10 Usability Testing Tools for Startups
Getting and implementing user feedback is critical to building a great business. Fortunately for us, there are many great options to perform quick and easy usability tests using a variety of online tools.
The following tools make usability and user testing affordable, quick and simple:
Used by several large companies including Disney, Dell and Sony, UserTesting.com provides video recordings of real people using your website. You're able to provide information about the site to the user and also present them with tasks or questions to answer. They have a decent set of filters to help choose your target audience, including gender, age, country, household income and technology (OS, browser, etc). Prices start at $39 per user and decreases with bulk orders. It's a bit expensive but from my personal experience, it's well worth it, especially when you're close to launch and need video of real-world testers using your product.
This is another user testing site I've personally used with fairly successful results. Feedback Army charges a flat $15 for 10 reviewers to answer 4-6 questions on a given URL. Unlike UserTesting.com, you can't select your audience demographics and you don't get back a video, only simple text answers to your given questions. If you're looking for a quick and dirty usability test, you should definitely look into Feedback Army.
Concept Feedback allows you to get direct feedback on websites, mockups or even wireframes from hand-selected industry experts. Using the service requires you to submit your design/website to either a public, private or expert group of reviewers (public is free), and the reviewers then provide their suggestions, recommendations and input on your design. There are several different pricing points for their premium services, starting at $10/mo for their private feedback plan to $100 for 3 expert reviews.
Very similar to UserFly, Click Tale allows you to monitor every action your user performs on your homepage - from mouse movements to keystrokes. They have a long list of corporate clients and their pricing points seem to indicate that they are targeted towards fairly larger companies, however they do have a free plan with 400 recorded pageviews a month (their next plan costs $99/mo). The free plan only allows playback of the first two pageviews of each user.
Another simple tool that captures mouse-movement and actions your users perform by loading a simple JS file in your header. These guys are even somewhat cheaper than UserFly, as they offer set numbers of captures paid via PayPal (100 captures for $5), and include 10 captures to try out their service.
CrazyEgg is a very popular service that lets you track where your user clicks using heat maps. As you can see in their online demo, CrazyEgg also provides a lot of great information about the users on each link. Prices start at $9/mo and includes 10,000 hits over 10 pages, which is very affordable for the type of usability data you're able to gather from this tool.
Probably the most interesting out of the bunch (seeing they don't use real users), Feng-Gui "simulates human vision during the first 5 seconds of exposure to visuals, and creates heatmaps based on an algorithm that predicts what a real human would be most likely to look at." The downside is that they only analyze images or screenshots of webpages, and they charge per-image to analyze and create heat maps. Their cheapest option is $25 for 5 images, however they do have an evaluation upload widget thing on their homepage that lets you try it out with small images.
The FiveSecondTest is just that - users are allowed to see your mockup or website screenshot for 5 seconds, after which they are given a set of questions you set. It's meant to mimic the amount of time real-world users spend to gauge a website and whether or not they will stay or leave. While you don't get any data on the users that perform your test, one cool thing about FiveSecondTest is that you can earn credits by doing tests for other people (karma system), so if you're willing to work for it you can use their free plan indefinitely. Their paid plan starts at $20/month and limits you to 100 responses per month.
Silverback is an OS X application that allows you to perform simple user tests on your Macbook or iMac computer. The program records all on-screen actions performed by the user as well as video capture of the users' face, which provides additional clues to user behavior. You can download a free 30-day trial or buy it for $70, and 10% of the proceeds actually go towards saving gorillas.
When you're performing a usability test for your website/app, think about questions that will help you increase conversions or make the overall experience better for your users. For instance, instead of asking your testers if the design looks good, ask if the design is professional and if they would feel comfortable purchasing something (or entering their credit card info). Some other important questions to consider:
- Is it clear what we're trying to sell or what service we're trying to provide?
- Did you have any trouble navigating the site?
- Is our homepage too busy or cluttered?
- What is the worst or most confusing part of the site?
Most of the sites listed above also provide tips and sample questions to get you started. Try to focus on what your users will experience and relate your questions to that. Remember that your goal is to filter out / extract actionable feedback from these users.
Usability testing should be an essential part of your startup launch. Even if you've already launched, a usability test can help you improve your product and sales page, which will in turn help you increase conversions. With the competitive (downright cheap) prices of usability tests these days, there really is no excuse to skip on this - a little time and effort spent testing can go a long way!