If you’re thinking of signing up with UserTesting I suggest you read this review. I’m not an affiliate for UserTesting. It’s just my honest opinion of the site. I’ll also offer some tips on getting a 5 star rating.
What is UserTesting
Website owners often wonder what a visitor thinks when they visit their site for the first time and it can be difficult to know unless you actually observe what a visitor is doing.
That’s where UserTesting comes in. UserTesting allows site owners see how visitors interact with their site so they can fix problems or improve the user experience. It also allows you to get paid for visiting a website, completing some tasks, and recording your feedback as you use the site.
It can be fun and satisfying providing feedback on a site and express the typical annoyances you encounter, while getting paid in the process. According to UserTesting, some major companies have used UserTesting including Airbnb, Expedia, Facebook, Intuit and even Walmart.
How does UserTesting Work
When you signup you should use your PayPal email address.
You will then need to download some screen cast software called installusertesting-v2.0.exe. This isn’t malware so don’t worry, nor will it record your face. It’s only so they can record your screen while you’re carrying out the test. Once you’ve completed a user test, it then uploads a screen cast, complete with your audio once you’ve completed the test.
When you start you will get a prep or setup test to makes sure you qualify. It can then take a few days for them to review your test and you will not get paid. Once you get approved you can start user testing sites. If you pass you will get a rating. The higher the rating the higher the likelihood you will get more tests.
The tasks usually take about 20 minutes to complete and during the whole process you provide a running commentary, effectively thinking aloud so the site owner gets a good idea of the user’s experience.
You get $10 every time you provide your feedback if you’re testing the site from a PC or laptop, and $15 if you’re interacting with the site using a mobile device. You should get paid 7 days after taking the test.
What can you Expect from UserTesting
Let’s keep it real. You’re not going to build a sustainable business from this program. In fact it’s unlikely you’ll even make the equivalent of a full time income.
The tests are very sporadic and you can even go for a few weeks without any tests. Plus, I think it has become somewhat over-saturated by users hoping to earn a living from the program, only to discover there just isn’t enough supply. With so many testers it’s hard to remain qualified without getting a few low stars and then getting rejected for future tests.
You can also waste time taking long surveys before the test, only to find you’re not qualified. You can also spend a lot of time looking for tests that you’re qualified for. The amount of tests you receive depends largely on your demographics and your diligence to check for them.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t earn a quick $10 or $15 bucks in a few minutes once a test becomes available and you’re qualified to take it.
The key question is whether you qualify. Some site owners want only users in a key demographic to complete the test. The requirements for the test can be so strict, you’ll be lucky to take a test once a week. If you’re a student or unemployed, well then you may not get any tests! If you are not full-time employed in exactly the industry they are looking for, you will not make any money or there won’t be many tests available.
I’ve checked out the feedback ratings from others and based on my own experience I’ve provided the best and worst thigns about UserTesting below. Please note that while you may have seen low ratings on other sites this may be partly due to the disappointment of not achieving 5 stars.
- Fun & Satisfying – It can be fun providing your opinion and getting paid in the process. It can also be quite satisfying helping to improve the web by exposing problems with a site so the web owner can fix it
- Good Pay – Unlike survey sites where you earn very little for your time spent, at least with User Testing you can earn $10 or $15 bucks within a few minutes once you qualify for a test.
- Not Enough Work – The amount of tests you receive depends largely on your demographics and your diligence to check for them. Even if you obtain good ratings for your assignments you can still have a hard time finding enough work, probably because of too much demand and not enough supply of work from web owners.
- Wasted Time – A lot of time can be spent looking for a tests you qualify for and then requiring you take a survey before you encounter the test, effectively collecting information from you for free, only to then discover you don’t qualify because you’re not from the industry they’re looking for.
- Very high Bar – I think this has a lot to do with over-saturation of the business. With so many testers it’s hard to remain qualified without getting a few low stars and then getting rejected for future tests. Also the requirements for the test can be high. If you’re a student or unemployed it’s unlikely, you’ll get many tests at all.
