He references usertesting.com, which is a tool I've used a few times now. There are quite a few companies out there now but to be honest usertesting.com was the first I tried and I've not had any reason to loo anywhere else.
My previous post on usertesting.com
In Nate's article, he also talks about the benefits of getting your users to do real tasks that they actually care about. Consider the difference between these two approaches.
1. You've been recruited for some sort of computer study. The moderator shows you this online map Web app you've never heard of and asks you to use it to find some random place you've never heard of.
This task is a little tricky, but since you're sitting in this quiet lab and focusing—and you can't collect your incentive check and leave until you finish—you figure it out eventually. Not so bad.
2. You've been planning a family vacation for months, but you've been busy at work so you procrastinated a bit on the planning, and now it's the morning of the trip and you're trying to quickly print out directions between finishing your packing and getting your kids packed.
Your coworker told you about this MapTool Web site you've never used before, so you decide to give it a shot, and it's not so bad—that is, until you get stuck because you can't find the freaking button to print out the directions, and you're supposed to leave in an hour, but you can't until you print these damn directions, but your kids are jumping up and down on their suitcases and asking you where everything is.
Why can't they just make this stupid crap easy to use? Isn't it obvious what's wrong with it? Haven't they ever seen a real person use it before?
Pros and Cons of Remote Usability Testing - article by Nate Bolt for uie.com