With so many different usability testing tools available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want to make informed decisions based on user behavior and preferences and validate design choices and hypotheses but need to figure out which tool is best for the job. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using different tools with large teams and dozens of products, with my picks of the best usability testing tools.
What Are Usability Testing Tools?
Usability testing tools are software solutions used by UX researchers, developers, and product designers to test their target audience. They measure how user-friendly and efficient a product or a system is by either simulating real-user interactions or monitoring and gathering quantitative data from real test participants.
Through methods like task analysis, highlight reels, user surveys, or heatmaps, the testing software reveals how users navigate through a product, where they encounter issues, and what aspects enhance or detract from their overall customer experience. This helps businesses streamline their user interfaces, making their products more intuitive, easy to use, and ultimately, more successful in the market.
UserTesting is a leading usability testing platform that gives you the ability to receive video feedback from users interacting with your design. It’s particularly effective if you need a wide variety of user perspectives, due to its extensive participant demographics.
Why I Picked UserTesting:
I selected UserTesting for this list because of its vast and diverse participant pool. It stood out because it gives you the capability to understand how different users interact with your design, ensuring your product appeals to a broad audience. When it comes to having a comprehensive user base spanning various demographics, this tool is simply unmatched, making it the best for broad user base in usability testing tools.
UserTesting Standout Features & Integrations
Features include 'Live Conversation' which enables you to interact with participants in real-time, and 'Longitudinal Study' for observing changes in user behavior over time.
On the integrations side, UserTesting works well with major product management platforms like Jira, Trello, and Slack, facilitating easy coordination and timely updates.
- Integration with popular project management tools
- Offers live interaction with participants
- Provides a broad demographic of user testers
- Advanced features require higher pricing tiers
- Some learning curve for first-time users
- Pricing is based on the number of videos, which might not be suitable for all budgets
Applause is a comprehensive usability testing tool that employs a global community of qualified testers to assess your digital experiences. This unique approach lends itself well to those who are looking to benefit from a diverse range of professional insights, pinpointing usability issues that might go unnoticed with other tools.
Why I Picked Applause:
Applause made it onto my list due to its extensive global community of professional testers. They've also been in the crowd-sourcing category since 2007 and this aspect sets it apart, making it a unique tool compared to its competitors. The rich, diverse insights garnered from professional testers of various backgrounds significantly enhance the value of the usability testing process. This is why I believe Applause is the best for its extensive community of professional testers.
Applause Standout Features & Integrations
Features include the real-world testing setup which allows the testers to test the applications under actual usage conditions. This provides a more realistic understanding of the user experience. Additionally, Applause allows for testing across various devices, platforms, and locations, catering to a global digital product.
Applause integrates with a variety of popular bug tracking, project management, and communication tools such as JIRA, Slack, and Asana. These integrations ensure a smooth workflow, making it easier to manage and implement feedback from usability tests.
- Integrates with popular project management tools
- Real-world testing conditions
- Global community of professional testers
- The vastness of the tester community may lead to inconsistency in feedback
- No free trial available
- Custom pricing may be a barrier for small businesses
Crazy Egg is a website optimization tool that allows you to understand user activity on your website through heatmaps, scroll maps, and other visual reports. Its unique selling point is its powerful heatmap functionality, which provides you with a visual representation of user clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements.
Why I Picked Crazy Egg:
I selected this tool for its exceptional ability to visualize user interaction on a website. Many tools offer user behavior tracking, but Crazy Egg sets itself apart with its clear, easy-to-understand heatmaps, which give you direct insight into the most engaging parts of your site. As a result, it's my top choice for visualizing user activity through heatmaps.
Crazy Egg Standout Features & Integrations
Features include its heatmap technology, which lets you see exactly where users are clicking, scrolling, and even where their mouse hovers. This provides a visual understanding of user engagement and can help inform site design and content placement decisions. Other noteworthy features include A/B testing and conversion rate optimization tools.
As for integrations, Crazy Egg integrates with a variety of popular platforms including WordPress, Shopify, and Joomla, making it easy to incorporate into existing workflows.
- Comprehensive A/B testing and conversion rate optimization features
- Integrations with popular website platforms like WordPress and Shopify
- Powerful heatmap functionality for understanding user interaction
- Annual billing may not be ideal for all users
- Limited functionality beyond heatmaps and A/B testing
- Pricing may be too high for smaller businesses or individual users
Userbrain is a usability testing service that provides you with videos of real people speaking their thoughts while using your website or app. The core of Userbrain's appeal lies in its commitment to continuous, weekly user feedback, keeping you constantly in touch with the user experience.
