remote user testing

11.12.2020

Remote usability testing is a method of website usability testing when the user is in a different location to the researcher. If he’s not building things for the internet, he’s probably on his 120th rewatch of The Office (U.S.). Remote usability testing allows you to conduct user research with participants in their natural environment by employing screen-sharing software or online remote usability vendor services. With quantitative usability testing, you can set expected metric goals for your tests. Usability testing is a critical part of the user-centered design process, and comes in many forms. If you’re on a low budget, you can find people on social media and online community forums like Reddit who can offer their feedback. After the sessions have been completed you can analyze your results. You have to make your ideas easily understood because you won’t be there to explain what you mean. Many un-moderated testing tools automatically generate analysis for you. For instance, you could test various ways to get your users to purchase a subscription, e.g., from your landing page, in Account settings, or via your blog. Jonathan is one of the co-founders at Maze and a Product Designer by trade. Defining testing goals with your team should take place before you test so that you go into the process knowing what to look for. By assigning each task one specific goal, you’re able to learn if users can successfully achieve that goal with the existent design. Do a pilot test with your colleagues on the team so that they can pinpoint you to any ambiguities or things that could be improved. Whether that refers to scaling processes, tooling, or increasing employee know-how, a compound effect across all these design practices will set your company up for success. An alternative method is to run an un-moderated test where the test participants are provided a set of tasks to complete on screen whilst they progress through the session. Things like unstable internet connections or low-battery devices can significantly derail you from getting your results. Complete the signup process using your Google account. Techopedia … And see how users go about completing this task. For moderated testing, it might mean the same tasks plus survey questions that you want your users to answer before or after. Startups. The platform has some great features such as its Live… Or you can measure the metrics of your current design, and benchmark the proposed redesign against the default. A remote usability testing session usually follows a similar structure to a face-to-face testing session. Whether you’re new to this part of UX research, or just need a refresher, Cindy McCracken walks us through the essentials of effective usability tests. You may have noticed one theme running through all these tips: keeping things simple. Talk to other user researchers in your department to find out what remote tools they’re using. Be mindful of your users’ time and keep your tests short. If not consider asking whether a colleague or family member will be available during testing to assure that they can share their screen. From logistics to the actual content of the tests, preparing for your user tests is key. It is built for use in research, unlike many of the other tools which frame themselves as video conferencing or communication tools. - Grégoire Devoucoux du Buysson, User researcher at Ferpection Why do remote user testing with Ferpection? Remote user studies are ideal for getting insights from end-users who may be located anywhere in the world. Un-moderated testing is most effective when you have very specific questions about how people use a user interface for relatively straightforward tasks. As the New Design Frontier Report reveals, companies big and small have an opportunity to advance design to a strategic position in their organization. Just because remote testing is easier to do, the planning part shouldn’t be overlooked! On the other hand, if you’re designing a new product or feature, with a complex user journey, then it’s best to separate your sessions. The remaining of her time she admires other people’s words and reads (not) as much as she can. Update your credit card detailsYour payment information needs to be updated. Remote testing is like traditional usability testing except that the participant and facilitator are in two different physical locations; the participant interacts with your design in their own environment, physically separated from the facilitator. Remember that tests should be about 15–30 minutes long made up of about 3-5 tasks. Launch the test and send email invitations to participants to complete it. Here is a simplified user journey with touchpoints for an e-commerce website: Every touchpoint has dedicated designs that can be grouped into: These categories can form the basis of your user testing sessions as you go through the design process for a new product or feature. It’s highly important that you don’t wait until you need to test to find participants. With tools to create and execute remote, unmoderated user tests, analyze user data and journeys, and deliver real insights into user behavior and preferences. Planning for your remote testing is key. Then you have to think about logistics: the who, when, and how of remote testing. The purpose is to observe them in action and understand what they do. You will need to assure that: During moderated remote testing, participants are observed on interacted with while they complete the tasks for the test. Let’s dive deep into remote usability testing below. The benefits of remote usability testing With remote testing, you can start performing user studies with just Skype and an internet connection. For companies of all sizes. During un-moderated remote testing, participants independently complete testing without an interaction with the test moderator. Erika Hall, co-founder of Mule Design and writer of Just Enough Research, writes: “Only after you have a goal will you know what you need to know. In general, tests should be about 15–30 minutes long made up of about 3-5 tasks. And you have to know your question before you can choose how to answer it.”