GuidesUser experience (UX)Top usability testing tools in 2024

Top usability testing tools in 2024

Last updated

14 May 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

It's hard to overstate how vital product testing is.

Developing, manufacturing, distributing, and advertising new products takes time and money. But if these products don't work as your prospective customers expect, you’ve wasted time and money. 

It can be challenging to perform thorough product testing when you have other projects and priorities. But testing can mean the difference between a game-changing success and a failed product that costs you time, money, and customers.

Let’s see why usability testing is your best friend during new product development

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What is usability testing?

A critical part of product testing is usability testing. 

In usability testing, product developers introduce a prototype to potential end users. They observe how those users use the product under controlled conditions. 

Usability testing is ideal for many types of products, from tools to software applications. 

The process helps product developers understand:

  • How intuitive the product is to understand and use

  • How long it takes users to complete specific tasks with the product

  • How the participants feel before, during, and after use

  • What changes could improve the product

With this information, product developers can make critical changes before manufacturing a product at scale. 

For example, they may redesign the product if there's a significant mismatch between intended use and user expectations. They may even scrap the planned product entirely in certain circumstances. 

While completely writing a product off is less common, it can save the company considerable time and money in the long run.

What is a usability testing tool?

Software applications known as usability testing tools can streamline the product testing process. These applications help you study end-user behavior, performance, and satisfaction as they use your product. 

These tools can help you efficiently conduct the usability tests that best fit your product and needs.

Usability tests can be qualitative, where you gather non-numeric data expressed. For example, you may wish to gather descriptions of how people feel while using your product. 

You may conduct quantitative usability tests, which involve gathering numeric data. If you want to determine the average time it takes to complete a task using your product, conduct quantitative tests. 

Many usability tests gather both data types, although qualitative is still the main component. Quantitative data helps to color and shape it.

Usability tests may be moderated or unmoderated. Moderated refers to the presence of a facilitator during the test who may offer instructions, clarification, or lead guided discussions, depending on the nature of the tests. 

Not all tests require the presence of a moderator. For example, you may set up a usability testing tool to examine the time it takes for a user to navigate to a specific page on a website.

Generally, if the instructions are clear and the usability testing tools are easy to use and understand, this test type would not require human facilitation.

Usability tests can be virtual or in person. You can draw from a larger group of participants when conducting a virtual usability test. 

However, when conducting guided discussions, you may find it difficult to elicit the level of participant engagement among virtual participants as you would in person. 

Additionally, you can't capture as much feedback, especially in terms of body language, virtually as you can in person.

When conducting a usability test in person, you typically draw participants from a smaller geographic area. Depending on the product, you may not need a software-based usability testing tool. 

However, incorporating a usability testing tool into your process could make sense if you need complex testing across multiple features and products. 

What makes a good usability testing tool?

Before diving into some of the best usability testing tools, it's important to understand what makes a good one. 

The top usability testing tools are versatile, allowing you to conduct many quantitative and qualitative tests. They're also easy to use, with intuitive controls that allow you and your team to share results, communicate, and collaborate smoothly. 

Great usability testing tools are compatible with popular design and prototyping applications, helping you rapidly and seamlessly set up tests. 

They also provide many data analysis and visualization tools to evaluate your data easily.

Some of the best platforms even have built-in panels, so finding product test participants becomes easier. 

Affordability also helps distinguish great tools from good ones. Developing your product is expensive enough; usability testing tools should stay within your budget. 

Some tools operate off a freemium model, allowing you to test many features without risk.

The top twelve usability tests on the market

With dozens of usability testing tools on the market, these twelve stand out as a cut above the rest. If you're looking for a great tool, start your search with one of these options. 

Listed in alphabetical order, here are twelve of the top usability testing tools on the market:

  1. dscout

  2. Lookback

  3. Loop11

  4. Maze

  5. Optimal Workshop

  6. UsabilityHub

  7. UserFeel

  8. Userlytics

  9. UserTesting

  10. UserZoom

  11. UXArmy

  12. UXTweak

dscout

Originally focused on diary studies, dscout has expanded its range to include moderated and quick usability tests. The platform is still best at diary studies, helping you get feedback on mobile apps and desktop websites. 

