Most people agree that good usability is a crucial factor of success for web sites. However many business owners and managers do not conduct usability testing of their Internet projects possibly because of the perception that it costs a lot and they just have no budget for it. Until recently it could be true, but nowadays, thanks to the emergence of crowd-sourcing models, prices have come down dramatically. There are a couple great affordable options that can help you to conduct usability testing for your next web project.
Feedback Army – www.feedbackarmy.com
Here you can test your web site for as less as $15 (USD). The system is quite simple:
- You create an assignment (request feedback in site’s terms): provide a link to your web site, some background information and list of questions/task that ask users to perform;
- Testers (real humans, 70% are from USA) visit your site, perform tasks/answer questions and send you feedback in text form;
- After some time (from several hrs to couple days) you get your reviews.
You may order any number of reviews from 10 for $15 to 50 for $55.
Conclusion: simple, affordable and straight forward way to get your website tested by real users. There are no sophisticated techniques such as eye tracking or video recording of test process, but for many projects that is good enough service.
Usabilla – www.usabilla.com
Usabilla requires you to bring your own testers and it provides the platform that they can use to evaluate your project. You upload a mock-up or provide a reference to a live website and then create a set of questions, for example, “What is the most prominent element on the page?”. To answer your questions, a tester clicks to the page element they consider to be the most relevant. As a result of test you get your page’s screenshot colored in special way that helps you to find out what users think about your website. Usabilla provides a free trial test for one page and up to 50 users, paid plans range from USD $49 to $950 annually and depend on the number of pages to test and participants per test.
Conclusion: a good tool if you have a pool of testers and prefer a visual way of a data presentation.
Alex Levashov runs Altima Interactive, Melbourne based digital agency that specialises in web strategy consulting and premium custom web sites design and development. He is also writing in his business blog about online business, consumer behaviour and web site creation.