How to conduct User Testing as moderator

Publication: Mar 28, 2023

How to conduct User Testing as moderator

User Testing can be a valuable research method to learn and improve your (digital) products. But how do you conduct or moderate User Testing?    

What is User Testing? User Testing observers a user going through your website or app with little guidance. You'll ask the observant to speak out loud. This method is not focussed on opinions, but rather the journey the visitor makes and the decisions, pains and doubts that come up. 




  • Determine what you want to learn about: the journey from home to checkout? Or just a specific page? The usage of a specific tool? 
  • For User Testing you'll need 5 users (NN group research here). What will these users look like? Target them as close to your real audience as possible. You can often select things like: age, gender, country, sport, etc.
  • Additionally think about a screener question. Think of your screener as a funnel by filtering out unsuitable users quickly. For example: where you ever interested in X or did you ever do Y? Which of the following best describes you? Use 2 - 5 screening questions. 
  • Decide if you'll do 30 min or 60 min. sessions
  • Create a script of tasks. Like:     
    Task 1: You'll land on this homepage, try to book a hotel and save it to your account.     
    Task 2: Compare this to a similar hotel, how would you do that?     
    Task 3: Choose one hotel and progress to the checkout. The task ends at the step of filling in billing details. 
  • If you do a 60 minute sessions you will have time for follow up questions that can still ask about motivations or opinions, like: what did you think about the website? Was there anything you would have liked to have know before completing the purchase? What was the worst aspect of the shopping journey? If there was one thing you could change, what would that be?    
    It's also the perfect time for your team (that might have been observing) to kick in and ask questions. 
  • Pick a remote tool (we recently used Hotjar Engage which was very handy) or host participants at your office. 


The interview

Steps to make the participant feel at ease:

  • Introduce yourself, the company and the research your are doing 
  • Ask if the user has done more User Testing
  • Ask them more about the screener questions if you like more about their persona
  • Inform the Participant about observers and if the session is being recorded 


  • Explain what this session will look like
  • Explain what you are expecting from the participant, so: please think out loud and behave like you would by yourself
  • Leave room for questions

Start the tasks 

  • Ask the participant to do task number 1
  • Don't tell the participant what to do, even if they are doing something wrong or weird. This is useful information, so don't judge and don't show any judgement. Ask open ended questions like:    
    - Why did you choose this?    
    - What did you expect to happen when you clicked there?    
    - How would you do this like you would by yourself? (if participant feels stuck)     
    - Can you tell me what you are looking for?


Follow up questions

  • Ask follow up questions if you have them
  • Ask your team if they have any question    

Thank the participant for their time and effort and let them go!



  • Watch videos and make notes per task. Write down their actions. Opinions, fears and other thoughts you can also write down and use color coding to separate this from the rest.  
  • Code and analyze the video recordings
  • Create a slide deck 

Let’s take 30 minutes to figure out what would increase your conversion?