If you’re in the market for a remote user testing solution, you’ve probably come across a few of the following names, such as UserTesting, UserZoom, Playbook UX, UserBrain, UserFeel, LookBack, TryMata, Optimal Workshop, and DScout. All of these platforms have their advantages and disadvantages, so we’ve created a detailed comparison of them, including Userlytics, to help guide your decision.
What to consider when shopping for a Usertesting tool?
There are a number of dimensions and tradeoffs to consider:
- Affordabilityand Scalability– A key consideration: Is the pricing model seat/account based, or usage based? If it is the former, you can quickly rack up expenses as you start to scale usage across the organization. Whereas with the latter, you (typically) have no cost for additional seats/accounts, whether user, admin or super admin. One thing to watch out for: Those based on seats/accounts typically promise “unlimited” tests/studies/participant sessions within each account. However, when it comes down to it, these types of pricing plans are not at all “unlimited” usage. And since these types of plans require you to pay per each seat/account, you can end up paying a bundle! If you read the fine print of pricing plans that include access to a panel of participants, they often contain the following:
- Restrict to no “concurrent testing” (Meaning you have to wait for receive all your study results on any one project before launching a new project)
- Restrict the nº of participants per study
- Restrict the nº of screener questions
- Restrict the storage capacity
- Impose requirements in terms of viewing study results
- Top rated – Check out G2, Capterra, Google Play and the App Store for ratings, including for areas that may be important for you such as customer service, product roadmap direction, participant panel quality, and more.
- All-in-one solution – This is a key tradeoff. Do you want a “Best in Class” solution that only leverages one or two methodologies (e.g.: Card Sorting & Tree Testing and no panel in the case of OptimalSort), or you go for a holistic “all in one” solution, with excellent usability and a large proprietary panel?
- Ease of use – Funnily enough, some of the usability and UX testing platforms out there could use a lot of usability testing on themselves! That said, some of them have been improving their user friendliness in the last 12 months. Make sure you read up on reviews that address each platform’s ease of use when making your selection.
- No installation required – This is crucial if you are looking for any of the following: 1) B2B testing (i.e.: access participants behind the firewall), 2) a target B2C Persona with an extremely easy and seamless participant onboarding, and/or 3) maximizing the use of your own participants. Even better if no plugin, extension or similar is required, and onboarding is 100% in-browser!
- Flexible, mixed method testing options – This goes back to the previously mentioned point of whether you are looking for specialized UX research methods or a wide variety of holistic choices: do you need a mix of quantitative, qualitative, usability, information architecture, moderated, and unmoderated methodologies?
- Professional peer support – The old adage of bad data input equals bad data output applies. If the study script and/or analysis is not done by experts, or you simply do not always have the time to do so on your own, having an (optional) team of senior UX Research consultants on hand is a great benefit to look for.
- Worldwide panel of testers – If you are looking to conduct international testing (most companies will need to sooner or later), having a global panel, expertise, and translated UIs along with multilingual transcriptions is a great asset to leverage.
- Democratized User Research – Very much in vogue right now; if you want to extend the benefits of the user research platform across multiple departments and users in your organization, is the platform you choose set up for that? Does it allow, for example, for unlimited seats and accounts at no extra cost?
Following is a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of the top user testing tools on the market:
According to G2, UserTesting is a leader in video-based human insight, enabling organizations to understand what it’s like to be their customer. UserTesting is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and has more than 2,500 customers.
Pros of UserTesting
- Big industry name – UserTesting is one of, if not the largest user testing platform on the market. UserTesting boasts many well-known, large clients because of this.
- Quick results – A large panel of participants allows clients to get results back very quickly.
Cons of UserTesting
- Its systems and processes encourage the appearance of Professional Testers – UserTestings’ platform makes it easy for participants to “cheat” on tests (e.g.: instant notification of available tests regardless of profile, no IP verification, easy to cheat screeners, no QA verification of results…) and thus may diminish the quality of UX insights.
- Clunky experience – According to G2 comments, the program, while full of many different UX tools and capabilities, can run slow, and the menu options are somewhat hard to find. It takes a few times to remember all the settings and how to adjust them (G2).
