Yes, I have tested quite a few remote usability testing tools in my years on the job. There are definitely a few, let’s say two or three, that I would always consider using. Funny thing though, even though there are only a small handful of remote user testing service vendors, all of them having their own uniqueness.
Userlytics, based out of San Francisco and Madrid, is a company that I had heard of before, but one which I had not personally tested… and guess what… I have just shortlisted Userlytics to my ‘preferred tools’ list!
Remote Usability Testing, the concept
For those of you who are not sure by what I mean with the term Remote Usability Testing, it is the term I use in which the process of conducting moderated usability tests in labs (user testing) is transformed to unmoderated usability tests (remote user testing). The process entails that users are tested via a predefined set of tasks/goals that they must perform on their own computer (desktop, laptop, mobile device…) while a screen and audio recording tool runs in the back ground.
Still not sure, check out these examples of remote user tests that I conducted:
Userlytics in a nutshell…
Why type, when this quick video can give you the low-down on Userlytics:
Userlytics’ Realistic Pricing & Plans
Userlytics has been around for a while now. Their approach, not only in the actual functionality of performing remote user testing, is a little different from other vendors. Userlytics’ most attractive selling point is that it offers a great and seriously useful ‘Free’ account option.
There has been a lot of talk about Freemium vs. Premium on many other blogs, but when it comes to opening a relatively niche service to the public, you want them to be able test drive it properly before becoming a Premium user. Let’s face it, we do the same with other products in the non-digital world and furthermore, in order to get the internal budget holder to open up his/her wallet… you need to be able to show value-for-money.
A quick note on Userlytics’ Freemium model… you can sign up for a free monthly subscription to the service. The free account will give you 7 credits a month that you can use towards tests. There is a small catch… testing using your own panel will cost you 1 credit/participant. If you want to test using Userlytics’ panel it will cost you 8 credits/participant. Definitely not a deal breaker, but just so you know.
Looking to create your own panel and save some costs… we have an article on that:
What makes Userlytics ‘Personal’?
Ok, busted… Userlytics is no more personal than other vendors. However, the big difference is one that I personally find interesting, especially if you are interested in psychology. By using the webcam on the participant’s computer, Userlytics doesn’t only allow you to view the screen of the participant, but also the participant him-/herself. This makes the experience for me, the user experience researcher, more ‘Personal’.
Why do I find this of interest? Well, as you can see in the screenshot above, being able to see the user perform your tasks will allow you to see his facial/bodily reactions. Stress, joy, frustration, enthusiasm, whatever emotion it may be, it can often be derived from watching a human being (I know I make some hand gestures to the screen when something is working correclty). Userlytics plays into this quite well simply by recording users during their test… just like a moderated lab usability test.
Tasks & Segmentation
Userlytics has some good functionality for segmenting your participants… or should I say selecting your participants. If you decide to use Userlytics panel, you have several options that will allow you to choose the best candidates. One option that I liked was ‘Employment’. I personally feel that employment can play a significant role on a user’s online behavior. Less shopping, and more job-hunting to name one, more attention to sale items, than high quality products to name another… unless they’ve retired after selling a bucket load of stocks of course…
Maybe they should also put in an option for ‘Retired‘ (maybe even ‘Student’)
Here is a quick run down of the rest of the options:
- Residence (USA/UK)
- Gender, Age (18-34, 35+)
- Family Status
- Language (English/Spanish)
Show Me Some Insights
I will, I will, trust me. This blog post is getting a little long though, so in a follow-up post I will share with you my insights of my Userlytics remote user test of Refer.ly. I recruited 5 participants to check out the new social affiliate platform Refer.ly. I am really looking forward to their experiences!
Need help with remote user testing? Let me help you. Check out my service’s page to learn more.
Personal Note: The products that I recommend on this site are products that I have personally used and continue to use in my daily UX activities. I believe that bloggers, professionals, call us what you want, have the moral obligation to be honest and forthright when dealing with like-minded professionals seeking more insights and information on how to improve their skills.