Information Gathering: A Roundup of UX Applications

The number of applications available for User Experience professionals is ever-expanding much of this growth happening over the last year! As a consequence, experts are increasingly turning to novel tools in order to collect data and generate reports regards their websites. While some UX designers suggest that local testing is the best way to gather data, we decided to round up these up-and-coming applications and see just what makes them tick.

Although every person and situation is different, the list below is comprised of the applications that we think deserve your attention first. In any case, you should analyze the tools available to you and your team in order to determine with how extensive it is, how much time you have to put into it, and if it has the features that you need.

Oh, and just a little foreplay for the end of the article, be sure to read on to find out about some pretty exciting discounts and freebies from some of these wonderful apps!

Reviewed applications

ClickTale Back to top

I’m a sucker for quantitative analysis. ClickTale is a killer application with so many useful functions that it can be overwhelming without taking it a step at a time. ClickTale collects its data via users actually using your website, recording the user as (s)he interacts. You’re able to analyze their visits on a per-session basis, or as a whole, with various tools.

Our friends over at Designers’ Couch used it on their website in December, and were able to get us a large amount of data to with which to work. They’re a busy bunch. Unfortunately, the biggest problem that Damian Madray (CEO) had with the application was the amount of time required to get full use of it. Damian recommends that usability experts who have a good amount of time will get a great deal of information from using ClickTale.

What I found nice about the application is the ability to tag different elements in your page for different functions. For example, if you had a call-to-action button, you could have ClickTale tag all user visits that followed that button in the project dashboard.

Alt Desc

Shown above, we can see ClickTale’s heatmaps in action using it’s newest (and coolest) tool – Mouse Movement.

There are other indispensable tools that ClickTale has that I found very useful. Across all of the recordings compiled, you can generate Heatmaps based on Mouse Movements (new), Mouse Clicks, and Scrolling, too. ClickTale allows designer to review automatically generated reports based on factors such as pages, trends, and demographics, as well as form analytics (to find out where we lose our conversions).

Alt Desc

Another very useful tool is the Conversion Report for Form Analytics that shows you: (a) how many visitors landed on this page, (b) how many interacted with the form, (c) how many visitors tried to submit this form, and (d) how many visitors successfully submitted this form. When you’re done with this report, you can further check out the Drop Report to see where you lost conversions!

ClickTale’s Customer Experience Analytics gives a level of insight that other analytics packages are missing. Understanding what’s happening on your website is a vital step to extracting more profit from your traffic, and ClickTale gives unique insights to website owners.

Ben Jesson, CEO of Conversion Rate Experts

Overall, I found ClickTale straightforward to use, without fault. ClickTale has a nice range of pricing plans for different sizes of projects, while still being on the pricey side of things. Still, “premium features” such as Email Tracking, Behavioral Tracking, and Advanced Reporting can be useful.

Cost:
Free-$790/mth
Type:
Quantitave
Users:
Real Users

Enter here to get 20% off their Bronze package!

CrazyEgg Back to top

Hands-down, CrazyEgg has established itself as having the best interface of all the web applications listed here. It’s very clean design makes navigating through the site easy, and makes viewing the results fun. CrazyEgg focuses on overlays, providing its users with a clear understanding of who clicked where on the page.

There isn’t too much to CrazyEgg, which makes it perfect for busy individuals who don’t want to have to dive into individual user results. Users have access to three different types of Overlay: general overlays which display how many users clicked where, heatmap overlays which also displays click analytics, and confetti overlays.

One of the great tools I found with CrazyEgg is that ability to “Test a new version.” Whereas when you launch the new site, it will stop tracking the old site, and display your stats over the new design, and see which worked better.

I personally used CrazyEgg while working on Graphic Design Blender, and got some great stats before they launched their spiffy new design. By analyzing where users clicked, we were able to better understand what elements would be better relocated in order to create continuity throughout the website.