Unlike other tools, its videoconferencing option is part of the platform rather than a third-party option like Zoom or Teams. 

Using dscout, you can transcribe moderated tests, edit recordings, and recruit participants straightforwardly.

Pricing is unavailable online. However, to try the platform, dscout allows you to perform a single test to determine if it’s a good fit. It also offers subscription-based packages.

Lookback

You'll find Lookback excellent if you need an intuitive way to capture and analyze videos of users utilizing your prototype. 

With Lookback, you can observe participants using your product without distracting them. You can also effortlessly add notes at different points of your video.

The platform is easy to use for moderated or unmoderated tests and offers excellent analytical tools to evaluate your data. 

You can use Lookback’s video editing tools to capture the highlights from your session and share them with the rest of your team.

The platform starts with a 14-day free trial. If you stick with Lookback, you'll be in one of the various paid plans. They start at $25 a month for the freelance plan to more enterprise-level plans starting at $344 a month.

Loop11

Australian-based company Loop11 offers the flexibility to conduct moderated and unmoderated usability tests. Its options range from:

  • A/B tests

  • Benchmarking

  • Information architecture testing

  • Mobile and tablet usability tests

  • Moderated and unmoderated tests

  • True intent studies

  • Search engine findability

  • AI Insights

  • Prototype testing

You can easily create tests that capture qualitative and quantitative data. To help you analyze it, Loop11 users can record audio, video, and screen usage from test participants. 

There's even an option to create a virtual observation room where you and your team can watch your users unobtrusively.

While Loop11 doesn't offer an in-house panel from which you can recruit, it helps you recruit through three market research firms. 

It’s a bit more expensive than most options, with plans starting at $179 per year.

Maze

Maze is an excellent option for users looking to run a variety of quantitative usability tests, including:

  • Concept and idea validation

  • Wireframe and usability testing

  • Content and copy testing

  • Feedback and satisfaction

  • Live website testing and feedback

It's compatible with multiple prototyping and design tools, like Adobe XD and Figma, although it can be a bit buggy. 

While you can't record your tests, Maze captures a wealth of user behavior analytics you can use. 

A free version helps you get your feet wet with the Maze platform. In addition to the free plan, a professional plan starts at $75 a month, and Maze also offers an enterprise version.

Optimal Workshop

With Optimal Workshop, you can choose a range of usability tools for information architecture (IA) testing. It's one of the best IA testing platforms, with the ability to perform card sorting, first-click testing, and tree testing. 

Because of its IA focus, the company has honed in on its usability. Optimal Workshop is easy to use, and you can quickly set up its tests.

It offers a free option that lets you explore the platform’s tools. However, to really use Optimal Workshop, you'll need to opt for a paid plan, which starts at $99 per user.

UsabilityHub

Well-known for its wide variety of testing abilities, these are just some of the options UsabilityHub offers:

  • Design surveys

  • First-click tests

  • Five-second tests

  • Preference tests

  • Prototype tests

It also offers companies the option to recruit testers from an in-house selection of more than 170,000 testers and 530,000 panel participants. 

UsabilityHub gets high marks for how user-friendly it is to design, distribute, and analyze tests. It also now integrates with the prototyping tool Figma. And UsabilityHub offers multiple data visualization tools, allowing you to hone in on key improvement areas.

UsabilityHub offers you the option to run paid tests that are under two minutes. That doesn’t include the $1 you need to pay for credits for test participants. Anything longer with more features requires a paid plan, which starts at $79 per month in addition to the credits.

UserFeel

UserFeel is an excellent option, especially if your product will service international markets. It offers testing options in 40 languages, compatible across multiple devices.

The company allows you to record videos of participants performing your tests. It has a panel of over 90,000 potential users to draw from if you're looking for potential testers.

UserFeel works on a credit-based system, with credits priced at $59 each. One credit gets you a 20-minute unmoderated test with UserFeel panel testers or a 60-minute one with your own. 

With most other competitors offering subscriptions, UserFeel offers pay-as-you-go pricing.

Userlytics

Userlytics allows product teams to conduct moderated and unmoderated tests and collect the quantitative and qualitative data they need. 

