If you like to surf the web, have opinions on the how easy or hard sites are to use (and are good at articulating these), then you can get paid to test websites. There are a number of platforms that compensate real users for giving feedback on the usability of sites. Here is one:
Name: User Testing
Introduction to User Testing:
User Testing is a website where clients can request feedback on the usability of their sites. The clients specify the type of feedback they want along with the demographic requirements. User Testing then turns around and hires people like you and me to view and critique these sites. The clients receive a video of the tester using their site – they see the tester’s mouse movements, clicks and keystrokes and hear the tester’s observations while navigating their site.
- An easy way to make around $10 (or $15 for mobile tests) in about 20 minutes
- Only your screen and verbal comments are recorded, not your face
- Simple introductory tutorial and ample information in the support center
- Easy application process
- Interesting work as it is never the same
- An avenue to express your opinions about website usability
- Tests are not always available
- Available tests go fast – you have to grab them before someone else does
- You can’t make a living off of it
- You need to be able to keep the children quiet during tests (if there are children around)
- You may not qualify for all available jobs – some clients have very specific requirements
User Testing Overview:
User Testing provides a win-win situation for clients and testers. Clients can choose the aspects of their site they want evaluated in a targeted niche and User Testing uses its pool of testers to provide this. The testers on the other hand get to wait at home or wherever they are, accept a test when they receive it, navigate around the website, express their opinions and observations, and get paid for it.
How do you join User Testing?
Applying to join User Testing as a tester is relatively simple. Provide your e-mail address, confirm it, download and install their screen recorder and record a sample video as a test. If your sample video is approved, you are requested to fill out your demographic profile and you start to receive email notifications when tests are available.
You can join here: http://www.usertesting.com/be-a-user-tester
The sample video test has an introductory portion that explains the basics of the job and how to use the screen recorder. The information is relevant though some portions are explained quite fast – you have to be attentive to catch it all!
When filling out your demographic profile, be aware that you will have to contact User Testing to change profile information relating to gender, birth year, household income and country. So enter these carefully. And supply as much information as possible – the more you provide, the more chances you will have to get testing opportunities.
You have to take a separate test if you want to test mobile sites as well.
Who Is User Testing For?
It is great for college students, stay-at-home parents or retired people who can express themselves well (orally) and have time on their hands to watch for available tests.
But basically it is for anyone:
- over 18
- who has basic computer and internet skills
- who can think out loud, communicating their impressions and observations clearly
- who has time on their hands to watch for available tests
- who prefers contract jobs to employment or just wants a bit of extra money
User Testing is not for people looking to make a steady income testing sites or for those who don’t take the testing seriously.
Payment from User Testing:
You are paid through PayPal 7 days after satisfactorily completing each test.
You don’t get paid for incomplete or unsatisfactory tests, though some testers have reported getting paid for incomplete tests when the fault was with the client’s website or the User Tester website.
User Testing Training & Tools:
You watch a basic training video as part of the sign up process. But once you are in, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the material in the Support Center before you actually accept any tests. There is plenty of information there in the form of articles, questions and answers and a video.
Clients rate your performance on a 5 star scale – the higher your ratings are the more test offers you will get. So getting to know the kind of input clients want before you do your first test is a must. People who mess up on their first test have a hard time getting further opportunities.
This video gives you a good idea of what is expected of a tester:
The main tool provided is the screen recorder which you download during the application process. There are instructions on how to use it in the introductory video.
Support at User Testing:
The site has a support center full of articles and questions and answers. There is also email and chat (for problems during the process of a test) support.
Many people rave about the good support, though some complain that they don’t get the support they need.
Educational Qualifications and Skills Needed:
No particular qualifications are needed, just the ability to:
- Navigate websites
- Verbalize thoughts and observations clearly
- Write short reports/responses with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation
- Your own PC/Mac with microphone
- Fast internet connection
- Your own iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or Android tablet (if you want to do mobile tests)
My Final Opinion:
The main complaint I hear about this job is the lack of testing opportunities. But so many people apply, it is not surprising. It is a great way to make some extra cash in a short amount of time and with little effort. There is no harm in signing up – you won't loose anything! Go ahead, sign up to apply to be a User Tester.
Verdict: It is a legitimate anytime job provided you actually get testing opportunities. If you decide to do mobile tests as well, then it becomes an anywhere job too.
If you have tried User Testing, please share your experiences below and if you have any questions feel free to ask those as well.