Using Crazy Egg was absolutely beneficial in helping me understand more about what my site visitors were doing and where they were going. I especially loved the heat map and confetti features that helped me understand where users are accepting a call to action by clicking on a link. As I continue to perfect the design of the site, the information revealed by using Crazy Egg will be priceless.

Preston Lee (Graphic Design Blender)

Alt Desc

The Confetti feature allows you to see who clicked on what, based on their referrer to that page.

One of the shortfalls of CrazyEgg is the inability to follow users throughout pages. You set one page, and it analyzes data on that page alone (of course, different subscriptions allow you to access more pages). I would like to see how users interact with the articles posted to the Graphic Design Blender site, but there just doesn’t seem to be a way to do that, yet.

Alt Desc

How pretty – see where people clicked and how many times using the standard click overlay!

CrazyEgg’s pricing places it right in the middle of it’s competitors, making it humbly affordable but not overdoing it in regards to what you get out of it. It can be very useful for those who are looking to redesign their website, and who want something simple to figure things out in.

Cost:
$9-$99/mth
Type:
Quantitave
Users:
Real Users

ChalkMark Back to top

ChalkMark is one of the simpler usability testing applications. Like other applications that assist us with qualitative data through the use of survey, ChalkMark adds another dimension to quantitative data through the addition of heat maps.

Here, we see how users are asked to complete a task and click on the image to do so.

Users (you choose who!) are invited into a survey where they are asked to interact with images based on a series of questions. The only unfortunate disadvantage to this application is that it does not allow you to work with live websites.

The results! Prettily colored and in the usual heat map fashion!

Created by the wonderful folks at Optimal Workshop, they have some other very interesting applications you can try out. We got a peek into it through their sister company Optimal Usability who used it with one of their clients, Vodafone.

Chalkmark‘s a quick way of getting a large amount of data around how users react to a design. It’s invaluable for our UX team – providing user-centric facts on which to base design decisions.

David McNamara (Design and Usability Manager, Vodafone NZ)

Cost:
$109/mth
Type:
Qualitative/Quantitave, Image-Based
Users:
Selected Users

Enter here to win a 30 day subscription!

Feedback Army Back to top

FeedBack Army is a semi-automated tool which uses Mechanical Turk as a pool for it’s testing. This is by far the simplest of all of the applications. Tell the users to do something, ask a series of questions, and wait for responses.

Alt Desc

Users are asked to complete a task and asked various questions based on that task.

The main downfall of the application is the quality of answers that you receive. Thankfully, FeedBack Army trusts its customers over their respondents and allows you to decline answers until you get the ones you like. You’re also able to subscribe to a RSS feed so you get notified as soon as answers come in!

Alt Desc

As results come in, they are populated beneath your question! Easy!

Subernova graciously allowed us to work with them for this application and after 3 days of having the questions posted on the site was still unable to find 10 replies that they found constructive. Despite this, Feedback Army is a very inexpensive application that shouldn’t be underestimated for the value it provides.

We receive less than 20% of useful feedback, and the rest of the answers are short answers that question whether the users really try out the app before answering. If the quality of feedback is improved in terms of both the effort and proper language, I would come back to use it again.

Ben from Subernova

Cost:
$10/10 responses, $45/50 responses
Type:
Qualitative
Users:
Panel

Other Applications

As previously noted, plenty of options exist with regards to web applications for UX professionals. While we weren’t able to test-drive each and every one of them, here are a couple of others which caught our eye.

Silverback Back to top

Silverback is arguably one of the most popular tools for so-called “guerilla” usability testing. Although this requires you to conduct interviews on site, we thought it notable enough to include in this article. Andrew Maier did an awesome review of Silverback for all you Mac users.

Cost:
$49.95 (10% of all profits go to save the gorillas)
Type:
Qualitative
Users:
Selected Users

Visit their website

UserTesting Back to top

Back in November I was asked to write a little review of UserTesting.com – a really great web application for inexpensive remote testing. If you just want an extra set of eyes on your project, and quick actionable data, give it a try!

