In the current digital world, where the users of almost any web page belong to very distinct backgrounds, the necessity to utilize tools to conduct usability tests online is increasing exponentially.
Fortunately for many companies, there are now many tools that can be used to account for this necessity, but, the question is which one is the best?
First, it is important to understand the types of tools that are available and what characteristics and benefits they offer.
Types of tools
- Moderated Tool: With this type of tool, it is possible to observe and maintain a conversation with the user as the test is being conducted, in order to perform a guided navigation.
- Auto-Moderated Tool: In this test, the user follows predefined instructions that are received from the screen as opposed to an actual person.
- Automated Tool: The user receives an objective and must complete it without receiving more information about the intermediate steps from a person or the program. All of these types are valuable for obtaining different types of information about the platform, design, or navigation that is being tested.
Despite this, the most beneficial way to conduct the tests is in a moderated environment because a company can obtain the most valuable information from each session. On the other hand, as you involve more experts or moderators in each process, the total cost grows so it is fundamental to choose the method that is best suited to the needs of the project.
Charateristics of the tools
In order to differentiate the characteristics that result from using these different tools, companies can divide their functionalities into three different parts; guided navigation, analytical results, and specifications.
- Screen Recording
- Voice Recording
- Heat Maps
- User Metrics
- User Comments
- Analysis of each separtate task
- Debugging of code in real time
- Generation of tags by users
- “Call Me Back” Function
- Follow Up Questions
The characteristics that your tool of choice must contain are critical, because it will become the point of view from which the project is viewed.
What options are available?
Currently, the most powerful options on the market are:
- Loop 11: Because this is the most competitive option, it is also the most expensive with a price of $350 per project or $410 per month. This tool provides the ability to analyze every detail, allows for the testing of users in over 40 countries, and requires no programming knowledge.
- Chalkmark: this tool shines because it is very easy to use and is reasonably priced at $109 per month. Although this tool is limited to analyzing heat maps and maps of user clicks, it is perfect for testing different designs, prototypes, or specific functionalities.
- Treejack: this third option is similar to Chalkmark because it is also very easy to use and is priced the same at $109 per month. Although simple, this tool is focused on the analysis of navigation and content trees in a very fast and easy way. It is capable of bringing a lot of value to the content tree and hierarchy of the platforms we design.
- Usertesting: the next tool on the list is Usertesting, which is extremely fast and complete, but because of this is considerably more expensive at $49 per user that is subjected to the test. This is a tool to consider if results are needed in less than 3 hours at any cost.
In summary, each of these tools serves to provide value for many distinct objectives and it is necessary to think about what you want to analyze before you start. What is certain is that if 100% reliability is desired, the options boil down to one thing: Conducting tests moderated by, and in the presence of experts!