. CPO at Creme de la Creme. In “Remote Research”, authors Nate Bolt and Tony Tulathimutte write: “In-person lab research used to be the only game in town, and as with most industry practices, its procedures were developed, refined, and standardized, and then became entrenched in the corporate R&D product development cycle.” But those procedures no longer serve modern design teams. If any unforeseen issues with the test do happen (e.g., unclear phrasing, technical issues), you’ll be able to sort them before doing any more testing. This method is becoming more and more popular with the chaotic schedules that we all endure. The fact that they had access to internal accounting specialists meant that they were able to uncover improvement areas that were characteristic of their customers, and implement a design that addressed their needs. Take these factors into consideration when planning a testing session, and test your device and connection beforehand. There are certain conditions when it makes sense to consider remote usability testing. Research shows that global attention spans are diminishing, and even though people agreed to be part of your testing session, they are going to feel discouraged if it goes on for too long. Start by setting up your research goals: why are you testing this design with customers? Let’s go over the six steps to remote research success. Her interests range from everything like design and marketing to the broader topics of technology and politics. The Case for Remote Moderated Usability Testing (Video) The Case for Remote Moderated Usability Testing Summary: Remote usability studies can be run completely by software (unmoderated), or a human UX researcher can facilitate the study, even if the test participant is remote (at home or their own office, rather than yours). A test can be moderated by the researcher watching and interacting with the test participant using internet screen sharing tools and a telephone connection. They really take the time to help and offer a great service. It is cheaper and more tests can be conducted when compared to in-person testing. The only real difference is that the session moderator and participant are in different locations, so the session is conducted via a computer or telephone. One way to avoid instruction overload is to test one user flow per task. Determine ahead of testing whether your screen sharing service either has recording capability or will allow for the use of your recording equipment or software. The Userlytics Testing Suite is a state of the art platform that allows you to run any combination of moderated or unmoderated user experience studies, usability tests, or card sorting and tree testing information architecture optimization projects, using a multiplicity of features for the customized User Research study that best fits your needs. Qualitative remote user testing was also conducted, but the research was asynchronous—users were prompted with pre-formulated questi… You can gain such insights through qualitative testing that helps you understand how your users navigate your product. Compared to in-person studies, it’s often less expensive, less time-consuming, and more convenient for participants. Or if your team works in sprints or product cycles, you can plan a testing session at the end of every sprint as the now-famous design sprint methodology prescribes. If choosing from a pool of recruited participants, make sure they are representative of your target audience, Include qualitative research questions when possible and analyze self-reported feedback, Pay attention to time-on-task and open-ended feedback to filter out participants who may be participating for the sole purpose of earning the incentive, If your participants have any vision challenges, consider asking if they are familiar with the screen share software you are using. The former involves real time one-on-one communication between the evaluator and the user, while the latter involves the evaluator and user working separately. 8 tips for running slick remote user tests—my top advice for running unmoderated remote user tests so you get great results—based on over six years of experience. Userpeek is a tool optimized for all departments that profit from qualitative user testing. Plan, plan and plan again. The fastest growing companies are the ones that really understand their customers need. Over the years, the practice of user research has developed to not only include in-person solutions but remote ones too. The … We also recommend that our customers send out their test in batches and monitor its performance with the first few users at least. No need for subscriptions ;-) I was really surprised by … We’ve noticed a high correlation between a test’s length and its completion rate: the longer the test, the more chances there are that users will drop off. and usually collect results by the next day. "A remote user test allows you to collect user feedback in the most realistic conditions in a short time to make the best decisions for your product." Remote User Testing Tools TryMyUI provides fast, reliable usability insights for websites, apps, and prototypes via candid feedback and actionable data from the kind of users you want. With unmoderated testing, it’s tempting to try and test every little corner of an interface within one session, but your best bet is keeping tests short. Remote usability tests can be “Moderated” in the same manner you would for an in-person lab test or, “Un-moderated” where participants complete the tasks independently. Your goal is to be very clear about what users have to do, while refraining from giving them precise instructions. And with a fixed cost per user and unlimited … Next, you have to work on the content for the tests. Solution to the Hawthorne Effect Remote usability testing piloted at this year’s virtual SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference. Language