Cost:
$39 (one user)
Type:
Qualitative
Users:
Panel

Enter here to win a free usability test! Visit their website

Loop11 Back to top

Loop11 is a great tool to conduct remote testing with. Simply create a “test” for your users, and evaluate how long it took them to complete tasks!

Cost:
$350/project
Type:
Quantitative, Task-based
Users:
Selected Users

Get a 2 for 1 deal! Visit their website

UserZoom – “Self-Serve Edition” Back to top

I had the opportunity to view a demonstration of UserZoom with their sales team. UserZoom has a ton of functions and tests you can run as a UX professional. From card sorting, to task-based studies – UserZoom is a top-notch usability tool that can help you out tons. The only downfall for me was a very Windows XP-esque backend that made it very confusing at first, and leaving the graphs with much to be desired. I wouldn’t suggest making your decision on whether or not to use it based on their extremely long introductory video, but to get in touch with them to view a demo.

Cost:
Enquire!
Type:
Quantitative/Qualitative
Users:
Selected Users

Enter here to get 10% off! Visit their website

Usabilla Back to top

Usabilla (which I often find myself misspelling) is a very simple usability testing application that is task and image-based. Users go through a test you outline for them, click on elements they think they’re supposed to to complete the task, and you’re able to view heatmaps and plots based on this data. You can also ask them questions, which can be answered with points and notes, to get some nice qualitative data back!

Cost:
Free-$950/year
Type:
Quantitative/Qualitative
Users:
Selected Users

Visit their website

Five Second Test Back to top

FiveSecondTest is a very popular one for UX designers for quick and simple testing. There are several pricing plans that are project-based (no subscriptions!) on how many results you want. You can either get users to do a Memory test to see what they remember, or a Click test to find out what they click on. You’re also able to ask them questions based on the test to get more information back.

Cost:
Free-$15/test
Type:
Quantitative/Qualitative
Users:
Community

Visit their website

Feng-GUI Back to top

At first glance, Feng-GUI might not look like much, but when you try out it’s paid version, the features are quite interesting. Feng-GUI uses a complicated algorithim to detect where users are looking based on mouse movement and detecting features in the image, which can help for web as much as print designers and advertisers.

Cost:
Free/$5 per image
Type:
Quantitative
Users:
Community

Visit their website

Clixpy Back to top

If you’re looking for inexpensive, simple testing that shows your users navigating through your website, Clixpy is a very good option. It has a nice and clean back end that allows you to view users as they go through your website.

Cost:
Credit-based on your needs
Type:
Quantitative
Users:
Real Users

Visit their website

Concept Feedback Back to top

Got a concept? Easily get free feedback from a community of other designers on how you can improve your next project to get better results. Easy, simple, and based on your reputation score that you get from giving feedback to other users.

Cost:
Free
Type:
Qualitative
Users:
Community

Visit their website

ClickHeat Back to top

ClickHeat is a very simple overlay for your website that will create a visual heatmap of click on any HTML page.

Cost:
Free
Type:
Quantitative
Users:
Real Users

Visit their website

Sharing the, erm, wealth

During the course of compiling this roundup, we were introduced to many of the companies creating these UX applications. When we explained the nature of our research, we were delighted to learn that many of the companies would like to extend discounts to the UX Booth community. So, without adieu, we present the unforeseen fruits of our labor:

  • ClickTale is offering 20% off it’s Bronze package.
  • UserZoom is offering 10% off on any subscription.
  • ChalkMark is giving away two 30-day subscriptions.
  • UserTesting is giving away 25 free usability tests.
  • Loop11 is giving the UX Booth community a buy one get one free deal on their usability tests.

These are exclusive offers for the UX Booth community only. In order to obtain the discount, simply let us know (in the comments) which products you’d like to learn more about; including your twitter id in. After you tell us which prize you’d like, we’d love to know how you found UX Booth originally. Then, make sure you’re following @UXBooth on Twitter, and we’ll DM you details!

