Usability testing — also known as “user testing” — is a popular methodology for user experience researchers. It’s a critical part of the design process since it helps designers and/or developers understand how users interact with their design or product. In turn, it improves the user experience of the product.
Since it helps to identify and fix design problems, it helps users better use your product or service, which helps increase conversions too. However, it’s a long process that includes multiple tasks. That is why we need usability testing tools, which help you test the design and get relevant feedback from your users.
That said, let me introduce you to the best usability testing tools in the market. Though they have their pros and cons, they solve a common problem: they help you understand and speak the language of the users of your app or website.
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Hotjar is one of the popular behavior analytics and usability testing services. It primarily provides four sub-products: Heatmaps, Visitor Recordings, Surveys, and Incoming Feedback. These four products combinedly help you to perform usability testing on your app or website, providing useful behavior analytics.
Heatmaps help to visualize user behavior while interacting with your design. It can track and show clicks, moves, and scrolls. Visitor Recordings help you see the exact behavior of users by replaying recordings. Surveys help you get written feedback while Incoming Feedback helps get visual feedback from real users.
- Supports desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
- Powerful targeting via attributes and triggers.
- Features unlimited responses for each feature.
- Free plan to get you started and $39/month for Plus.
- No support for remote usability testing, like other tools.
Crazy Egg is a popular usability testing and website optimization platform that boasts features similar to Hotjar. Unlike the other, it offers five sub-products: Snapshots, Heatmaps, Recordings, A/B Testing, and Crazy Egg Editor.
Crazy Egg helps you understand your users’ journey on your product, thanks to Snapshots and Recordings. You get visual reports and session recordings that help you understand a user’s interaction with your product. What’s unique is its Crazy Egg Editor that lets you directly change the basic design of your website.
- Add any number of team members for free.
- Allows tracking ad campaign traffic, unlike many.
- Its basic plan starts at just $24/month billed annually.
- Offers 30-day trials on all its plans, more than some tools.
- No free plan to get you started with Crazy Egg, unlike Hotjar.
Loop11 is another popular usability testing or user testing platform. It’s different from some other tools on this list (including Hotjar). The reason being you can employ test users to provide feedback on your design using Loop11 rather than simply getting feedback from your site visitors, as supported by Hotjar.
Among its many features, Online Usability Testing and A/B Usability Testing help at analyzing the usability of your website along with multiple designs. Prototype Testing helps to test prototypes and wireframes, unlike some tools on this list. Benchmarking is its unique feature, letting you analyze usability over time.
- Features heatmaps, clickstream analysis, and more.
- Supports desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
- Avails 14-day trial uses for all its plans, like others.
- A bit pricey compared to Hotjar and Crazy Egg.
- Starts with $69/month for the Rapid Insights plan.
Lookback is another handsome usability testing service. It primarily offers two features: LiveShare and SelfTest. LiveShare is a moderated testing service, which lets you interview users from around the world. It allows you to collaborate with clients and team members in the review, check tests, and make notes.
LiveShare also works in-person, i.e., you can use it to record tests of designers or in-house testers. On the contrary, SelfTest is an unmoderated testing service that allows testers to flexibly test your design and/or app or website.
- Supports desktop and mobile devices, like most tools.
- Invite in-house or third-party testers using just a link.
- Offers 14-day trials on all its plans, unlike Crazy Egg.
- Starts with $99/month annually, i.e., pricier than others.
Qualaroo integrates directly with your website to provide behavioral analytics about your users, like Hotjar. It allows you to get insights from real users by nudging them with customized sets of questions. You can brand and design the questions, add logic for the next questions, and direct to mockups or beta sites.
What’s interesting is, Qualaroo offers many types of insights analysis, including sentiment analysis and word cloud to help you understand the test results. Also, it offers integrations for taking the analysis to the next level, say Salesforce or Tableau, or merge it with other analyses or data, say Hubspot or Optimizely.
