The Best 5 Tools for Website Usability Testing

This post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links – at no extra cost for you. Please read my disclaimer here.

Product testing is a vital stage of your business, and you wouldn't want to skip that. In physical products, the traditional method would be to take the product to the market and give out free samples with a number of follow-up questions to gauge user experience.

But how does that translate in the digital world?

Opening and running a website can be an expensive affair. However, with skill, expertise, and a few hacks, you can increase the returns on your investments and minimize frustrations on the part of your users. Since businesses have transitioned into the online space, website usability testing is your best option for a product test.

Testing the usability of a website with online tools will not only minimize friction with your users, but will prevent you from wasting unnecessary resources on a complete product. It allows you to test the prototype of the website and make the necessary changes, since what you might think is ideal for the end-user may be absurd or unnecessary in the end.

Moreover, it gives you a quantitative analysis of the targeted audience percentage that would use your product. If done right, website usability testing may as well offer qualitative review, thus giving you more insights.

Let's begin with a basic introduction of what website usability entails and its end goal.

What is website usability testing

Designing a website is one thing; getting the website to perform as expected and match up with the user experience is another thing altogether. Usability allows you to align your perceptions of the ideal with the reality in the user's mind. It works by compiling a representative group of the desired users and taking them through specific tasks to understand their perceptions of functionality, ease, and user-friendliness.

Best Tools for Website Usability Testing

Analyzing your website performance in a glance

One may also view website usability from the angle of real-time metrics as you measure real users and watch their movements through your site.

Website usability encompasses all significant functions of your product, including the visuals heading to the color scheme, the operability, navigation, and interactions. The interview involves monitoring the user's facial expressions as well as body movements as you ask the questions. The aim is not to help users navigate your website but to observe their behavior as they take the driver's seat.

In other words, you get to fit in your user's shoes literally. 

The purpose and approach of website usability testing

Generally, website owners need to conduct these tests earlier on – before officially launching the website. It minimizes the cost of maintenance down the road and allows you to maintain engagement with users.

The purpose and approach of website usability testing

Track and monitor the progress of your website and make the necessary changes.

Website usability tends to uncover issues with the website that may deter present and potential clients from continual usage of your site. 

However, for a tech-based website, the expected target audience may be more tech-savvy; hence simplicity may deter certain users. They are looking for a challenge after all.

In addition to uncovering issues with the site, website usability allows the owners and designers to explore new ways and thought patterns. For example, a slight color change may make a whole lot of difference. Similarly, entrepreneurs make the mistake of over-including an entire backlog of features that may confuse the users. While this ploy may appear ambitious and creative, getting rid of certain features and a few design tweaks may smooth the user experience, making your website all the more worthwhile. 

A simple approach to a good website usability test

What is the purpose of the website or app? Answering this allows you to come up with the main tasks performed in the testing forum. Hence, website usability should be task-based.

Next, give room to the participants to perform the tasks, offering as minimal distractions as possible. You don't want to guide your user, but to allow them to drive themselves. A good website usability tool will enable you not only to ask relevant questions but also to monitor their reactions and response. Gather their feedback during and after the test.

While most website usability tools allow you to recruit users, some enable you to observe the behavior of real users. You may also compare different versions of website designs and make the best decision and appropriate changes.

While conducting the session, ask users questions like: 

  • What’s running through your mind as you view feature A?
  • If you’d like to search for function Y, where would you go to look for it?
  • Why have you performed task T in that manner?

Don't take their word for it but also note down their reactions. Instead of answering their questions directly about where to find what or how to perform specific tasks, play dumb by incorporating the Echo, Boomerang, and Columbo technique.

Finally, at the end of the session, gather feedback on the general feel of the website usability while performing different tasks. Where issues arose, find out what the users think should have occurred. Be objective and open to receive feedback. Understand why they didn't use certain features and why they were attracted to others. Instead of inquiring whether they would be open to using the product (that puts them in a hot spot, and most people won't be honest), twist the question and ask who they know would enjoy using it. Understand why.

With that basic rundown of the primary website usability guidelines, now let's dive into the best tools in the market. 

Website usability tools you can’t ignore

We started by laying the problem on the table. Website usability tools are the solutions to help you gauge the user experience of your website. Since it may not be practical or convenient to conduct the website test on the field and get quantitative feedback, website usability tools allow you to quickly and efficiently achieve all these goals at minimal costs.

There are plenty of tools in the market, and some offer free features. However, we have compiled a list of the five best-rated, tried-and-tested usability tools we have come by so far. Since your product can never reach perfection and need no improvements, these tools allow you to monitor and make the necessary amendments to your website constantly. 

Website usability tools you can’t ignore

As a result, they place you at par or even ahead of your competitors.

1. UX Cam

If you’re looking for a user analytics tool for an app you want to launch on mobile devices, UX Cam may be your best choice. But, unfortunately, it may not come in handy if you are planning to launch a website.

However, it offers critical insights into the performance of real users over an extended duration (weeks). Doing so, you get to appreciate the 'why' behind each behavior and pattern. Moreover, screen and event replay present screen flow analytics, enabling you to understand the users' navigation patterns better.

Other features include heatmap analytics that pinpoints the bottlenecks affecting in-app experience and causing user agitation. Another feature – the issue analytics – monitors the bugs, crashes, and user interface freezes. You are better-positioned to offer new releases with fixed bugs and fewer crash reports.

The downside to UX Cam is that you are not in a position to interview the users and get a roadmap of their thought patterns since it's all live. Nevertheless, with sufficient data, you may just be able to understand user behavior from real-world data.

Platforms: Android, iOS, Xamarin, Cordova, Flutter, React Native

Pricing: Free version, premium version for small businesses and startups, and an enterprise version for huge organizations and scaling purposes.