We’d like to extend our thanks to all the applications that let us review them, and that gave away such awesome prizes to our community!

What’s In Your Toolbox?

We’ve only scratched the surface of usability testing applications. Which ones are you guys using? and how do you feel about the ones we’ve chosen to feature? Would you rather see more in-depth reviews of some of these? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Write for UX Booth

Contribute to UX Booth
Contribute

Contribute a guest post to UX Booth and let the community know what's important to you!



Comments

  1. This is an extremely useful resource. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into it all, James.

    It was also great to participate in the learning process with you. Thanks again for letting my site take advantage of one of the services analyzed here.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’d be interested in the User Zoom prize for sure! I think I found UX Booth through looking at another UX designer’s blog and seeing their blog roll. Great resources! (DM me @sarahd23)

  3. Susan Chopra February 23, 2010

    Great review! Would love the ChalkMark subscription. I came across UX Booth originally via a Twitter search. Great resource!

    @sachopra

  4. Thanks so much for putting this together James. It’s really hard to enumerate all of the UX applications out there because the list is growing so rapidly! I really appreciate your tenacity with getting this done, though. I know it’s taken a while, but it’s a great resource. Also be sure to check out Nate Bolt’s roundup of Remote Research apps: http://remoteusability.com/tools/

    As far as what I use: I’ve used Silverback more or less religiously for the past year or so and I love it. I haven’t had the chance to give many others a try, but I’ve poked around with Notable (http://www.notableapp.com/) because it hooks into Basecamp.

    Any who, thanks again for your hard work!

    • Thanks for that Andrew! I’m really looking into Notable for myself and my team – we definitely need to have a conversation about that.

      Was definitely fun to put together – thanks for having me!

  5. Jennifer Steeves February 24, 2010

    I am interested in the usertesting.com discount – 25 free tests.
    I have used them and love them. Great for testing web applications as well as web sites.

    I twitter as gorillaoak

    Thanks for the reviews, glad you include pricing.

  6. These are really awesome guys! UX Booth always has some of the most engaging articles, do keep up the quality posts

  7. Rose Matthews February 25, 2010

    For a large website like ours, a key consideration for these tools is the work required on our end, e.g. code tags. It’s fab to experiment with different applications but we simply can’t afford to tie up development resource in doing so.

    So thank you for highlighting those that may be worth the effort :-)

    @Rose_Matthews

    • Hey Rose!

      Thanks so much for this awesome comment. I couldn’t agree with you more – the coding element is very much a huge part of the decision making process because the last thing you want to do is put yourself behind!

      For larger websites, quantitative analysis would require some more time and investment in development by adding a simple few lines of javascript to the code. For larger websites I loved ClickTale — they have awesome packages and for large websites with a UX team, they have everything you need to analyze a large website!

      However, qualitative analysis is easier to deploy on your website, and usually just means you coming up with questions you’d like, etc. For that for your size of website, you should definitely try out UserTesting based on the budget you likely have. :-)

      Hope this all helps!!

    • Hi Rose,
      Our tool (Loop11) does not require any code to be installed, so your development resources do not need to get involved in a running a usability project using Loop11.
      Follow us on twitter and drop us a DM if you want more info about how it all works.
      Regards,
      Toby

  8. Sooo awesome , thank you

  9. jfvigeant February 25, 2010

    I saw this on twitter. I am interested in the usertesting service. I’ve used them in the past at it was a great insight! @webergonomist

  10. Awesome list you guys. Aren’t all of these remote UX tools except Silverback? I think they are, and so I’m linking to it from http://remoteusability.com

  11. I use clicktail, it helps me know what is happening on my site and its heatmaps and videos show me i can increase my conversions

  12. John Lein February 26, 2010

    I’ve tried out ClickTale in the past – seemed really useful though time consuming as mentioned.

