. The tool also provides a variety of videos formats, such as GIFs or MP4s, making it easy to post-watch them anywhere.

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This tool is equipped with heatmaps you can use to analyze how users react to specific elements on your webpage. With its automatic touch heatmaps recording, you can see how users interact with your website or app.


    • very easy to set up a session,
    • Great for DIY testers.
    •  Good real-time view of all user experiences
    • It works across iOS & Android and has a decent web interface to manage things 


    •  Cannot customize your test cases for users
    • must download an extra app to conduct tests on smartphones
  • UserFeel

The Better User Testing Tool - Pay as You Go -

It’s a powerful but affordable website usability testing tool. But the best part of this software is its ability to provide instant reports on user feedback which makes it easy for businesses to improve their sales, conversion rates, and brand reputation.

For example, you can monitor how customers navigate your site or get lost in your checkout process. You might also find out what users think about your site or product images and improve the things they dislike.

Userfeel also provides unlimited tests and free templates to help you start testing for your website immediately. It is an all-inclusive package with a very economical price compared to similar software tools.


    • It’s a powerful and easy-to-use website usability testing tool,
    • its reports are well-formatted and understandable


    • The software has a few glitches, but it is being fixed gradually.
  • Validately

Validately - test a feature before you write code

It is a web-based platform for remote, moderated usability testing. validity is an affordable way of conducting quick and easy usability testing. You can also utilize its Live Chat tool to discuss your consumers in real-time. For example, they can ask you for more information about your product give you feedback on the website’s ease of use.

You can also filter users by demographics like age, education level, etc. You can use this tool to test anything since it supports a wide range of tests. Websites that are live or mock HTML documents, pictures, and prototypes are all acceptable.


    • comprehensive with a lot of valuable features
    • You’ll also have the option of generating a ready-to-present data report.
    • You get a complete dashboard with any data you might want.
    • It supports both moderated and unmoderated User Testing.


Best 15 usability testing tools for awesome UX - Justinmind

UserTesting is one of the most well-known and reliable website usability testing tools. The tool has been around since 2008, and you can trust it for accurate results.

Keep in mind that the participants for this study come from the company’s panel. That means they are more reliable than participants who are chosen randomly. However, the Pro account with UserTesting does not allow you to choose your users.

For non-enterprise clients, UserTesting also offers longitudinal studies, reporting on changes in customer satisfaction over time and comparative metrics of other websites in similar industries. This feature allows you to use a valuable competitive advantage against your competitors. 

You can also use UserTesting to understand better how your customers currently experience your website. You should consider this tool for any business that wants to make data-driven decisions about their website and increase customer satisfaction and usage. 


    • You can record the screen and voice recordings of your users in real-time.
    • It has many integrations to make it user-friendly
    • its ease of use, set up, and provide high-quality video recordings, 
    • It’s built for both moderated and unmoderated testing. 
    • The number of tests you can perform on their plans is unlimited.


    • The service does not offer a free plan
    • The subscription price does not disclose how many users are available.

Bottom Line

Each tool above has its benefits, so look at what each offers before deciding. Whichever tool you choose, test your website with real people representing your target audience. Also, by using one of these tools, you’ll be able to get feedback quickly and efficiently so that you can change create a fantastic user experience for all of your site visitors.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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