There’s so much to usability testing that it’s almost impossible to cover it all. But you should still do everything you can to gather metrics and improve your site whenever possible.
Finding the right tool is half the battle when it comes to usability testing. That’s why I’ve compiled the top 14 tools you can use for crystal-clear usability tests. The more you practice the easier it’ll be to study this type of data and find solutions from it.
At the top of the list is UserTesting and for good reason. This site is massive and they offer basically every testing service under the sun.
You’ll find resources for heatmap tracking, eye tracking, video recordings, moderated sessions, written feedback and a lot more. The UserTesting toolbox seems limitless. It should absolutely cover all the big aspects of usability.
However you may not need everything they offer, so the pricing may not be worthwhile. Check out their plans to see if they’re worth the cost, but if not you can probably find a more specialized tool that does exactly what you need for a bit cheaper.
2. Five Second Test
The idea behind a five second test is simple. You flash an interface in front of someone for five seconds, then gather feedback from their first impression.
With Five Second Test you can run this completely digitally through the Internet from anywhere in the world. You can test corporate homepages, startup websites, landing pages, and pretty much anything else including logos/graphics.
You’ll learn which aspects make the biggest impression and which features the user recalls. An excellent way to get quick feedback and they offer a free plan to boot.
Visual heatmaps are huge and it’s blatantly obvious with the popularity of Hotjar. This analytics & tracking tool is absolutely massive. It is perhaps the best resource for heatmaps and studying real user behaviors.
Once you setup the script on your site you can study conversion funnels, user clicks, and even capture recordings from the screen for individual users.
Hotjar is definitely a tool to try if you’re interested in visual feedback. It does have written user feedback too but it’s not as useful compared to other services.
You may have a high bounce rate on your page but have no idea why. This is where UserFeel can help.
It’s an optimization tool that studies user behaviors while recording their live feedback. This way you can learn which specific areas of the page are most confusing to visitors, or ultimately what frustrates them enough to leave.
It’s a simple service that runs for both mobile & desktop with support for testing users in 40 different languages.
Every designer should learn how to A/B split test. This is the strongest way to study page improvements, alternate layouts, and learn which designs ultimately increase conversions.
With Optimizely you can do all this stuff from one clean dashboard. They support mobile apps & websites and the site is trusted by major brands like the NYTimes.
Through A/B testing you can increase revenue, increase user engagement, and ultimately create a better experience just by testing a few different ideas for layout designs.
6. Visual Website Optimizer
One other alternative tool is Visual Website Optimizer, also called VWO. It’s another popular A/B testing suite with a lot of options.
You can run custom experiments for any number of pages and gather lots of useful metrics. Heatmaps and clickmaps are obviously useful to see which areas draw engagement. But you can also study custom conversion funnels and analytics like average time on page per user/device.
VWO is great on a smaller budget and on a site with less traffic.
Mouseflow offers a cheap way to study visitor behaviors on your screen. It’s a tracking tool that captures mouse clicks, heatmaps, and live videos from active users around the world.
You can also gather direct feedback from users so you can learn which areas of the site are tough for the average person. This lets you zero-in on problem areas which you can fix through split testing.
Perhaps the most useful feature is the form behavior tracking. You can see exactly where visitors drop off during conversions whether they were signing up for an account or checking out with a shopping cart.
Direct user feedback is often useful if you’re looking for confusing areas on your page. Usabilla is the best user feedback resource with options for websites, mobile apps, and emails.
You can learn why users like(or dislike) something and what encourages them to take certain actions. This is naturally valuable on websites but it’s great to have this option for email newsletters too.
I absolutely recommend Usabilla for gathering real user feedback for any interface. It’s lightweight, easy to setup, and pretty specific when it comes to gathering actionable critiques.
For detailed session playbacks that you can run for free check out Inspectlet. This site specializes in user feedback videos and session recordings, and they have an incredible free plan.
It offers 100 recorded sessions per month out of a total 1k pageviews. It’s not a lot, but it’s definitely enough that you can work with that data to make changes to your layout. This might even work well if you’re running A/B tests through another tool, or if you’re about to shift over to a new layout design.
Users don’t always know how to improve your interface. But they can share their thoughts on what’s wrong.
With TryMyUI you can learn how to radically improve your website’s usability just by gathering feedback. This site’s impressive analytics suite is easy to use and it’ll point you towards the right direction to find problem areas in your layout.
Certainly not the most feature-rich app but definitely a quality resource for any designer.
11. Crazy Egg
If you’re looking for HQ heatmaps and visitor retention studies then Crazy Egg is your go-to resource.
You can study how many people scroll down the page, how far they scroll, where(and when) they close the tab and where they’re clicking on the page. Plus you can organize traffic by type so you can study search, social, and referral traffic individually.
Crazy Egg is one of the more detailed heatmap tools on the market. It’s an excellent resource for newbies just getting into usability testing in need of a reliable heatmap solution.
With MouseStats you get a little bit of everything. They cover heatmaps, user video recordings, custom user feedback forms, and detailed analytics for tracking how users behave based on location, geography, device, etc.
Their biggest feature is the video session recording which includes heat maps for clicks. But you can also add custom feedback forms onto your site to gather text-based inputs from users.
Overall an impressive tool, albeit one that’s not widely known amongst usability circles.
The trustworthy folks at Zurb have their own survey & feedback tool called Verify. It’s a direct feedback tool where someone studies a screenshot or main page for your site, then shares what they remember and what they initially thought of the page.
But you can also use Verify to gather more detailed surveys from users on your page for longer. This may be for testing a new design, testing a conversion funnel, or just getting ideas for UX improvements.
One other valuable survey tool is Qualaroo. It’ll help you uncover why visitors behave in certain ways on your website.
This is always the most important part of usability testing. You want to understand which areas on the page are driving people away so that you can fix them.
Qualaroo is easily the most expensive tool in this list. So it probably won’t be of any use to someone outside an agency. But it still deserves a spot here because it has so many great features and it supports high-volume websites(1MM+ pageviews/mo).
Now Get Testing!
With so many tools and unique tests to run it can be tough knowing where to start. I recommend picking some of the tools that offer free versions so you don’t have to spend anything.
But usability testing does not need to be expensive or confusing. And with the right tools in your toolbelt your job will be a whole lot easier.