What you could miss in remote user testing
Remote user testing is an incredibly handy way to reach a broad audience without having to travel the globe. It has been a money saver from businesses, but it has some significant drawbacks.
While reading to Vanessa Van Edwards book Captive, I was reminded of the importance of micro-expressions.
There are seven universal facial expressions that flash across our faces for less than half a second. Our brains might not even register that we have seen these on others. They often bypass our frontal cortex and go straight from optical to hypothalamus. We react without even knowing what we have seen.
If your remote screen capture doesn't grab participants faces as well, you are missing key gut reaction that could indicate how intuitive your product truly is.
Similarly, there is a benefit to video recording user interviews when possible. We can capture micro-gesture during the interview like users shaking no when they are saying they agree with something.
There are a multitude of gestures our brains notice that we are not conscious of. A good UX practice should be using both in-person and remote session.