In recent years, website and software designers have begun to rely on freelance workers to do a lot of their usability testing, and several companies have risen up to help them fill that need. These companies generally hire ordinary people with no particular training, and the work is fairly easy.
Some of the companies in this category are primarily focused on bug testing, but most are more interested in getting feedback from regular users on the quality of various interface designs. Many usability testing jobs require that you have a webcam, and most require a microphone. The work generally involves going through a website or trying out a piece of software while providing real time feedback about your experience. Afterward you may have to answer a questionnaire.
One issue with this kind of work is that it’s definitely not full time, at least not in most cases. Some of the services do pay quite well in terms of the level of compensation in comparison to the time you spend on a given job, but since most tests only take about 20 minutes to perform, that still doesn’t add up to a whole lot. One good strategy is to sign up with several different services at once to maximize your testing opportunities. It isn’t unusual for companies provide anywhere from four to eight jobs in a given month, and that can add up if you are working for enough of them.
Below is a list of some of the better known services offering this kind of work, along with a little bit of information about each.
User Testing – Much like TryMyUI, this company uses software to record the actions of your mouse cursor on your computer screen while also recording your voice through a microphone. They pay 10 dollars per website test, but they also offer tests for mobile devices, and will pay up to 15 dollars for those. Pay is via Paypal.
Analasia – This is a company that requires a webcam and a microphone. They send you to a website, and then watch you via webcam while you follow their instructions and vocally describe your experience. The pay is 10 dollars per test, and most jobs can be completed in 10 or 15 minutes. They process payments through Paypal, and send you an email when a new test is available.
UTest – This company is primarily involved in beta and alpha testing new software. You’ll be looking for bugs and reporting them. The pay is potentially quite good compared to other jobs in this category—some people claim to make well over 1000 dollars a month—but you’ll need some degree of technical savvy if you want to get into that range. They rank their testers based on quality of performance, and the higher ranked people get better pay and better job opportunities.
MyCrowd – Another software testing company focused almost exclusively on searching for bugs. Most jobs only pay if you manage to find a bug that hasn’t already been found by another user, and this practice introduces a competitive element where workers are racing to see who can find the bugs first. Pay varies significantly from job to job.
TryMyUI – This company monitors your computer screen via screencast software to see what you are doing with your mouse. Meanwhile, you follow their instructions, and describe your experience aloud into a microphone or headset. Afterward you have to answer a questionnaire. To get hired you’ll have to do a free sample usability session, and each test goes through an approval process before they make your money available. Payments are processed through Paypal.
Enroll – This company is known for giving very short tests, some of which only take a few seconds. The pay ranges anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars. Most of the tests involve answering simple usability questions or choosing your preference between different design options. Monthly payments are sent out via Paypal.
Userlytics – A site that requires you to use a webcam and microphone. The tasks you’ll be required to perform vary a lot, including everything from simply browsing a website with no particular goal in mind, to making comparisons between multiple sites. During each tests, you’re expected to talk very freely and describe everything about the experience you’re having with as little shyness as possible. Pay is via Paypal, and is generally 10 dollars per test, but some of the more difficult tests pay better.
What Users Do – A company based out of the UK. They record your screen as you browse sites, and like most other sites, they expect you to provide a vocal description of your experience. Pay is 8 dollars a test via Paypal, and you are required to do a free test as an application.
You Eye – Another company where you will need a webcam to participate. They also record your screen, and you have to describe your testing experience vocally through. The pay, according to the entrance page, is now 25 dollars a test, but their FAQ still says 12 dollars. Either way, that’s higher than the norm for this kind of work. Payments are processed via Paypal.