- Per seat/account pricing – Can get extremely expensive with teams larger than a 1 person team
“Powerful synthesis, but an overall clunky experience”
UserZoom streamlines the research process so you can produce high-quality research, fast, consistently, and at scale—at every stage in the product development lifecycle. Userzoom allows clients to gain confidence in digital experience decision-making by demonstrating the impact of UX on business goals, and creating better digital experiences for customers.
Pros of UserZoom
- Responsive tech support team – G2 users report quick, efficient responses from the company’s tech support team.
- Bring your own testers for free – All monthly plans allow you to use your own participants for your study at no extra cost.
Cons of UserZoom
- Small panel – UserZoom’s panel of participants is quite small, forcing them to rely on 3rd party platforms not set up for UX type studies, meaning clients are not always able to target niche, or international users.
- Limited number of participants and studies – Clients are capped on the number of participants they can invite to a study and the number of studies they are able to launch at a given time.
- Per seat/account pricing – Can get extremely expensive if you are larger than a 1 person team.
Userlytics is a full featured state of the art user experience research platform with a global participant panel of more than 1.6 million respondents.
Unlike many other UX testing tools, Userlytics promises an “all-in-one” experience – that means that clients can achieve all of their recruitment, testing, and analysis needs in one place, simplifying the process of democratizing user research.
Since 2009, Userlytics has been helping enterprises and agencies improve the user and customer experience of their websites, apps and prototypes.
With a scalable pricing model and a diverse worldwide panel, Userlytics allows brands to run both moderated and unmoderated usability studies with as many or as few participants as they choose.
In addition to its testing services, Userlytics offers a variety of optional professional services including senior UX Consultants in both Europe, Canada and the U.S. who can help clients achieve actionable UX insights.
Pros of Userlytics
- Unlimited access at no additional cost – Collaborate with your entire team for no extra fees. Userlytics has no restrictions on the number of team members or seats you can include. Whether 1 teammate, or 200 colleagues, feel the impact of truly democratized research.
- Professional peer support – Userlytics’ Professional Services team enriches your testing experience, offering complete support from test planning, moderation of live conversations, and insight analysis with detailed recommendations – all dedicated to helping clients maximize their approach to UX research.
“The level of engagement and expertise delivered by Userlytics team we received, helped us to successfully run a series of moderated tests in a very tight and time-sensitive schedule.”
Cons of Userlytics
- Longer wait times for niche profiles – For very specific participant profiles, the wait time to results may be slightly longer to allow our recruitment team time to secure the perfect study participants.
- Rapidly evolving platform – The product is rapidly evolving with new system updates, tools and capabilities, which means the client interface may appear different from time to time.
PlaybookUX enables businesses to make data-driven decisions from relevant data sources. According to G2, its software platform allows clients to access current or prospective customers to provide feedback on business concepts, product features, and marketing direction.
Pros of Playbook UX
- Affordable tool – Compared to some of the more complete and full featured UX testing tools on the market.
- Well designed platform – Users report that Playbook UX has a well designed user interface that is easy to navigate.
“It is a very well-designed UI speaking. The way I can share with my team the initial results of their hypothesis.”
Cons of Playbook UX
- Fake profiles – According to G2, there are many fake profiles within Playbook UX’s recruitment panel. This can damage the integrity of your study results. This is probably because of a small panel
- Only offers webcam recording for moderated sessions – Unlike full featured user testing platforms, Playbook UX only offers webcam recording during moderated sessions, leaving a gap for important user insights that can only be captured via video.
“The integrity of the recruitment panel has also come into question as we’ve been running into an unusually high number of fake profiles.”
UserBrain allows clients to watch videos of real people interacting with their website – hear what users think, see what they do and start building better products for happier customers. Userbrain allows clients to spot user issues they had never even thought of by providing an “outside-your-four-walls” experience.
Pros of UserBrain
- Quick setup – According to a G2 user, UserBrain’s interface allows for a quick and simple study setup.
- Good customer service – UserBrain’s small team allows for consistent client interaction and assistance.
Cons of UserBrain
- Limited international panel – UserBrain’s international panel only has participants based in the U.S., Canada, UK, Austria and South Africa.