Why I Picked Userbrain:
Its unique proposition of delivering weekly user feedback videos caught my attention. This consistent, regular feedback system provides an ongoing stream of insights into user experience and interface design, which is rare in many usability testing tools.
Userbrain Standout Features & Integrations
Features include its weekly testing cycle that ensures regular user feedback. It also offers remote usability testing which means you get testers who are unbiased and speak their mind freely. The tool delivers videos of users navigating your website or app, providing crucial insight into how users interact with your digital product.
Userbrain does not provide specific third-party integrations, but its focus lies on providing a dedicated testing platform that can be utilized alongside other tools for analysis and feedback management.
- Subscription-based model allowing for budget predictability
- Unbiased, remote usability testing
- Weekly user videos for continuous feedback
- Not ideal for one-off testing due to subscription model
- The service may be cost-prohibitive for small businesses or individuals
- Lacks specific third-party integrations
Loop11 is a usability testing tool that fits well within agile development cycles. It offers the ability to quickly create tests, gather user feedback, and make informed iterations. The agile-centric nature of Loop11 makes it the best choice for teams following agile methodologies where regular user feedback is crucial.
Why I Picked Loop11:
This tool caught my eye due to its commitment to agility in usability testing. With a faster set-up process and quick turnaround of results, it stands out in situations where quick iterations are necessary. I believe Loop11 is the best for making usability testing part of your agile cycles because of how it blends into the iterative process, allowing for rapid incorporation of user feedback.
Loop11 Standout Features & Integrations
Features include heatmaps, session replays, and conversion funnels. These features provide a robust picture of user activity, helping you to identify issues and opportunities for improvement.
Loop11 integrates well with platforms like Slack for team communication and collaboration, and Google Analytics for deeper insights into user behavior.
- Robust set of usability testing features
- Integrates well with popular team collaboration and analytics platforms
- Speedy set-up and result turnaround
- Additional cost for more than one user access
- Limited customization options in the entry-level tier
- Higher learning curve for beginners
TryMyUI is a user testing tool that excels at capturing user emotions and confusion points during testing sessions. Because of its emphasis on capturing user emotions and pinpointing confusion, this platform is great for understanding your users' experience.
Why I Picked TryMyUI:
I picked it because of how it combines video footage of the user's interaction with your product alongside their verbal feedback. The tool’s ability to capture video footage and synchronize it with this verbal feedback creates a comprehensive picture of the user experience.
The tool supports testing on both mobile devices and desktop computers, accommodating a wider range of testing scenarios.
TryMyUI Standout Features & Integrations
Features include the user panel which has a large pool of pre-screened participants from various demographics. This can be beneficial for quickly finding participants who match your target audience.
TryMyUI's major integrations include popular project management tools like Trello and Jira, which allow for easy task management and feedback implementation.
- Integrates with popular project management tools
- Offers an easy-to-use platform for analyzing and segmenting user feedback
- Synchronized video and verbal feedback provides a detailed understanding of user emotions
- User testing videos require considerable storage and bandwidth
- Could have more extensive integrations
- Limited advanced features in the starting tier
UserZoom is a versatile usability testing tool designed for UX research. It offers a wealth of features to help you understand user behavior and optimize the user experience. Given its thorough research capabilities, it is perfect for those needing an all-encompassing tool for usability and UX research.
Why I Picked UserZoom:
I chose this tool due to its comprehensive capabilities that cover both usability testing and UX research. It offers a variety of research methods, from card sorting to tree testing, that not many other tools provide. I found it to be the best for comprehensive usability and UX research capabilities because it ensures that you're not only testing for usability but also understanding the user experience on a deeper level.
UserZoom Standout Features & Integrations
Features include 'Card Sorting', 'Click Testing', and 'Heatmaps'. These features ensure that you get a clear idea of your user's preferences, their interaction with your design, and areas of your site that get the most attention.
UserZoom integrates smoothly with popular analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, as well as project management tools like Jira, and even some CRM systems, ensuring you can connect your UX data with other business metrics.
