Automated Remote Research involves leveraging the internet and automated online tools to capture large amounts of specific user behavior and feedback which can inform design and usability enhancements.

Automated Remote Research is Day 5 of 100 Days of UX, an exploratory effort to survey the 100 methods of design outlined in Martin and Hannington's Universal Methods of Design. For 100 consecutive days, I learn one new method a day and write about it.

Remote Research comes in two flavors: Automated and Moderated. To better illustrate the difference between both, a fishing analogy would be apt. Automated remote research is akin to using a trawler to scoop up the fish from the sea while the fishers chill out in their heated cabin, while Remote Moderated Research would be using a pole to grab each individual fish.

Another way to look at the difference in flavors is in the nature of the data we get. Moderated lets us find out what we don't know (by observing/questioning behavior and context) while Automated lets us test our assumptions on specific questions.

Automated Remote Research can help researchers collect quantitative data about questions such as

  • Are participants able to perform a certain task on the website?
  • If so, how long does it take them to complete the task?
  • If they have trouble completing the task, where are they abandoning the process?
  • What is the most common click path that users take through the interface to complete a task?


  • It is very flexible. Data can be acquired from all over the globe at any time and there is the potential for getting a more diverse set of users than otherwise possible.
  • Users are able to contribute data in their natural environments doing their regular tasks.


  • Does not work when interaction with the user is necessary
  • If the test materials need to be confidential, automated testing might be problematic

  1. Martin, B., & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal Methods of Design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas & Design effective solutions. Rockport
  2. Iurchenko, A. January 4, 2016. Remote User Research & Usability Methods, UX Magazine. Retrieved June 07, 2017

Day 4 - Artifact Analyis 100 Methods Day 6 - Behavior Mapping