Usability testing is all about getting real people to interact with your website, app or product, and then learning from their reactions. The goal being to identify any areas of confusion and uncover opportunities to improve overall user experience.
It removes the guesswork and subjective opinions about whether your design is living its best life, and lets the facts speak for themselves. It allows you to learn about user behaviour, needs and expectations by seeing through your audience’s eyes.
Laboratory usability testing
This is where moderated in-person research takes place. Individuals, whose profiles match, perform typical tasks with your product or a prototype. A researcher facilitates the sessions and controls different conditions to identify usability problems and their causes. While it is one of the most reliable methods to collect data and confirm or challenge assumptions, lab testing services are expensive and time consuming.
Remote usability testing
There are plenty of good alternative online platforms you can use instead to conduct usability testing. These services have their own bank of people to test with – some also let you use your own – and provide you with a host of different tools, such as:
A data visualisation that shows how website users click, scroll and move on the page. Red depicts popular areas and blue less popular areas.
Also known as split testing, this method compares two versions of a web page/app against each other to determine which performs better.
First click testing
Examines what users will click on first to complete an intended task.
Participants are shown a design for five seconds. They then have to answer questions based on their memory and impression. These answers are analysed to understand the design’s ability to communicate what was intended.
A session recording uses software to record visitor’s interaction with your website, including mouse clicks, movement and scrolling.
There are lots to choose from. Here’s some of the better budget platforms with a good range of different testing options
A simple click-based user experience tool with four main features:
Heatmaps, scroll maps (how far down the page each visitor is scrolling), Overlay (the number of clicks on each page element), Confetti (detailed insight about visitor sources and search terms). This tool has a free 30-day trial to see if it’s right for you. And if it is, paid subscriptions start from a very reasonable $24 a month.
A remote usability service with a focus on continuous testing. You can order and watch videos of real people interacting with your website and hear their opinions. You can also test competitor sites.
Your first test is free and potential sign-ups can be on short contracts with unlimited testing and fast results. Pay as you go is $29 per test, or subscription is $19 a month.
This allows you to run summative studies like ‘first click’ and ‘five-second tests’, design surveys or preference tests of multiple design solutions. It’s a good user research platform that helps you validate your designs and product concepts to create the best user experiences.
All tests under two minutes are free. The next plan up costs $79 per month.
A rapid testing platform that enables you to collect both qualitative and quantitative usability data. It directly integrates with a large host of software e.g. Adobe, SD, Figma and InVision to allow you to import prototypes easily.
Maze has a free plan that allows you to run one usability testing project, and then paid plans are available at $25 per month.
This tool has a global panel of 750,000 participants with picture-in-picture format to watch real reactions and see non-verbal cues. You can combine qualitative insights with quantitative metrics and also benchmark prototypes against existing websites and mobile apps. There’s a pay-as-you-go option that will cost you from £35 per test.
Allows you to prototype and test your new ideas using A/B testing. It’s good at gaining understanding into visitor behaviour, making observations and creating a hypothesis for testing. You can get a complete view of multiple tests which will help you frame deeper insights. The pricing varies on your monthly visitors, but there’s a free trial so you can try before you buy.