- Smooth integration with analytics and project management tools
- Variety of testing methods available
- Comprehensive usability testing and UX research tool
- Limited customization options in the basic pricing tier
- Could be overwhelming for beginners due to its broad range of features
- Higher pricing compared to some other tools
Userfeel is a usability testing platform with a key strength: its ability to support multilingual testing in over 40 languages. This tool facilitates the process of remote usability testing, providing you with videos of real users speaking their thoughts while using your website or app.
Why I Picked Userfeel:
Given its extensive language support, Userfeel shines when you need to conduct usability testing on a multilingual or global scale. It is this multilingual approach that made me choose it. With support for over 40 languages, it stands out from other usability testing platforms that may only support a few languages. I also considered the fact that businesses often need to reach audiences who speak various languages, and this tool serves that purpose excellently.
Userfeel Standout Features & Integrations
Features include highlight videos that help you present the results of your usability tests to your team, like critical issues. The tool also includes an advanced dashboard for clear, efficient analysis of test results.
Userfeel offers integration with Slack for communication and real-time updates on the testing process.
- Offers integration with Slack for streamlined communication
- Advanced dashboard for efficient analysis of test results
- Supports multilingual usability testing in 40+ languages
- Real-time support is limited to business hours
- Lacks a broader range of integrations with other project management tools
- Per-test pricing model may not suit businesses with frequent testing needs
Optimal Workshop is a user research platform that specializes in tools for creating and analyzing card sorts, tree tests, and other methods to understand how users categorize and find information on websites. It shines when you're looking to optimize the architecture and navigational structure of your website.
Why I Picked Optimal Workshop:
Optimal Workshop stood out for me when I was determining the best tools to include on this list. Its distinct focus on information architecture and usability testing sets it apart from many other user testing tools on the market. It provides unique features that allow for an in-depth examination of how users navigate and interact with the information on a website. Therefore, it's my top pick for usability testing related to information architecture.
Optimal Workshop Standout Features & Integrations
Features include Treejack for tree testing, OptimalSort for card sorting, and Chalkmark for first-click testing, are all specifically designed to understand and improve website information architecture. This suite of tools makes it easier to optimize the navigation and structure of your website.
Optimal Workshop integrates with a range of services, including Slack, Google Drive, and other popular productivity tools, allowing you to incorporate user research into your workflow.
- Comprehensive suite of tools in one platform
- Integrates with popular productivity tools like Slack and Google Drive
- Specialized tools for understanding and optimizing information architecture
- The focus on information architecture may not be as useful for other aspects of usability testing
- May be more features than needed for smaller sites or simpler projects
- The cost is high compared to some other user testing platforms
UsabilityHub is a user research platform that can help you understand an audience by helping you create a range of usability tests. The platform allows you to use several testing methodologies and even recruit users from their database of 500,000+ users.
Why I Picked UsabilityHub:
UsabilityHub first caught my attention with its simplicity and focus on fast turn-around. In a field that often grapples with time constraints, its ability to quickly deliver data that can influence design decisions makes it an indispensable asset. I determined this platform is best for rapid results based on its 'quick tests' feature which allows you to obtain swift user feedback - this can be pivotal for those who are on a tight schedule but still want reliable usability insights.
UsabilityHub Standout Features & Integrations
Features include its 'Five Second Tests', 'Preference Tests', and 'Navigation Tests'. These features enable swift and direct feedback on designs, helping you understand the immediate impact of your design choices.
While UsabilityHub might not have as many integrations as some other tools, it does integrate with some of the most used tools in the tech industry, including Slack for real-time updates and Google Sheets for data export, making the information gathered through testing accessible and actionable.
- Offers a range of tests including Five Second Tests, Preference Tests, and Navigation Tests
- The platform is easy to use and understand
- The quick tests feature allows for rapid results
- Lacks advanced features like session recordings and eye-tracking
- Higher cost than some other usability testing tools
- Limited integrations compared to other tools
Best for budget-friendly, crowdsourced user testing
Best for real-time user feedback with in-depth interviews
Good for analyzing user interaction with mobile applications
Good for collaborative design and prototyping
Good for targeted website surveys to gather user insights
Good for unmoderated remote usability testing
Good for A/B testing with direct user feedback
Good for crowdsourced testing with a diverse user base
Good for comprehensive web analytics including heatmap, micro-surveys, and funnels
Good for rapid user testing of prototypes
Selection Criteria For Usability Testing Tools
When choosing a usability testing tool, there are several important criteria that I consider based on my extensive experience in this area. I have personally tested and researched numerous tools, evaluating their features, usability, and core functionality, among other things. In the end, the tools I have chosen to include in this list are those that most effectively meet the specific criteria I have outlined below.
