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Participating in a remote unmoderated research session
Participating in an unmoderated research session: Windows or Mac computer (Extension-free Beta)
Participating in an unmoderated research session: Windows or Mac computer (Extension-free Beta)

SelfTest and Tasks guide for participants using our extension-free beta on Windows or Mac computers

Russ Troester avatar
Written by Russ Troester
Updated over a week ago

A benefit of unmoderated research is that as a participant (aka tester, respondent),you can complete the test on your own time. The goal of these sessions is to provide your honest perspective and feedback on an app, website, prototype, etc, so there are no right or wrong answers. It is the product that is being tested, not you, so feel free to be completely honest and open!

As you're going through a session, remember to share your thoughts aloud โ€” what you expect to happen, what you didn't expect, etc. In other words, share everything that goes through your mind as you carry out the task(s) requested.

Before your session

  1. Instructions. Read any instructions provided by your researcher carefully.

  2. Compatibility. Make sure you use a compatible device & operating system.

    1. Windows: Windows 8 or above

    2. Mac: macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or above

    You'll also need to make sure you're running the latest version of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

  3. Strong, stable wifi. Make sure you're on a strong WiFi connection with a download speed of at least 5Mbps. If things don't work as expected, connectivity issues is a common explanation. To minimise the risk of such problems you can also:

    • Close any other apps that might be running as well as other open browser tabs.

    • minimise use of any other data-heavy activities on the same connection. For example, if someone in the house is trying to watch Netflix or play an online game while you're trying to participate in a session, it may cause issues, depending on your connection

    • If you normally use any kind of VPN (Virtual Private Network) software on your device, please disable it for the duration of the test. See this help article for more information.

  4. Headset with mic. While it's not required to use headset, we strongly recommend using one to reduce risk of bad audio, echo issues in the recording, etc. A wired headset is preferred for the best reliability, but a wireless one will work as well. Just make sure the headset has a built-in microphone.

  5. Be undisturbed. Find a quiet, comfortable spot to conduct the test

Starting Your Session

When you're ready to start your session, all you'll need is a browser (Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge) and to follow a few setup steps.

1: Click on the Participant Link

  1. Read the communication from the Researcher, then locate and open the Participant Link sent by the researcher. It should look something like this:[alpahnumeric-code]

  2. After clicking on the Participant Link, you may see a Welcome message from your researcher. Read carefully and then click Open setup window when you're ready to proceed.

    Please note: By continuing, you agree to record and upload your experience. Our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy are available for you to review.

If you see Install extension or Get started instead of Open Setup Window, that means you need to be using our Chrome extension. Please see this help article for setup instructions using this method.

2. Grab a headset

A microphone is required to participate in an unmoderated study using Lookback. Furthermore, as noted previously, while a headset is not required, it is recommended to help reduce any feedback or echo.

3. Tell us who you are

You'll now be prompted to enter your name and email address

  1. Please Note: Lookback doesn't use this info. It just goes straight to the Researcher once you complete the session.

  2. Anonymity. If the Researcher doesn't require you to share your real information, and it's ok with them to use an alias/fake e-mail, just get creative and make something up! The email address only needs to follow the standard email address format:

If you're not sure whether or not you can use a fake name/email, please reach out to the researcher who recruited you for the study.

4. Permissions

Now you'll need to enable your camera, microphone, and screen recording for the test.

  1. Microphone: If you are using a headset, make sure it is connected properly and then choose a microphone from the dropdown menu. A microphone is required and you won't be able to continue without enabling it. If you run into issues enabling your microphone or camera, you should be directed to this help article for troubleshooting.

    Once you've selected your microphone, click Next

  2. Camera: Depending on the settings of the study, the camera may be set to Optional, Required, or Disabled

    1. Optional. If the researcher has chosen this option, you'll see Optional displayed in your camera feed and you'll be able proceed regardless if the Camera is turned on or not. If you don't want to enable the camera, you can just choose Camera off

    2. Required. If you try to select Camera off and can't click Next, this means the researcher has required the use of the camera and you will not be able to proceed until you enable the camera.

    3. Disabled. If the camera is set to disabled, you will not be prompted to enable your camera

  3. Screen sharing. Since the main aim of the test is for the researcher to observe how you interact with their website/app/prototype, screen sharing is required for all unmoderated tests. Don't worry, the researcher can't control anything on your screen, this only allows them to see and record what's displayed on your screen.

    Please note: everything on your screen will be recorded so be careful to not display any sensitive information on your screen for the duration of the test.

    1. Click on the Open screen share pop-up button in the panel on the right

    2. In the window that pops up, click on the thumbnail of the screen you want to share (even if you only have one screen - you still need to select it to proceed)

    3. Finally, click on Share

If you're using a Mac and this is the first time you've enabled screen sharing for Chrome, you will be prompted to allow permissions in System Preferences and then you'll have to quit and restart Chrome. Once that's done, open your Participant Link again and you'll start at the beginning of the setup.

If you run into issues while trying to share your screen, please see this help article for troubleshooting steps.

5. Start the session

  1. Click the Open session window to open a new window and follow the instructions to arrange and resize your windows

  2. Once the windows are arranged correctly, click on Start session

If you run into any issues with the extension-free beta while setting things up, please see our troubleshooting guide here.

6. The session has now started!

Reminder: since there's no moderator to ask you questions, it's important that you share your thoughts out loud during your session. Some examples include what you like or don't like, anything that might be confusing or unclear, etc. In short: if you have a thought about anything while testing the website or the app, say it out loud!

If you are asked to test a Desktop App, just navigate away from the Chrome window to that app. Please make sure you keep the Chrome windows open otherwise you will end the session early.

7. Ending your session

  1. When it's time to end the test, click the End session button and then End session one final time to confirm.

  2. Now you should see the the Researcher's Final message. Read carefully as they may have a post-study survey or instructions about getting any potential incentives.

  3. Once you've read the Final message, your study is now complete and you can click the Close button.

Bravo! Thanks for taking the time to participate in the session. ๐ŸŒŸ

You can now close any other windows or apps associated with the test.

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