    I’d like to try it further with that discount you mentioned.

    @vonlein

  13. Great article — thanks for the wonderful collection of links. I’d seen a few of these before but it’s great to have them all organized in one place.

  14. Wow. Great list of giveaways! I really liked the way the article is arranged. Cool.

  15. Great list of resources! Thanks for taking the time to put together this post.
    I’ll love to see more in-depth reviews of the products in the future, along with screen shots.

    I’ll like to check out userzoom, chalkmark and usertesting with the discount you mention.

    Thanks again!
    @RuthEllison

  16. I think heat map tools hold some weight in analysis. By design they’re post-production tools and that is what lets them down for me, although I accept that we all learn from history, I would like to not make the mistakes that appear via heat maps before the application / site goes live.

    Nothing worse than a vital component being overlooked because it wasn’t reviewed during the design and prototype phase.

  17. Really nice article James! Thanks for putting this all together. Its nice to see so much interest in UserZoom.

    If anyone wants more information, please reach out to me directly and I will be happy to assist.

    As a quick summary, Userzoom offers an all-in-one UX Research solution that includes not only advanced remote usability testing, but online surveys (voice of customer and true intent studies), and card-sorting capabilities. Our solution provides rich, actionable data that will save you time and money.

    DM me more more details:

    Cheers,

    Matt
    @userzoomsales

  18. Kathleen Zarske March 9, 2010

    I recently attempted to use ClickTale on one of the websites for my workplace. I had a terrible time with the tool overall. Signup requires a PayPal account unless you want to pay for more than one month of service. We ended up having to send a wire transfer for 3 months of service to avoid setting up a PayPal account. Once I got the code and installed it, I found the recordings wouldn’t play back due to some limitations with our .jsp pages and POST. The heatmaps never worked either. Large websites using dynamic technology, redirectors, load balancers and other tools will most likely have the same issues I had in getting this tool to function. Last but not least, the company is based out of Israel and I found support times to be very very delayed and overall unhelpful. I wonder if the comments in this article about UX Experts who have a lot of time to spend mean they ran into similar problems. I could see this tool being useful for a small, simple HTML site.

    • Jason Tenne March 10, 2010

      Hey Kathleen,

      Couldn’t disagree more! We’ve been using it on a massive site (over 250,000 pv/m) for a couple of months now and it’s been fine! We use load balancers, redirects, google website optimizer to do split tests, clicktale’s been able to cope with all of that, including dynamic and POST pages.

      This sounds suspiciously like generic competitor bashing to me…

  19. Hi Kathleen,

    We’re really sorry you had such a negative experience using our services. I’ve looked at our customer records and can see that our support team and even our CTO worked directly with you repeatedly to try to get ClickTale working on your site. When we couldn’t, we issued you with a full refund for your entire subscription period.

    As for being based in Israel, I do not see how this is relevant as most of our support staff work US and European hours. No customer has ever mentioned our location being a problem before.

    Again, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. But other than providing support from our CTO himself and issuing a full refund, both of which we have already done, I do not what else we can do.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Warm regards,
    The ClickTale Team

  20. Kathleen Zarske March 11, 2010

    I am playing no part in competitor bashing. I only wanted to share my experience with the tool as I felt it may help others. I am glad to hear that others have found the tool useful on larger sites.

    I mentioned the location of the company because I truly felt a definite lack in response times with the ClickTale developers and I assumed this was due to them not being located in the US.

    They did indeed offer a full refund to us, which I appreciated.

  21. infoclimax.webnode.com June 17, 2010

    Awesome information dude..thanks for the job done!

    infoclimax.webnode.com

  22. Excellent collection that shows, how much has changed in the field of UX tools in the last years.

    We at userfeedback now also offer remote usability testing for German-speaking Europe.

  23. Karthik August 4, 2011

    What are comparable tools for evaluating usability on a mobile smartphone app, specifically for iOS?

Related Posts