If you’re doing any kind of user research, you’ve at least thought about getting official consent from your participants. Perhaps you’ve got a signed piece of paper or verbal consent to record sessions, or maybe you have a team of lawyers following you around with actual carbon copies in triplicate. Either way you need consent if you’d like to record sessions, in-person or remotely, and if you want to share those recordings with your team or even the world, you really need consent and a release (not a vacation – a video release that says people allow you to use their image and voice commercially, where you might be profiting from their footage). A signed piece of paper can’t be beat, but it’s our understanding that online “click-wrap” agreements carry some legal weight. Like all those terms & conditions you’ve checked off – not as binding as a contract, but at least it’s something.
Of course we’re not lawyers, so none of this constitutes legal advice, especially if all your participants are suing you, but here is our online recording consent agreement we have both in-person and remote participants fill out. You’ll just need a Wufoo account or some other kind of digital signature service to make your own, although most of those services require you to individually email each participant, which is a huge pain in the ass. A custom Wufoo form is probably less legally binding, but vastly easier to gather names with consent, while automatically having a record.
For bonus points with remote moderated testing, you’ll find it’s also a pain to email or read a long URL to your participants, so we create this research start page that has a nice easy URL bolt.ps that is easy to tell someone over Skype or an old ass phone, and then contains both the link to Consent and a link to our GoToMeeting which will let them share their screen with us. Feel free to copy these techniques for your own remote research, just ask a real lawyer about click-wrap agreements.