Hi there! I have 2 suggestions for you:
1. Check out the UX Alliance for local vendors to conduct local research. All over the place, great experienced vendors, perfect for organizing Usability Labs in each region. You can contact the guys at User Centric who lead the UXA from the US. The issue is the time and cost, of course.
2. Remote unmoderated usability testing. Vendors like UserZoom or many other software tools that allow you to run these type of studies more cost-effectively and still be able to collect tons of data. However, you won't get the face to face.
That's why, in my experience, combining the 2 options may be a great way to go, depending on your goals.
Hope this was helpful.
Alfonso de la Nuez
There are more things that we can gain from the knowledge of the royalty software on the Internet because the people that really know how to do something are willing to share.
I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Thank you for these great suggestions! UX Alliance was recommended on other forums and feels like the right fit for my companies current needs. I will be digging a little deeper to get a more comprehesive understanding of all the services they offer.
There are a number of platforms and services out there ranging from task based quantitative surveys with things like heat maps etc to combined webcam + screen recording movies of what users hear, say and do simultaneously with who they are, where they are and what they say.
If you are looking for international resources, you should ensure that:
1. The platform or service allows you to customize the participant UI in the foreign language;
2. There is an annotation capability, linked to the specific result, so you can share the most relevant results with your international colleagues, translating them through these annotations so as to better share with your international colleagues;
3. The service includes international recruitment services, or provides you with a link to conduct your own, or ideally has both options.
Also, you should differentiate between consulting organizations, that add a lot of value but also cost a lot of money, and platforms where you will need to come to your own conclusions as to the implications/next steps.
The platform aproach is appropriate where you anticipate numerous iterations during the product development and optimization process, as well as the development and marketing optimization, as it is much less costly and the iterative process itself will be the key to coming up with solutions.
The price of the platforms varies quite a bit, and the market for unmoderated platforms being relatively new, the relationship between pricing and value is not necessariliy correlated, so best to decide what feature sets/services you need, and then go through the pricing options.
Userlytics.com has a platform that includes international recruitment as part of its offering, and has conducted projects in many european and asia pacific countries.
Hope that helps! :)
My firm, Webnographer specialises in Remote Research, most of which is international. We speak about 15 languages on staff. The difference between us and UX Alliance is that you are dealing with one company. Dealing with one firm means we can be more efficient as there is less overhead in communication.
You can see here a mini case study of using us in 5 countries can be found here : http://blog.webnographer.com/2012/01/client-testimonial-the-webnographer-remote-testing-solution-was-the-perfect-fit/
If you would like recommendations of individual agencies in different countries, don´t hesitate to get in touch with me.
All the best