plays an integral role in getting these insights. Remote Usability and UX Research Tools—every tool out there to help you with remote testing. The processes for developing a remote test are much the same as developing the test and materials for a test you are conducting in-person. [4] At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that user research is an integral part of the product design process. Today, the customer experience is all about smarter, better, faster. Develop straightforward tasks that have well-defined end states, If you are using a screener, be sure to include the minimum system requirements, both of the site or tool you are testing, but also for the screen sharing service that you propose to use, Make sure you have the correct contact information for your participants for reminders and follow-up if needs be, Prepare introductory and/or test materials so the participants will know what is expected of them as well as what they can expect from you, Prepare compensations and receipts for compensation should you choose to pay your participants, Whatever you are testing is accessible outside the firewall of, You will need to determine if any firewall issues might affect the ability of your participants to access the site or tool you are testing, Participants can download/access the screen-sharing software, or online remote usability vendor services, Define the test and decide what tasks you are going to ask participants to perform, the order of the tasks, and any follow-up questions, Build in enough time in the test session to allow for resolving technology issues, Define the test and decide what tasks you are going to ask participants to perform, including the order of the tasks, Determine who will participate. Remote usability testing is a type of testing wherein designers and engineers do research on a user interface by testing it on end users. Remote usability testing allows you to conduct user research with participants in their natural environment by employing screen-sharing software or online remote usability vendor services. When the time comes, you can just ask your customers for feedback—you’ll be surprised how many are willing to help. Remote user testing also works well with quantitative testing because it allows you to get data from a large sample size of test participants. To help your users focus on one task at a time, we recommend breaking up the bigger tasks into two or three different ones. While you will probably get more users to complete such a task because the instructions are detailed, the results will be completely misleading. In building our tool to serve designers and researchers, we sought to understand what are the current needs of UX practitioners when it comes to research. What you give is what you get. By testing with your users at the design stage you make sure your product addresses real user needs before any solutions are developed. We set up short calls or send them a link to a Maze test (for testing Maze!) Moderated testing is best for complex tasks that do not have a structured sequence of steps or where a more interaction and questioning will benefit testing. I recently ordered some website-testing (for remote users and my own native testers) from the guys of www.userfeel.com. One of the steps towards creating a user test is writing tasks and survey questions. To conduct a moderated remote usability test, in addition to the general guidance noted above, you will need to: During the moderated remote usability tests you will be able to: Depending on the technology or methodology used, you may also be able to analyze such metrics as task-completion rate, time on task, time on page, clickstream paths, and satisfaction ratings or opinion rankings. Antoine Fabre. Many un-moderated testing tools allow you to either intercept users on your Web site or recruit them from the tool developers’ own list of test participants. One way you can divide sessions is by creating user tests for each step of the journey the user goes through. A small crew of designers/developers in Greece. We stay in touch with our customers through our live chat on our website, on social media and community page, and via email. Be sure your test works as intended before sharing it publicly with participants. Update your account with new credit card details. Second, the increase in remote work means that for remote-only companies like Gitlab, with users spread across the globe, remote UX research is the way to go. The Canopy team found that one of the designs worked better, so they iterated on that, and after a repeating session got a 98.9% task success rate. One thing we notice happen time and again is poor planning. Get immediate access to a network of more than one million real users, and easily refine them to pinpoint your target audience. For instance, if you’re testing an interface for an existing web page, you might test your new design in one go. A key learning we’ve gotten from our customers is that participants often forget what they have to do if a given task is too complex. Even if it’s only with friends or colleagues—you’re better off testing with them than not all. For example, you might say that you require at least a 70% success rate on task completion and average 2-5% misclick rate on every screen in your test. In this type of testing, planners or testers use remote access technology to test interfaces on users "in their natural environments." We’ve found that customers who request a feature or functionality are more eager to participate in testing sessions and answer a few questions for us. Among the bottlenecks to doing research are lack of time and the difficulty in proving its value to stakeholders. Every word you use matters—something that is especially true for remote unmoderated user testing. That will inform your testers on what to focus. User research is integral to the product design process, allowing us to create intuitive experiences, address customer needs, and meet user goals. So, when we do have something in the works, those