user-testing-usability-testingAt PB Web Development we do usability testing of our websites with candidates coming into our office to perform various tasks on a website. The test candidates would go through the list of tasks that we ask them to perform while we sit there with a notepad and video recorder monitoring exactly what the user is doing and thinking.

This is quite a costly process and also time consuming considering you need to recruit the test users, pay for their time as well as conducting and scheduling the sessions to capture the test data.

Well, we've recently started using the services of UserTesting.com for a cheaper and faster alternative to the laborious traditional methods of conducting usability testing on websites.

The concept isn't new but where UserTesting.com stands out is the quality of the test candidates and their feedback that is given while doing the tests.

The major downside to doing the test remotely and without a consultants in person with the test candidate is that there is no feedback, reasons or clarification for some tasks that may or may not be explained properly in the test case scenarios.

We tried it with a few basic scenarios and overall the feedback and the results we were quite happy with. Setting up the scenarios and test cases took less than 10 minutes and we had test data back to us within the hour at a cost of just over $120. The most time consuming part of the process is going through the feedback and recorded user sessions but the feedback review system is fantastic. It allows for video annotations, reviewing of the tasks that are assigned to the test users as well as being able to read over the user feedback.

The overall interface and management of the user testing feedback is also very well organised and designed. Obviously they did their own user testing on their own systems.

For a cost effective way of collating a lot of user test data I highly recommend giving UserTesting a go. For a fraction of the cost of in-person usability testing it is worth a try.