With Userlytics, you can test websites, mobile apps, and non-digital prototypes, like VR experiences with Oculus-based prototypes. 

You can record your results, including picture-in-picture options, and receive a wealth of data about your participants' usage. 

Userlytics testing offerings include:

  • A/B optimization studies

  • Card sorting

  • Moderated and unmoderated user tests

  • Multi-channel tetsing

  • Surveys and questionnaires

  • Tree tests

  • Virtual focus groups

The platform offers a free trial but runs slightly higher than most, starting at $499 annually.

UserTesting

UserTesting's platform offers companies fast results, detailed insights, and robust panel recruiting tools. 

If you're looking for unmoderated or moderated usability tests, card sorting, or tree tests, UserTesting is a great selection. 

It offers plenty of documentation and templates, making it very easy to start. Highlight reels, data visualization tools, and transcription capabilities are other benefits.

UserTesting doesn't publicize its pricing online. For that information, you'll need to call its sales team. Apparently, it offers a flexible pricing model and a trial, so you can see if UserTesting meets your needs.

UserZoom

One of the most comprehensive platforms available, UserZoom specializes in providing companies with all the remote usability testing options they need. 

The company recently acquired well-known testing tools EnjoyHQ and Validately, offering even more data analysis and validation capabilities. 

With UserZoom, you're able to conduct:

  • Card tests

  • Click tests

  • Live intercepts

  • Moderated and unmoderated tests

  • Surveys

  • Tree tests

You can also: 

  • Easily recruit B2C or B2B participants

  • Transcribe your moderated tests in English, German, or Spanish

  • Use data visualization tools to evaluate your results

  • Build highlight reels and more

Like UserTesting, UserZoom does not disclose its pricing on its website. However, the pricing page does note an available demo, a Quick Start plan for small teams, and an Enterprise plan for larger teams and heavy usage.

UXArmy

With UXArmy, you can conduct moderated and unmoderated usability tests. You can also get feedback on your design from its UX consulting services option. 

UXArmy allows you to engage participants in card sorting, moderated and unmoderated tests, participatory design, and tree tests if you want to conduct research. 

The platform is notable for having a large panel of potential participants, with many concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region.

The platform is fairly easy to use, but the pricing is more complex. 

Unlike other platforms offering a suite of tests for a flat rate, UXArmy's website lists monthly pricing for each test with the ability to roll over unused tests for three more months. 

If you need to conduct multiple tests, you'll want to crunch some numbers before using this platform. But if you do opt for UXArmy, you'll find a well-designed testing platform that should deliver the feedback you need.

UXTweak

If you're a sole proprietor or small business, you'll love UXTweak, a platform that makes it easy for individuals and small teams to conduct usability tests.

It’s equally simple for larger businesses to get the feedback they need, with UXTweak offering a broad range of testing options like:

  • Card sorting

  • First-click tests

  • Five-second tests

  • Preference tests

  • Surveys

  • Tree tests

  • Unmoderated prototype testing and website testing

  • Website recording

The platform is pretty easy to use, but it offers a paid UX consulting option to help with your testing needs if you're struggling or strapped for time. It also offers a starter plan for free that lets you use the full range of testing options.

However, the free plan limits the number of participants. Paid plans start at $80 annually. You can bring testers, but you'll pay per participant if you opt for UXTweak’s prescreened panelists.

FAQs

What are usability tools?

Usability tools are applications that help companies evaluate how users interact with a product or service. Companies usually use these tools when they have a prototype they’ve not yet mass-produced. 

Usability testing enables companies to: 

  • Predict the likelihood that the product or service will be well-received

  • Determine the best approaches for marketing it

  • Make improvements to its design or features that may improve its reception post-launch

What are the most popular usability testing methods?

Product developers and testers use multiple usability testing methods depending on the data they’re trying to collect. Common testing methods include card sorting, session recording, phone interviews, and preference testing.

What is the most useful usability testing method?

The most practical usability testing method depends on the data you want to collect. 

For example, imagine you're trying to understand how users naturally understand and use your product. Providing the product and videotaping their use (session recording) would be helpful. 

Alternatively, if you wanted to evaluate how to design the information architecture of a site to make sense to consumers, card sorting would be especially helpful.

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