Outsourced Usability Testing

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet by John Jantsch who had interviewed Bryan Eisenberg of FutureNow .  The post was called Maybe the Best $100 You Ever Spent , and it was about a new service called UserTesting.com.

Here’s how it works:

  • You sign up for user testing, specifying the demographic profile of your target audience and how many user testers you want (one user costs $19, five users cost $95).
  • Users record their screen and voice as they use your website, speaking their thoughts as they browse.
  • You watch and listen to them use your site. Each user’s session – mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes, and spoken comments – is saved as a Flash video for you to watch.
  • You read their review.
  • When I read that post I thought, "Well this will either put me out of business, cause me to cut my rates by 90%, or make my life 900% easier!"

    After running one of my other company’s pages through the UserTesting.com guantlet, I’m happy to report that the latter appears to be the most true.  Why?  Because anyone can watch a user use a website, but *interpreting* usability tests and making recommendations is the secret sauce to being a kick ass information architect / interaction workflow designer, which of course, I am.

    UserTesting.com made the hardest part — finding virgin users to test out UI pages or concepts — about a billion times easier.  I intend to contract UserTesting.com on every project I do from here on out.

    Here’s a video of my reaction to watching a user visit the Jigsaw Magnesium landing page that has had upwards of a 19.8% conversion rate, and is a case study in the Eisenberg’s new book, Always Be Testing oh by the way. 😉

    UserTesting.com Review 1 from editweapon on Vimeo .

    In this video, I (randomly) discuss several aspects of interpreting usability tests.  This would be a subject for a great follow-up post in the future based on the things I’ve learned to look for over the years.

    Watching users is FASCINATING to me, but probably boring as **** to 99% of the population out there.  Plus, it’s 17 minutes long and I cut off the last 12 minutes. So I don’t blame you for falling asleep and drooling on your keyboard, but there’s no F’in way I’m paying for a replacement if the thing breaks!

    Go try out UserTesting.com for yourself.

    UPDATE: In case you’re interested, here’s the tasks I gave my usuability testers…

    Goal: You want to purchase a magnesium supplement.
    – What is your first impression of the landing page?
    – Does the copy make you feel concerned about your own potential for magnesium deficiency? If yes, can you see a way to check your own risk for magnesium deficiency?
    – Does this formula seem effective?
    – What would you say makes it better than other magnesium supplements? – Where else might you look to verify the claims of this product?
    – Go through the process of buying the product (but do NOT click the final "SUBMIT ORDER" button. In the comments field on the last page, please write "This is a test order per Patrick Sullivan. Do not process.")
    – Even though you were asked to walk through the shopping cart, was there enough information for you to make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase it?
    – If this wasn’t a test, would you have made a purchase? Why or why not?

    Demographics :
    Gender: Female
    Age: 56 or older
    Yearly Household Income: Doesn’t Matter
    Expertise with computers and the Web: Beginner
    Other Demographics: Doesn’t Matter

    17 thoughts on “Outsourced Usability Testing”

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    3. それにもかかわらず、あなた持っている必要があります のカップルいくつかの非常にスペルチェックするのをあなたのポスト。 彼らはスペルの問題でいっぱいであり、私がすること、それにもかかわらず|しかし現実を知らせるために非常に厄介発見それ再び|もう一度|そうであっても}私は確かに再び{戻ってきます。

    4. これは本当にあるいくつかの快適な材料それはついにするために私にいくつかの時間がかかりました。|発見この初期スポットを|。非常に最初| UNCOVER}この ページをしかし、それは時間の価値があった私は、このポストはヤフーに埋め込まれていない{最初のましたウェブ サイト たくさんのを持つ微細なものを、それがで内はそのような検索します。ちなみに私がい |お気に入りの私のリストにパブリケーションこのインターネットウェブを追加しよう。

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