We’ve been experimenting with different user testing methods and tools at Spigit so I was interested to see Dr Karl Blanks speak on the topic in “Are your users losing the will to live?” Dr Blanks recommended a number of tools for user testing software in the session- some of which I’ve found to be excellent, some which are sketchy, and some I’d never heard of. I’ve since looked in to those I’d never heard of and some look interesting but many have simpler and cheaper alternatives. Below I’ve listed Dr Blanks’s recommendation and, if applicable, my alternatives. I’ve *ed the tools I’ve used.
Self-testing (screen recording)
You may not be the target, but using your site helps you appreciate what customers are going through. Record yourself then watch it back.
*1. QuickTime player– (Mac/PC) basic screen and audio recording. Free.
2. Screenflow (Mac)- professional screen casting studio. £69.99.
3. Camtasia Studio (PC)- screen casting. £220.
4, 5, 6. Airserver ($15), Magitest ($50 for 5 devices), UXRecorder ($0). (iPhone)
Capture people when they’re actually using the site.
*7. usertesting.com– very quick and easy. Usertesting reaches out to testers and records them going through preset questions. Results in an hour or two. Use with random people or customers. $49/test.
8. Ethn.io– recruitment screener. Asks people if they have time for an interview when they visit the site. Free for 10,000 page views/ 250 responses.
Virtual 1-1 (screen sharing)
Pick up a phone and speak to your customers, prospects, or anyone else that’ll talk to you. Use a screensharing tool to see what they’re doing.
*9. Skype– very easy to use as long as you both have a Skype account. Free for 1-1, £3.44/ month for group video or screensharing.
*10. join.me– very simple to use, no download required. Free screen sharing, $19/month for premium.
*11. Google Hangout– participants need a Google account. Free.
12. GoToMeeting.com– £34.80/ month.
*13. Doodle– easy meeting scheduling. Free (basic), $39/ year (premium).
You know they’re qualified and they know what they’re looking for.
*14. Trello– create list, arrange priorities. Beautifully simple to use. Free or $25/month for business.
*15. Listhings– pinboard app. Work out priorities and arrange thoughts. Free.
16. OptimalSort– card sorting. Work out your site structure. $109/ month.
17. Treejack– test info architecture without aesthetics. $109/ month.
18. Notable– upload an image, ask other people to make comments on the page. Also good with collaborators/ colleagues. $19/ month for basic.
Anyone you can find. Gives you lots of detail- but can take a long time and be expensive.
*19. Go to where your users are: shopping malls, conferences, trade shows, airports, etc. Free.
20. User labs (example)- gets lots of detail and info, but slow and expensive. Varied.
Inspiration, helpful resources and more information for those who’ve never done user testing before.
21. Example scripts: script 1, script 2. Free.
22. Don’t make me think by Steve Krug- excellent book on user experience and testing. A one-stop shop if you can’t afford a UX pro. Highly recommend. £17.49 on Amazon.
What would you add to this list? What’s your go-to user testing method, and what would you avoid? Let me know in the comments or via email if you’d like further info or insights on any of the tools I’ve tried.
Bonus tip: If you’re worried about testing your site, run a user test on your competitor’s site first.