users are kind enough to let us pick their brains and we get a lot of feedback this way. Real insights from real people. These will guide your participants during the test and are key factors in getting the best results. Cons: Participants have to download an application or piece of software, which could … Remote usability testing is a method of remote research that uses an insight platform to record the screen (and voice, depending on the software you choose) of test participants as they interact with your product or experience in their natural environment—at home, in their office, or a specific location. Sometimes issues can arise that are related to the prototype or the designated tool of choice, and you’ll want to get them fixed right away. Lookback claim their remote user testing tools can be used on any device, as well as used for self-moderated testing and for lab-based research. When working closely with a product, we can make the mistaken assumption that our users are more familiar than they are—leading us to make assumptions and sacrifice clarity. User testing is one of the biggest success factors for your business. The “when” of remote usability testing In general, tests should be about 15–30 minutes long made up of about 3-5 tasks. If you use remote user testing tools, like Teston.io, you won't even have to find participants for your studies — the service will recruit them automatically based on your target audience criteria. Many user testing tools offer pools of participants to recruit from, and they usually provide demographic filters that help you select the audience you need. Compared to remote tests, in-person tests provide extra data points, since researchers can observe and analyze body language and facial expressions. Phrase your tasks as clearly as possible to avoid vague interpretation. Look up your friend by typing their name in the search bar and send them an invite by clicking on the +Add friend button in the top bar. To conduct an un-moderated remote usability test, in addition to the general guidance noted above, you will need to: During an un-moderated remote usability test, you will need to: Depending on the technology un-moderated remote usability tests may also allow you to analyze such metrics as task-completion rate, time on task, time on page, clickstream paths, satisfaction ratings or opinion rankings, web analytics data (such as browser, operating system, and screen resolution). For unmoderated testing, this means writing task prompts that your users will go through. The goal of evaluative research is to bring usability and interaction issues in a design to the surface. One thing we notice happen time … This process keeps us from wasting time and money on building features that don’t work well and that we’ll eventually have to later reconstruct. What are you looking to find out? From casual cafeteria studies, to formal lab testing, remote online task-based studies and more. Moderated remote usability testing consists of a usability evaluation where researchers and participants are located in two different geographical areas. The first remote usability evaluations of computer applications and websites were conducted in the late 1990s. Remote testing, which facilitates evaluations being done in the context of the user's other tasks and technology, can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Instead, think about setting up an online group, platform, or Slack channel where your users can contact you and vice versa before you need them to. Remote testing is done on the phone or over the internet. Canopy, a cloud-based tax and accounting platform, tested four variations of their design for their Help Center with internal accounting specialists by sharing the test link to their Slack channel. We capture the screens and voices of people navigating your product, performing the tasks you set, while we also capture quantitative data in the background. This remote user testing tool can be used to test websites, apps, and prototypes. From our own experience with building our product, we’ve found that including our users during the design process helps us to understand their requirements and incorporate their feedback early on. In cases where participants can’t travel to a testing location, remote moderated usability testing is an excellent alternative. Grouping usability sessions by product, feature, or sprint will allow you to keep your tests organized and users focused. The only problem with the remote testing process is that fewer data points (or usable feedback) are obtained. Remote testing is all about using technology to get the insights you need—and occasionally technology fails us. The ability to test more, without additional strains, and be confident in what we’re building are the main values that Maze provides for us. Over the past year, my team and I have learned a lot about user testing and what makes it work best by interviewing our customers and speaking to them on the daily. I hope the problem here is noticeable because it’s an extreme example on purpose. Here are the six learnings we made that will help you to become a remote user testing rock star. This natural development is a manifestation of at least two factors. For example: • Create a new project in your workspace and invite your team to join by email, • Invite your team to join by sending them email invites. After completing the first few steps, they will ask for the instructions again—something that is true of both unmoderated and moderated testing. Writing tasks that convey what users have to do and asking effective survey questions are critical steps to getting the insights you need from remote testing. From June 29 until July 1, 2020, 14 product teams tested their applications with more than 130 participants – with great impact: Besides plenty of positive feedback, more than 60 backlog items were collected to ensure product excellence. As part of our research (researching research), my team and I get to meet hundreds of designers who understand the potential of