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Inhome Usage Test

Have customers test products and services in real settings

Companies often want to have products and services tested by volunteers. The focus here is on various questions, for example: Does the product look good on the outside? Are the size, shape and weight right? Is it easy to handle? How easy is it to use? In the case of food: Does it taste good?

Such tests can be done in the product development phase (e.g. testing prototypes at different stages of development), just before the launch of a new product or to improve established products. The two most common variants of such tests are to have them done in a test studio or at home (or at work).

The advantage of an Inhome Usage Test, often abbreviated to IHUT, is that the test persons can test the product in their natural environment and, if necessary, at the appropriate time. Thus, for the installation test of a new set-top box, there is no need to set up a living room wall with a TV in the studio, nor is it necessary to get the test persons to taste a breakfast product in the late afternoon. This decisive advantage of being able to conduct authentic tests is offset by the disadvantage of not having direct control over the test situation in many cases (exceptions are participatory observations in which the test persons are visited).

In order to nevertheless collect meaningful data, a whole series of aspects must therefore be taken into account in IHUTs, which are decisive for the quality of the results:

Selecting the right test subjects

As in any study, we need to recruit people who fit into the target group and who are serious about taking part in the test. If our clients do not want to recruit via their own customer database, they can use our intervista Online-Panel, which can also be used to recruit rarer target groups in the b2c and b2b sector.

Setting up the use cases

Especially with more complex products or services, there is often not “the” use, but a whole range of different use cases. In the conception phase, it must be decided which aspects will be tested and which “tasks” the participants will be given.

The right instructions

Especially IHUTs where little interaction with the participants is foreseen (e.g. because there are no participant observations and the data collection takes place online), the instructions on use and tasks must be sufficient, understandable and created from the customer’s perspective

Furthermore, attention must be paid to appropriate and high-quality data collection. Here, the frequency, channel and type of data collection must be decided:


In many cases an online survey will be chosen, this has decisive advantages in terms of cost and speed. Depending on the target group or the wishes of the client, this is not always the right choice. Sometimes the respondents should also be more “tangible” in a test without inhome visits – in this case one would resort to video or telephone.


For some products, in addition to a pre-survey (which is usually a good way to collect the participants’ profile data and also their wishes, needs and attitudes before the test), it makes sense not only to conduct a survey after use, but also during the test phase, depending on the setup. This has to be decided individually for each study.


In order to collect data on the usage tests, almost the entire spectrum of survey types is available – for simple tests, for example, a simple questionnaire is sufficient, for more complex tests interviews are useful, whereas for longer usage phases, diaries are useful. From the multitude of possibilities, the appropriate ones for the product and questions must be selected.

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