This kind of work is generally quite well-paying (around minimum wage) but the main problem is that the workload is very minimal. In anticipation of this, you will find that you need to register with many different user testing companies in order to give yourself enough work.
Which companies allow me to take part?
There are lots of websites that will pay you to test websites and apps. Namely, some of the prime ones include:
These companies are highly recommended and are considered among the best for user testing by many people.
How qualified do I need to be to do this?
Most of these websites make you do a qualification/sample test before they let you sign up and take paid tests.
Having said that, some companies will pay you for your first sample test and some won’t. It just depends on which website you sign up to. The test itself isn’t difficult as long as you stick to the instructions.
Can anyone take part?
Many user testing websites require you to speak English and be over the age of 18. Select companies allow under 18’s to do this as long as they and their parent or guardian fill out a consent form.
Companies are always on the search for a diverse demographic which includes gender, location, income, education level, marital/family status, employment/occupation, interests/hobbies, language etc.
Where can I do this?
This is conventionally done at home however user testing on mobile devices means that the user doesn’t have to be at home when participating.
They can take tests in a retail environment or anywhere else outside. #1 New York Times Bestseller – “Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook” at TonyRobbins.com
Can I try user testing with other devices?
You can register most devices for testing such as smartphones, tablets and laptop/desktop computers. Also, some tests are specifically tailored to certain types of devices so you don’t want to miss out.
Will I need any other special software?
You will have to take note of which operating system you are using for some companies. A lot of websites won’t accept incompatible operating systems like windows vista or earlier. You can download testing software for mobile devices such as mobizen and x-mirage.
What will these tests consist of?
Tasks can range from scanning and reporting for bugs to general usability testing. Simply put, the vast majority tests want you to answer their questions as well as speaking your general thoughts aloud.
You will be doing all of this while at the same browsing the website. This is easier than it sounds so don’t fret. The software records your screen while you speak your thoughts out loud into a microphone.
They want to know what you think of their content, design, navigation and your overall impression. Keep in mind that you aren’t there to judge the products and/or services of the company. They just want you to focus on the website experience and what you thought about it.
You can comment about website speed and load times in between tasks which may also be helpful to the client. Say how easy or hard you found the website to use and be sure to mention what you liked and disliked about the website.
Some tests are writing based instead. These involve typing your analysis out and sometimes even taking screenshots of the subject to be used as evidence.
How long do my tests need to be?
There is usually a test duration time that you will need to cover. This is roughly between 15-30 minutes but it can vary between tests. It’s good to be extra thorough and go over that time in order to give the client more information.
What if my test gets rejected?
This rarely happens but occasionally the client will not reward you because they may not be happy with your submitted work.
Apart from disputes and re-submissions, there is not a lot you can do about this other than move on and try to improve for your next recording. Rejections are usually a result of incomplete/incorrect tests or a poor standard of work.
Can I dispute a rejection?
If you believe that you have been treated unfairly and want to dispute the result of a test or bug submission then you can do this by contacting the site you did the work for. Try not to overuse this feature as you can be punished if you abuse it.
You will sometimes be given one more chance to revise your failed test if it isn’t up to their standards and then resubmit.
Will I need to provide screenshots?
It is sometimes resourceful to provide additional evidence to substantiate your claims. When putting together screenshots it is a good idea to edit them in order to show exactly what you’re trying to show.
This can be done fairly easily using Microsoft Paint (or any other free photo editing software) where it allows you to crop, annotate, add arrows and so on.
Will I be able to do every test?
Occasionally you will be screened out for not being a good fit for certain tests. Test criteria will factor in personal information, specific interests, operating system, devices and so on to see if they require your participation. You might receive a short pre-screener survey moreover in order to judge this.
What equipment will I need?
You may need to make a small investment of buying a microphone if you don’t already have one. You can buy a standalone microphone. One the other hand, you could purchase one attached to a headset which might be easier for positioning. eToro – See, Follow and Copy the Best Traders!!
Then again, some companies require you to have a webcam too for some tests but this is quite rare. If you are looking for a decent headset for user testing then check out my review of the Cewaal Pro Headset.
What kind of apps will I be testing?
It can be any app available to download conversely app testing sites even let you test out fun things like mobile games from time to time.
What is a bug?
A bug is when you perform an action on a website but then nothing actually happens or something incorrect happens that wasn’t supposed to. Bugs are mainly caused by errors in code.