- Can be Disappointing – Some have complained that UserTesting makes it appear as if there’s work available, only to find there’s little you qualify for once you’ve signed up – a kind of Bait and Switch
- Unfair Rating System – Ratings sometimes seem arbitrary, unfair and can significantly affect your ability to find future work. With clients reviewing the workers, there should really be a second grader, such as User Testing. Also the companies who use the tests to improve their sites often never rate which can make it harder to find new tests when you’re starting out. It’s important to get a 5 Star rating. If you have a rating lower than 5 stars it’s very likely you won’t get any more tests and you won’t be able to make any money.
- Mobile App Problems – Some have complained that the mobile app can be a bit buggy, automatically closing during the middle of a test or not uploading the video. This can be a problem as you cannot restart. However I believe this problem has now been fixed.
What can you Reasonably Expect to Earn?
With User Testing the pay is pretty good at $10 per test with each test lasting around 20 minutes. So if you could complete three tests within an hour, you would earn around $30 for an hour’s work.
This assumes you would have enough work and unfortunately unless you fit a specific demographic, the work can be fairly sporadic and also depend on where you live and what tests are available at the time.
UserTesting Tips and Advice
- Read the Tasks Carefully – Make sure you fulfil all the demands of whatever test you’re doing. This seems obvious but so many people forget to stick to the tasks which appear in the upper right-hand side of the screen. You should still provide a running commentary, particularly when the site is loading or while you’re navigating the site but your main focus should be on completing the tasks.
- Take note of the time – Stick to the time limit on the initial practice test or you can end up with a poor rating.
- Narrate Every Step of the Way – You should narrate every step of the process. So for example if you’re testing a site you might say “I’ve clicked on an image and it’s taken me to a new page”, or “I see I need to be a subscriber to download this”. Take time to verbally explain why you chose your answer. The more you explain what you’re doing and what you’re expecting, the more useful it will be for a customer.
- Speak out Loud – No one can read your mind so provide a running commentary of your thoughts. Also keep asking questions and adding comments to explain what you’re thinking. The more you explain why you do things and what you’re expecting, the more useful your video will be for the customer. Even while a page is loading, have a running commentary of your thoughts but try to keep the comments relevant to the context such as the load time or user experience.
- Good Sound Quality – Be sure to invest in a decent microphone and try to get one that has noise cancelling abilities if there is background noise. Having a good microphone where your voice is clear can go some way on ensuring you obtain a 5 star rating.
- Relax while you’re doing the Tests – It’s best to come across as authentic and not robotic, so don’t feel you can never punctuate your speech with an “um” or “er”. Try not to get anxious and worry too much about impressing the listener. You should try to have some fun and not be a perfectionist.
- Use the Pause Button – While you should try to prepare for everything before you start the test there will be times when you’re interrupted by someone or your phone rings. It’s perfectly acceptable to use the pause button occasionally. You can even pause to collect your thoughts but try not to do this too often and make sure to state that you are pausing to think. Just make sure you restart from where you left off so the transition is seamless.
- Do some Research – Do some research on what testers are expected to do or say during a test so you pass on your practice test and get paid for the tests that follow.
- Keep the website in the background Best to keep the website in the background so when a test becomes available you can select it. If you don’t keep it open chances are you will miss the majority, if not all the tests.
You’re not going to get rich doing this, or even earn a full time income, but it can earn you a bit extra pocket money. Just keep the program in a tab in the background and if you have some free time you can go ahead with the test.
I think sites like UserTesting have become saturated with testers, which is why its become harder to find tests that you qualify for, even if you belong to the right demographics and you have good ratings. Many have complained about the arbitrary nature of the rating system which means that you can be rated low even if you follow the instructions and complete the tests. It’s as if UserRating is looking for an excuse not to pay you.
It would appear as if UserTesting is carryout out free market research in the guise of qualifying questions – asking questions such as your income income, age, what products and services you use only to find you don’t qualify.
Let me know in the comment section your experience of UserRating and whether you think it’s worth signing up.