I just came across a web site that I believe will help WiseClicker.com readers very much. I find it interesting that I found it coincidentally right after my most recent post “Wait! Don’t launch your site yet”, which is related to web site usability. I found UserTesting.com by chance and wanted to share it with you. I am sure there are others out there and I would like to learn if there are any tools or services you are using for the same purpose.
In my earlier article I suggested that you should make sure that your web site is ready to meet your target audience’s expectations before it goes live. One of the steps, probably the most important one, is to have your web site tested by users that represent your target audience. Usually a simple test done by easily accessible individuals such as family members, friends or customers can be helpful to determine the very basic flaws of your web site and its design. However, don’t forget that these may not necessarily represent the people you are trying to reach. Also, you cannot expect the comments and feedback of people you know to be 100% objective. So, utilizing the views of a targeted user group is essential for your success.
If you need more insight than what your immediate network can provide about the usability of your web site, UserTesting.com offers a practical and cost-effective service. You initiate the process by filling out a form on their web site. You set parameters about your target audience, tell how many testers you need and describe the task that you want each tester to perform on your web site. For example, you may ask the user to search for specific information or buy a certain product on your site. The task should be something that can be completed in about 15 minutes, though.
Once entered into UserTesting.com‘s system, your request is delivered to testers who match your target demographics. UserTesting.com testers are prescreened regular people and are paid for each assignment. The tester, who is assigned to the test, creates a recording using special software while performing the task you have defined in your request. Each test user’s mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes, and spoken comments are recorded during this process. At the end, you receive the recording as a Flash video and additionally get the tester’s written comments about your web site. Here are samples to give you an idea about how a recording works and how a sample report looks.
The service costs $29 per tester and they have a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the outcome.
In my opinion, having the video of the user test is a great opportunity to understand how users will interact with your site. I am sure that such a tool may uncover many user experience issues which cannot be even imagined. It will definitely help in identifying strong and weak areas, and give you a clear direction towards improving the usability of your web site. On the other hand, one feature I believe that can be improved is the availability of demographic parameters in order to increase the quality of targeted test user selection.
As I said in the beginning, I would like to learn if you know any other tools that will help improve the experience your site delivers to your visitors. Let me know.
Disclosure: WiseClicker.com is not affiliated with UserTesting.com and has not benefited financially in any way as a result of publishing this article.