2. Crazy Egg

Before you or your users make any purchase, you want assurance that the product is trustworthy and reliable and will deliver. Crazy Egg is one of those reliable sites used by large organizations such as Yahoo!, Uber Technologies, Dell, and Etsy.

Their heatmaps may be the most uncommon feature that offers detailed user behavior insights on each page. For instance, suppose you operate a casino. The heatmap feature on Crazy Egg enables you to assess each click, most visited page, where users stopped viewing the page and lost interest, among other insights. Easy method if you aim at being ranked among the top online casinos. Aside from the Confetti snapshots feature, you will also get to record and follow up on users as though you were standing right by their side. Recording enables you to gather insights on the period of website use by individual users, most visited areas, as well as the most ignored pages or buttons.

As a bonus tip, Crazy Egg allows A/B testing to check whether your implementation plan worked in increasing engagement.

Platforms: Website, iOS, and Android

Pricing: Basic Plan starting at $24/month to a Pro Plan at $249/month. Huge organizations can have their customized plan by requesting an Enterprise Plan.

3. UserZoom

It’s impossible to talk about website usability testing and analytical tools without mentioning UserZoom. It's one of the highest-ranked online assessment tools, and for good reasons. For starters, UserZoom prioritizes flexibility. Instead of offering a single approach to analyzing user behavior, it offers multiple versions of usability testing. You may opt to conduct your website usability audit remotely or in the lab, and you may as well choose to moderate the session or leave it as it is.

You have the option to conduct user interviews or let users do their things as you record and watch later.

Other features such as surveys, tree testing, usability benchmarking, and card testing may be incentive enough, but UserZoom takes it a step further. Their team of research experts on user experience will delicately help you reach as high as a 537% return on investment. Now, who would turn such an offer down?

Platforms: Latest Linux versions, macOS latest versions, Microsoft Windows 8 and 10, Android 8+, iOS 13+, and iPadOS 13+

Pricing: Experience Plan going for $500/month, Team Plan at $1000/month, Corporate and Plus Plans that allow users to customize their plan and analytical reports.

4. Optimal Workshop

At times, the most underrated or unpopular thing tends to drive the highest value. This notion applies to Optimal Workshop. It may not be as popular as the rest, but our team found it best to deliver real-time information architecture (IA) testing reports of your website. In other words, it helps you assist your users in finding the exact information they came looking for on your site.

Moreover, Optimal Workshop has other handy simplified features such as tree testing through the Treejack feature, card sorting through the OptimalSort tool, surveys, and feedback through the Questions and Reframer options. If you hope to conduct in-depth qualitative research and a thorough website usability checklist, Optimal Workshop will offer all that, plus much more. No wonder top companies such as Uber and IBM rely on insights gained from Optimal Workshop.

Platforms: Complete accessibility of features on mobile devices with varying degrees of responsiveness. Access all features on desktop devices with supported browsers flawlessly.

Pricing: Access free plans with no time limits and experience basic functionality. The paid Starter Plan is set at $99 and the Pro Plan at $166/month. Also, get access to the Team Plan for a maximum of three users at $153/month.

5. UserPeek

From time to time, you may want to know what technological issues affect the usability of a website. While some aforementioned tools may be useful in giving you this feedback, UserPeek (formerly called Usability Tools) offers customers a diversified pool of UX suite tools to make technological assessments. In addition to web testing, UserPeek allows you to capture keystrokes and mouse moves, form tester, navigation, click testing, and much more.

UserPeek offers additional exclusive features to drive conversion rates for clients. These solutions include an advanced speech-to-text AI transcription tool, robust tagging and annotations tool, real user video feedback, and targeted tester audience. Additionally, these solutions enable you to test your marketing ideas through deep-dive professional user research and know-how to make your product compatible with user demands.

Nevertheless, at the date of writing this article, the site at UserPeek is still undergoing software developments and has not been fully released to the public.

Pricing: The Flex Plan charges you $55 per test, while enrolling for the Pro Plan costs you $39/test or $195/month.

What usability tools work for you?

6. UXtweak

If you are seeking a versatile UX research tool that has great usability testing features, UXtweak is a great option. It offers usability testing for websites and applications, prototypes, and offers tools for analyzing user behavior and information architecture (IA) research. 

With UXtweak, you can run both moderated and unmoderated usability tests, including native mobile testing for IOS and Android. If you need to recruit participants, UXtweak offers a User Panel.

But unlike other recruitment panels, they ensure the validity of each and every participant's response, by manually auditing them. And if you already have a database of participants, you can import it directly to UXtweak or share a study link.

For more in-depth usability testing, UXtweak can help you collect screen recordings of participants completing tasks. Alongside voice and face recordings this can help you better understand participants' immediate feelings and responses. 

Another great benefit of this platform includes in-depth analysis research data analysis, as well as task customization. UXtweak provides a complete solution for UX research, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in the research process. 

Platforms: Website, iOS, and Android

Pricing: Access free plan where you can try all the tools with no limits. The paid plans start at only $59 per month and if you are a business owner they offer a plan for $165/month. UXtweak also offers specifically tailored solutions that meet your needs.

Conclusion

We cannot underestimate the importance of website usability testing for startups, medium, and large companies. We live in a data-driven world, and as some say it, data is king. However, knowing how to manage that data is priceless. 

Which data analysis tools do you use for your teams and why?

About the author 

Thomas Glare

Thomas Glare is a passionate freelance content writer, always striving to inspire others and bring insight into the endless possibilities of the modern times we are currently living. He also spent a lot of time collaborating with some prestigious online casinos, thus being No. 1 expert in matters of gambling. He continues to improve his knowledge and is the co-designer of a “Echtgeld Spielautomaten”, one of the most popular games from Novomatics.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}