Website Usability Testing Services

Posted on September 13, 2009

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It’s easy to get someone lost, especially if you are giving directions to someplace you visit every day. Often, that location is so embedded in your mind that you rarely think about how to get there. This scenario is the exact challenge of usability online — you are often too familiar with your own website to see it for the first or second time, as most of your visitors do. It is time for you do a little eavesdropping on your site visitors through usability testing.

As little as two years ago, usability testing was prohibitively expensive and overly time consuming for most businesses. That is no longer the case. Testing has become so affordable that it is nearly criminal to not do at least some usability work on your site.

·         UserTesting.com
UserTesting.com has built a large panel of users who will record their on-screen actions and voice as they use your website. For each user’s test session, you get a video and their written summary. It costs $29 and is typically ready in one hour.

·         Silverback
Silverback is an application for Mac computers that also records a user’s screen and voice as they browse a website. The interface is extremely simple and meant specifically for moderated usability testing. The program carries a one-time fee of $49.95.

·         Ethnio + UserVue
Ethnio enables companies to recruit their own customers for testing. Add the Ethnio JavaScript to a Web page and it automatically launches a periodic pop-up offering a reward for participating in a usability study. Ethnio costs $400 for 200 recruits and a UserVue subscription is $149 per month.

·         5 Second Test
5 Second Test allows website owners to upload images that will be reviewed by random Internet users. Users view the image for just five seconds then click on the screen to indicate areas of the images that caught their attention.  This is a free service. 5 Second Test is useful for understanding users’ first impressions of your site. You’ll need to review others’ sites in exchange for your review.

·         FeedbackArmy
Quickly and inexpensively get workers at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to provide written answers to questions about what they think about your site. It costs $10 for 10 reviews.  You could go to Mechanical Turk (mturk.com) directly and save a little money but FeedbackArmy is easier and still very inexpensive. FeedbackArmy has two similar competitors, EasyUsability.com and 3rdPartyFeedback.com.

·         Feng-GUI.com
Feng-GUI uses software to analyze uploaded images and provide image owners with heat maps, symmetry analysis, and focal center/attention information. Price ranges from free for a standard heat map on an uploaded image, to $1,000 for 700 images, by paying  you receive premium analysis.

·         ClickTale, UserFly
Both ClickTale and UserFly offer silent movies of your users’ interactions with your website. You place JavaScript on your Web pages that causes users’ mouse movements, clicks and keystrokes to be recorded. ClickTale is free for up to 400 page views and then pricing gradually increases to $790 per month for 240,000 page views. UserFly ranges from free for up to 10 page views per month and gradually increases to $200 for 10,000 page views.

Source: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/pages/turn-right-on-usability-lane.aspx

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