If you find one kind of bug then it is likely that there will be more of that type on the site applying to the same problem which should help you out.
Bugs can be specific to certain factors and variables. For example, using different devices and changing thing like window size or landscape/portrait format.
Bugs can be classified as things like broken links, pictures not loading, spelling or grammar mistakes, audio/video problems, other general malfunctions etc. Bugs can fluctuate in severity from being a very minor problem to causing the whole site to crash.
How do I know if a bug is really a bug?
It’s important to know the difference between a bug and a usability problem whilst testing. A usability problem is something you subjectively dislike that you believe could be improved but at the same time it isn’t really broken in any way.
A bug is a serious barrier that stops you from accomplishing an action on the site, not allowing you to progress and it is obviously something that is faulty. You need to know the distinction when you attempt a specifically user or bug based test.
How do I report a bug?
When reporting a bug you will clearly need to provide context and further detail such as where it is on the site, severity and how often it happens.
Does this have to be done online?
Yes, most of the time it does although some organisations allow user tests to be done via Skype, live and even meeting the client face-to-face sometimes.
Will I need to answer any written questions?
There maybe mini surveys attached to the beginning and/or end of some tests. These are really just to summarize what you have just experienced. Just a few survey questions to wrap things up.
How much storage space/memory do I need?
The software download can take up a significant amount of storage space (especially if you are signing up to multiple user testing sites) so make sure that you have enough memory/storage space on all your devices.
Do I need new technology?
It’s not mandatory but it can be advantageous to own new technology as clients will want to know how new devices respond to tests. Whereas older devices might not get much of a look in for much longer as time passes after release.
Is there a ratings system?
Some sites will choose to rate you as a tester. Ratings are primarily based on your performance on previous tests. If you have a positive rating then you will likely be invited to more tests. It can also be quite fun to compete with other participants to earn your place on the leader board.
Payment systems differ but with some sites your earnings will improve as your performance does. In a lot of ways this is fair as your pay will live up to the quality of your work.
How does the payment work?
It will normally take a few business days for them to review completed tests, let you know if you have failed or succeeded and then pay you if you did well. They have a lot of tests to check all things considered, so be patient.
You will get paid roughly £8 for testing a website and giving your feedback. Tests usually take 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The pay and test length can vary between companies so you might want to double-check individual websites for more details.
Are there any other streams of income?
Occasionally, for some companies you will be able to earn a bonus payment for every additional bugs found during your test. The payment should be higher depending on the impact the bug has on usability.
The odd user testing site will sometimes have a referral program where you can earn a bonus for inviting your friends, specific demographics of people or just people in general to join. You can earn additional payment from certain sites for reviewing other participant’s user tests and bug reports.
Who requires this sort of service?
So many big name brands choose user testing, too many to even list. It would probably be easier to mention the companies that don’t take part in this if we’re being honest. That’s how popular and valuable it is.
Why is there a demand for this?
Brands need feedback for all sorts of reasons. Part of this is to increase advertising revenue, eCommerce turnover, page views, site visitors, customer service and member registration. It is also great for discovering mistakes and usability errors.
Testing sites/apps allows the client to save time, money and effort which is why it is so vital. With these results they can launch new content and reduce expenses. They can implement changes in order to improve their website.
Web-masters want their site to be competitive with rivals who may offer a similar niche. They might be curious how well their site works in other countries around the world if it works at all.
They can analyse your recording and see how different tester demographics react to their site. This will tell them what works and what doesn’t across a range of people. The feedback gives companies a grasp on what the users are feeling and thinking.
Why am I so special?
You are important because you let the site owner see their own website through your eyes and the eyes of other typical internet users. Sometimes the only way to improve or fix a problem with a website is to get somebody else’s opinion on it.
All website owners want their sites to be easy to use which is why they need people like you to find that out. If it’s easy to use then it is practical and the site visitor can efficiently complete whatever action or goal they dropped by for.
What happens to my feedback?
It will be sent to the client for analysis. Your opinions will never be shared with third parties so your privacy is safe.
Any other advice?
Yes, of course. We have put together a special companion article entitled 25 Killer User Testing Tips To Significantly Boost Your Earnings & Increase Your Chances Of Success Today. This should give you more wisdom and helpful tricks for user testing.
As I have mentioned before, on the face of it user testing seems like a great gig you can do easily from home, that pays better that some entry-level jobs. What do you make of it? Please don’t forget to share this with your friends and comment below. Thanks for reading!