A UX testing tool should be able to do the following:
- Facilitate both moderated testing and unmoderated usability testing: This allows for more flexible testing scenarios and more comprehensive data.
- Record user sessions: This gives valuable insights into how users interact with a website or application. Hotjar is a good example of session recording software.
- Provide detailed analytics: Insights into user behavior are vital for improving UX.
A good UX testing tool should have the following key features:
- Heatmaps: Visual representations of how users interact with a webpage (where they click, scroll, or hover) can provide invaluable insights about UX design and user understanding of the UI.
- Screen recording: Seeing what users see during their sessions can help identify problems in real-time. This is particularly relevant in website usability testing and mobile testing.
- Surveys and questionnaires: Direct user feedback can highlight issues you may not have considered. This feature also covers transcriptions of user interviews.
When considering usability, the following factors are critical for a UX testing tool:
- User-friendly interface: It should be easy to navigate and set up tests without requiring extensive technical skills. This includes the availability of templates to help you get a quick start.
- Efficient onboarding process: Time is a resource. Therefore, tools that can get you started quickly and offer intuitive functionality can be a real advantage.
- Comprehensive customer support: A responsive support team can make a world of difference when dealing with challenges or learning how to use advanced features.
Remember, the most crucial aspect is how well a tool fits into your workflow and meets your specific needs. Hence, always consider these criteria in the context of your unique requirements.
Usability testing tools can increase their value for product teams if they can connect to other cloud-based tools. This can help smoothen the creation of different types of usability testing on other tools in your tech stack. Each review covers some of the integrations available with the tools as I'm sure they'll impact your final decision.
What are the benefits of using usability testing tools?
Usability testing tools offer a range of benefits:
- They allow businesses to gain a deeper understanding of how their products are used by capturing user interactions and behavior. This can help uncover usability issues that may be hindering user experience.
- They often provide visual representations, like heatmaps and session recordings, to visualize user behavior.
- These tools can also assist in running surveys and questionnaires to collect direct user feedback.
- Businesses can potentially save costs associated with later-stage modifications by identifying usability issues early.
What is a basic usability test?
A basic usability test would involve two people: a tester and an observer. To set it up, you would need a computer where the user will test the prototype that you’ll put in front of them. Then, as they navigate your product, the observer would take note of behaviors and other navigation observations deemed important by the research team.
How much do usability testing tools typically cost?
The pricing for usability testing tools can vary significantly depending on their capabilities, the size of the user base, and the complexity of the tasks they can perform.
There are a few common pricing models for these tools. Some operate on a subscription basis, where you pay a monthly or annual fee for access. Others use a per-test or per-participant model, where you pay based on the amount of testing you do. Some tools offer a tiered pricing model, with more features and capabilities available at higher tiers.
The price can range from as low as $20 per month to over $200 per month for more advanced tools. It’s important to note that the cost is often proportional to the number of features and the level of insight the tool can provide.
What are the types of usability tests?
Usability testing provides you with information about the user. However, different tests throw different data for you to analyze. Here are 5 of the most popular usability tests:
- Moderated usability tests: When two humans, a moderator and a tester, interact for a test. This can be in person or through a video conferencing software.
- Unmoderated usability tests: When you send a test to your target audience but do not observe or moderate. Instead, you receive a recording of the session after they complete the test.
- Card sorting: When you ask users to group items according to what makes sense to them. Card sorting is a great exercise to test taxonomy for a website.
- First-click test: Not surprisingly, first-click testing is exactly what it sounds like. When you provide a user with instructions and record the place where they make the first click.
- Preference testing: When you present the user variations of the product. The intention behind preference testing is to record the feedback users give on why they prefer an option over the other.
Are there any free usability testing tools?
Yes, there are some free options available. Tools like Chalkmark by Optimal Workshop offer a free plan, but these are often limited in features and scope compared to their paid counterparts.
Can these tools be used for mobile app testing?
Yes, many of these tools offer the ability to conduct usability testing on both websites and mobile apps. Be sure to check with the specific tool, as capabilities can vary.
Other Usability Testing Tools Reviews
What do you think?
Different usability testing methods will lead to different kinds of information.
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