Usability testing tools

Happy coworkers looking at computer monitor

Identifying exactly what you need from a usability testing tool can be a challenge—especially if you’ve never used one before. We find the easiest way to pinpoint what you need is to look beyond a slick interface and features, and define a scenario (or two) that resonates with your situation. By looking at what you already have (or don’t), it’ll be much easier to determine what you’ll need to move forward. For any kind of scenario, here’s how you should address them. 

Scenario one: “We haven’t designed anything yet or we have an existing design, but we’re thinking of redesigning.”

Address this by: 

  • Figuring out what users really need and want by observing them in context 
  • Asking target users about their behaviors, preferences, attitudes, and opinions
  • Evaluating what your competitors are doing and where the opportunities are

Scenario two: “We’re in the design phase, but we haven’t launched anything yet.” 

Address this by: 

  • Gathering data for designing key user flows, navigation, and structure
  • Putting designs in front of users and getting feedback

Scenario three: “We just launched something brand new, or we have an existing design and want to know how it resonates with users.” 

Address this by: 

  • Putting designs in front of users and getting feedback
  • Getting ideas for A/B studies to understand why one version converted better than another
  • Getting a pulse on your current experience, to measure against it as you iterate and improve, or benchmark your new design against your previous design

How should I evaluate a usability testing tool? 

No usability testing tool is built the same. As you assess the options, consider the following components and factor in your organization’s needs and priorities: 

1. Study participants 

  • How many participants can I test with? 
  • How are participants chosen? Are they vetted in any way? 

2. Dashboard organization 

  • If we have several teams using this solution, is there a way to organize our work? 
  • Can we download the results to store in another place if we want?

3. Study templates 

  • Will it be possible to create and store a set of research templates that other people in our organization can use? 
  • What happens if we start setting up a study but realize we’re not ready to run it yet—do we lose our work?

4. Turnaround time 

  • How quickly can we expect to get results? 
  • What are your service level agreements for studies?

5. Device options

  • What types of devices are we going to be able to test? 
  • Which platforms do you currently support?

6. Seat licenses 

  • What is the cost per user or admin and is there a limit to how many seats we can have on the platform? 
  • Is there admin functionality?

7. Study types 

  • Is it possible to run a longitudinal study with the same set of participants over a longer period of time? 
  • Do you partner with any other companies? If so, what are the benefits to your customers? How do they work together?

8. Results and reports 

  • What are the exact deliverables we can expect with this solution? 
  • Do you offer additional analysis and executive summaries I can easily share with others?

9. Expert resources

  • What’s the background of your key employees? 
  • Would it be possible to have your team do all of the work for us? How much will that cost? 
  • What are your customer support hours, and how do we get help when we’re in a crunch?

What to look for in a usability testing tool 

With any usability testing tool, you’ll want to ensure you have the ability to: 

1. Target your customers 

The UserTesting platform offers two options to pick from. The Contributor Network is made up of real people around the world. Each contributor has opted-in, qualified, and been properly vetted to provide their perspectives on your brand and products. With our demographic filters and the ability to customize screener questions, you’ll have all you need to narrow down your search for the right participants. 

Have a specific audience in mind? You can also choose from the UserTesting Custom Network, Invite Network, or Community Network to recruit on your own. 

2. Ask your customers 

With UserTesting, you can create a test plan to ask any question or request people to perform tasks—anything from UI, UX design, holistic CX, and more. If you need inspiration on what to ask your users, browse the template gallery to use as your guide. 

We also have diverse test capabilities for almost any kind of priority or need, whether you need insights through live interviews, usability testing, card sorting, tree testing, and more. 

3. Watch your customers’ experience

Customer experience narratives (CxNs) give you a first-hand view of your customers’ experience through video. Watch their experience, hear the inflection in their voice, and observe their body language. 

4. Learn from your customers 

Build customer empathy and intuition quickly with visualizations, transcripts, metrics, and analysis. Learn from digital and real-world interactions.

5. Share your insights 

Share insights easily across the organization. Without having to leave the UserTesting platform, you’ll be able to auto-generate analytics and transcriptions and create highlight reels to back up your ideas, which you can download, export, or share in your favorite tools like Slack, JIRA, and Trello.


Want to learn more?

Explore UX best practices, expert advice, user research templates, and more.