- No ISO 27001 Certification – UserBrain does not have their ISO 27001 certification, the top internationally recognized specification for an Information Security Management System, or SOC Type II. This could leave their clients and users and associated data vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.
UserFeel allows clients to discover visitor issues and doubts via its panel of high quality testers.
Pros of UserFeel
- No subscription or monthly fees – UserFeel states that it requires no subscription or monthly fees to get unlimited access to all features, with no hidden upgrade fees.
- Ready made templates – Userfeel has ready-to-use templates with common tasks, questions and ratings that help clients create moderated or unmoderated studies quickly.
Cons of UserFeel
- Clunky participant onboarding – Reviewers have commented that instead of diving right into a study, participants are required to download a desktop app before they can begin a study, which leads to participant drop-off.
- No dedicated account manager – UserFeel clients are not assigned a dedicated account manager, resulting in a less personalized and immediate customer support.
Lookback is a next-generation UX research platform for mobile and desktop testing.
Pros of LookBack
- Dedicated account manager – Like Userlytics, LookBack provides each of its clients with a dedicated account manager.
- Invisible observers – Like Userlytics, LookBack allows invisible observers during moderated sessions, allowing the whole team to privately chime in to the Moderator during moderated sessions, suggest questions, and make observations.
Cons of LookBack
- No scheduling feature – LookBack does not offer an integrated scheduling feature for moderated testing, which may make scheduling moderated sessions more tedious for clients.
- No QA review of panel results – LookBack does not provide quality assurance reviews of study session results, which may result in low-quality results and thus, faulty insights.
TryMata (Formerly TryMyUi)
TryMata (formerly TryMyUI) is a remote usability testing platform that offers affordable, cross-platform services for testing and improving the user experience. People in a client’s target audience provide narrated video feedback and written survey responses. Clients can watch videos of real people using their website or app to see where (and why) users get frustrated, lost, or confused.
Pros of TryMata
- Small team – The small team at TryMata provides a more intimate, personalized experience for clients.
- Free trial offering – TryMata offers clients a two-week free trial complete with five user tests to see if the platform is a good fit.
Cons of TryMata
- Limited screener questions – TryMata places a cap at 16 screener questions. While this may be more than enough for some clients, clients with a very niche target audience may require more screener questions.
- No native tree testing and card sorting tools – In order to utilize tree testing and card sorting functionalities during a study, users need to exit the testing environment, which could make the testing experience more clunky.
As a trusted and global leader in tools for information architecture, Optimal Workshop helps organizations build more intuitive and successful digital experiences backed by user research. The company’s UX functionalities, multiple testing methods, and fast and easy participant recruitment give clients the confidence to deliver robust and actionable insights throughout the entire digital lifecycle to their team.
Pros of Optimal Workshop
- Diverse set of UX tests – Optimal Workshop offers a variety of different testing types to meet a variety of client testing needs.
- Good for wireframe testing – UX designers report that Optimal Workshop is a good tool for iterative wireframe testing.
Cons of Optimal Workshop
- No custom recruitment – Optimal Workshop does not offer custom participant recruitment, which makes it difficult for clients with niche customer bases to target the right participants.
- No professional services team – Optimal Workshop’s client guidance and support does not extend to a full-fledged team of UX researchers, ready to provide guidance through the creation of study scripts, expert advice, and analysis and reporting.
Dscout is a qualitative remote research platform for unlocking in-context user insights. Hundreds of the world’s most innovative companies trust our suite of remote research tools to collect “in-the-moment” data that reveals their users and transforms their products and experiences.
Pros of DScout
- Automatic video transcriptions – Like Userlytics, DScout’s platform has an automated video transcriptions tool, allowing for quicker review of study sessions and videos.
- Good pool of U.S. participants – DScout clients report that their panel of U.S. participants is high quality.
Cons of DScout
- Mostly U.S. panel participants – DScount’s panel of participants is located mostly in the U.S., making it challenging to conduct international US studies.
- Reportedly high costs – According to G2 users, DScout’s costs are quite high for smaller teams.
“The cost is astronomical, too high for a small agency. It’s also not an all-inclusive price, so you get charged for things like labor hours (at $225/hr), which you are required to use in order to run your surveys.”
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