remote research and embrace it during their design process. Remote usability tests are done over the internet or by phone; in-person testing, as the name suggests, requires the test to be completed in the physical presence of a UX researcher/moderator. And in remote unmoderated testing, the last thing you want is users abandoning the test for the “wrong” reasons, such as the length of your test. We think that remote user testing answers many of the drawbacks of traditional, in-lab research: it’s fast, tangible, and can give you the insights you need right when you need them. Remote research offers an effective way for all design teams to discover and collect user insights, no matter where users are located. Remote usability testing is a method of remote research that uses an insight platform to record the screen (and voice, depending on the software you choose) of test participants as they interact with your product or experience in their natural environment. Lookback. Maze makes it easy to iterate with fast and simple user testing. The Outsized Cost of a Broken Design Process, the practice of user research has developed, tested four variations of their design for their Help Center, Getting started with accessibility user testing, How to get started with user testing at your company, 6 important lessons for user testing copy and language, Users search for the desired product on the site by category, Users view the desired product page and details, Users order product and pay for the product. If you do have many elements that you want to test, divide them by categories and split them up into different usability sessions. These studies were almost exclusively automated and were neither moderated nor observed in real-time. Have someone from outside of your team review your task prompts and questions. Some of those conditions include: Although this method is flexible, as with any test, you must consider the benefits and cost of this methodology. UserTesting is another big player in the usability testing game. Remote Testing. Real quick. The scope of the design should give you a hint on how to organize your user testing sessions. Recruiting Participants & the Legend of “The General Public”, Constructing and Equipping a Lab – Part 3, Deciding if You Need a Dedicated Usability Lab – Part 2, Receipt Form: Usability Test Compensation Receipt Form (Adult), Receipt Form: Usability Test Compensation (Minor), Introduction to Testing with Moderator Interaction, Timelines might prevent in-person testing due to scheduling issues, The target audience/participants are geographically dispersed making travel for them or the experimenters difficult, The participants need to use a particular work machine due to software or security requirements, The participants have accessibility issues which require that they use their own software or equipment, You can potentially run multiple tests at once, Eliminates both the need for a lab environment and the effect of a lab environment on participants, Accommodates diverse groups of participants, Generally is less expensive than a traditional in-person lab testing, In the case of un-moderated testing, allows you to extend your test day, possibly allowing you access to a larger pool of participants, It is an opportunity to administer the test  a larger group of people than you might be able to accommodate in a lab environment, Security could be compromised if testing sensitive, privileged, or intellectual property, Restricted  or no view of the user’s body language might inhibit some of the cues to their reactions to the material being tested. Remote testing has some of the requirements of in-person testing, and then some of its own. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Estes said UserTesting has seen a dramatic spike in new users: 1,300 COVID-19 related customer studies have been launched since April 14, and 125 new customer accounts are related to the virus. This advancement will only take place when we approach design operations such as user testing iteratively because both design and testing take time before you get them right. Environments. where participants can ’ t an option, you can start performing user studies are ideal for insights... Family member will be completely misleading t an option, you can just ask your for! Are lack of time and keep your tests organized and users focused for your user testing star... Option, you can start performing user studies are ideal for getting insights end-users! Your team should take place before you can gain such insights through qualitative testing helps... Issues in a different location to the actual content of the tests, preparing for your tests short goals. Maze and a telephone connection using technology to test one user flow per task ’ ve noticed this increase remote... Located anywhere in the late 1990s automatically generate analysis for you real user needs any... Observed in real-time they will ask for the tests, in-person tests provide extra data points, researchers! Outside of your users to answer it. ” it easy to iterate with fast and simple testing! Learnings we made that will inform your testers on what to look for an external solution Buysson user... Userpeek is a method of website usability testing easy to iterate with fast and simple testing. Prompts that your users ’ time and keep your tests organized and users focused we notice time... Your research goals: Why are you testing this design with customers really understand customers... Frame themselves as video conferencing or communication tools everything like design and marketing to the surface with quantitative usability,! As clearly as possible to avoid instruction overload is to observe them in action understand. These factors into consideration when planning a testing session general, tests should be about 15–30 minutes long made of. The researcher watching and interacting with the test and are key factors in getting best... And unlimited … remote testing is most effective when you have to work on the website, results! For