- Features powerful targeting per identity and geography.
- Offers integrations for popular products and services.
- Free plan to get you started, unlike Loop11 and Lookback.
- Its Essentials plan starts with just $25/month, unlike many.
- Flexible billing per tracked pageview can be costly for large sites.
- No support for analytics or integrations in the free plan, sadly.
TryMyUI is a remote usability testing service that just works! It helps you get valuable insights from real testers per your research requirements. However, the option to bring in-team testers is only available in its Enterprise plan.
TryMyUI brings targeted volunteer testers to test your app or website. You only need to create a design test, select the ideal testers, and TryMyUI will get your mobile app or website tested by them. Then, you can check the results in video form, watching the testers engage with your app or website in the remote.
- Offers 14-day trials on all its plans, unlike Crazy Egg.
- Records tester engagements to view later or repeatedly as required.
- No free plan and its Personal plan starts with $99/month.
- Personal plan, i.e., its first plan is very limited, unlike some others.
- No support for interviewing testers in real-time, unlike some others.
- No support for unlimited team members, unlike some on this list.
Userlytics is another full-featured usability testing service, like Loop11. I found Userlytics is significantly powerful compared to a few tools on this list. Along with Usability Testing and Prototype Testing, it offers Live Conversations, Multichannel User Experience, System Usability Scale, and more features.
You can create and run a variety of usability tests with Userlytics — online (remote) as well as in-person or live-interview tests. It allows you to customize questions, include branching logic to them, and review the tests as videos.
- Supports usability testing on desktop and mobile devices.
- Allows live-conversation or moderated sessions, unlike TryMyUI.
- Offers advanced video features like annotations and transcriptions.
- Starts with $49 per participant, unlike others’ flat-priced plans.
- Flexible pricing per participant, making it costlier than many.
Userbrain is another remote usability testing platform packed with features. You can test anything with a link, create questions for testers, and get their feedback as videos with audio commentary. You can also annotate videos, tag them for organizing them, and quickly share them with your team using a link.
What is unique about Userbrain is its recurring tests feature, which allows you to schedule repeat tests. I find it helpful to automate usability tests on a monthly or fortnightly basis and get regular feedback on your prototype or website.
- Avails a clean and intuitive user interface.
- Starts with flexible pricing of $29 per user test.
- Missing live, face-to-face test sessions, unlike Userlytics.
- Asks for $49/month for adding in-team testers, which comes free in some tools on this list.
UserZoom is an enterprise-level user experience research and testing platform. It boasts of a 537% return on your investment using UserZoom, which is backed by Forrester Research. It’s feature-packed: you can test prototypes and websites, record remote testers engagements, perform market research, and more.
What’s interesting is that UserZoom allows you to add lots of additional features in your plan per your requirements. The list includes advanced capabilities, professional services, additional integrations, and many more add-ons.
- Features a database of 120 million testers around the world.
- Provides an advanced dashboard with analytics and reports.
- No pricing information is available, i.e., you must get a quote.
- No trial plans or at least its information is not available to us.
- Not suited for individuals or small businesses, unlike others.
UserTesting is one of the popular names among usability testing tools. It mostly features three products: Insight Core, Product Insight, and Marketing Insight. These three products combinedly help with most types of research including development, market, and user experience, unlike most other tools here.
Some of its interesting features include a highlights reel of the interesting video clips, online/offline customer journeys, and schedule 1:1 interviews with testers. Surprisingly, it allows testing almost anything — from concept and prototype to content and website usability to marketing campaign and message, unlike many.
- Supports testing on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
- Allows chatting with testers while they’re engaging with your site.
- Has powerful analytics features to discover insights from the tests.
- No pricing information is available, so you should get a quote.
- A trial plan is available but asks for too much information, unlike many.
I know these are varied tools with varied sets of features, hence I tried listing out the base features along with their pros and cons to help you get started with usability testing per your budget and requirements.