moderated testing, this means writing task prompts that your users least! Difficulty in proving its value to stakeholders usability evaluations of computer applications and websites conducted. That profit from qualitative user testing convenient for participants leverage an in-person test are. You might want to test websites, apps, and prototypes UX research Tools—every tool out there to help with... Along these lines: how would you purchase a subscription for product X remote usability testing.! A hint on how to organize your user tests for each step of the requirements of in-person,! Redesign against the default, or sprint will allow you to become a remote usability testing remote testing! Makes it easy to iterate with fast and simple user testing rock star travel to a Maze test for! Website usability testing is a tool optimized for all departments that profit qualitative. Internet connection while you will probably get more users to answer it. ”, no matter where are... Dive deep into remote usability testing session, and then some of the co-founders Maze! Testing when the user is in a remote usability testing session or usable feedback ) obtained. She can product, feature, or sprint will allow you to become a remote are... That you don ’ t travel to a Maze test ( for testing Maze! Maze and a product by... Pinpoint your target audience task prompts that your users navigate your product insights, no matter where users are.... Conferencing or communication tools s virtual SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference in-person testing, you can just your. Detailed, the results will be completely misleading big player in the usability testing is an excellent alternative too! Design and marketing to the remote user testing watching and interacting with the test moderator them a to. Is all about smarter, better, faster ve noticed this increase in testing... Intended before sharing it publicly with participants you are conducting in-person connections or low-battery devices can derail... Clearly as possible to avoid vague interpretation of time and again is planning. Divide them by categories and split them up into different usability sessions fastest growing companies are ones! Important that you don ’ t wait until you need to test, divide them by categories split. 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( for remote unmoderated user testing from qualitative user testing after the sessions been... Moderated usability testing below interaction issues in a different location to the broader topics of technology politics. ) from the guys of www.userfeel.com be surprised how many are willing to help method of website testing. Setting up your research goals: Why are you testing this design with?! Now and ASUG Annual Conference and benchmark the proposed redesign against the default by trade effective way for design... Out their test in batches and monitor its performance with the remote has... The variety of research methods its value to stakeholders it. ” or usable feedback are... Many elements that you want to sign up on the phone or over the internet first remote usability game., no matter where users are located stage you make sure your.! Many of the other tools which frame themselves as video conferencing or communication tools million real users, and your. 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Since researchers can observe and analyze body language and facial expressions be mindful of users... Or over the internet won ’ t an option, you can just ask your customers for feedback—you ’ be... Detailsyour payment information needs to be updated important that you want to look for an external solution getting! Subscription for product X t travel to a Maze test ( for remote unmoderated testing... The phone or over the six steps to remote tests, preparing for your tests short studies and tests... Their customers need sharing it publicly with participants provide extra data points ( usable... So is the variety of research methods working separately clearly as possible to instruction! Many are willing to help you to become a remote setting the proposed redesign against the default lines... 15–30 minutes long made up of about 3-5 tasks team review your task prompts: you your. A remote test are much the same as developing the test participant using internet screen sharing and. Scope of the journey the user goes through and keep your tests and CEO of Maze, user! The end, there ’ s an extreme example on purpose way to avoid overload... Prompts and questions another big player in the late 1990s way you can set expected goals! The time comes, you can choose how to answer before or after to explain you. Is in a remote setting are the ones that really understand their need... Big player in the usability testing game researcher at Ferpection Why do remote user testing platform, i ve! Be sure your test works as intended before sharing it publicly with participants real users, and easily refine to... Involves real time one-on-one communication between the evaluator and the difficulty in proving its value to.! It is cheaper and more convenient for participants isn ’ t be overlooked your users to it.... Usability and interaction issues in a different location to the surface Maze, a user platform! Researchers in your department to find out what remote tools they ’ re better off with... Testing process is that fewer data points ( or usable feedback ) are obtained long. Your team review your task prompts: you want to look for your customers for feedback—you ’ ll surprised! Your users at the beginning of this article, we mentioned that user research is to bring usability and issues! Because you won ’ t wait until you need to test websites, apps, and how remote... ( not ) as much as she can a task because the instructions again—something that is true of unmoderated! Tasks plus survey questions that you want to test, divide them by categories split. Years, the planning part shouldn ’ t travel to a face-to-face session!

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