But regardless of the tool type, all usability tests help you uncover:
Improvement opportunities, and
Insights on user behavior preferences
For example, a usability test can help pinpoint where users struggle to convert on a landing page.
Why care? When things aren’t easy to use, people won’t use them. Users quickly leave low-usability pages, hurting page stats and conversion rates. By contrast, usability redesigns can improve KPIs by 83% .
One last thing before we move on…
Technically, there is a suite of tools dedicated to each step in the usability testing process.
For now, just know that usability testing tools do not help run:
A/B Tests. Also known as split testing. They “split” web traffic between variations of a design to see which one performs better. They don’t provide any data about a page’s ease of use.
Focus Groups. Unlike usability tests, focus groups are moderated in a group setting. They record thoughts about an experience without observing users directly.
Surveys. Surveys work well in tandem with usability tests. But like focus groups, surveys don’t let you evaluate users’ interactions with your site.
Heat Maps. This test method illustrates how visitors interact with a page on average . However, these tools often offer ‘user recordings’ (i.e., session replays)–these do help you spot usability issues.
Peer Review. Usability testing observes how your audience interacts with your landing page. Peers don’t represent the same demographic, interest, or product experience as your target audience.
What You Need To Know Before Choosing A Usability Testing Tool
Before you ask yourself, “what tool do I need?” you’ll have to answer, “what do I want to build?”
The tools you need depend on your project!
The usability testing platform you choose should depend on the test you design.
So before you choose a usability tool, do this first:
Sure, attitudinal data often lacks accuracy. But the combination of both types is magic. It can help researchers clarify contradictions in the data and inform solutions.
Look for a usability tool that offers both types of tests if what people say benefits your research.
#3. Choose a Usability Testing Method
The last thing to decide is the usability testing method you’ll use.
Features on UX platforms usually reflect distinct testing methods. The right usability research tool will bubble up naturally when you find the right method.
Usability testing methods include:
In-Person Usability Test (Lab Studies)
Moderated Remote Usability Study
Unmoderated Remote Usability Study
Session Replays (User Recordings)
🔬 In-person Usability Tests (Lab Study) :
In a lab environment, a user completes a set of tasks on a computer or mobile device with a trained moderator. The moderator observes their behavior, asks questions, and notes user feedback in real-time.
Capture body language and facial expressions
Can ask participants follow-up questions
$$$ High cost and logistical effort
Unrealistic for small teams
Unrealistic for most web usability studies
🔬 Usability Benchmarking :
A rigidly scripted usability study. Uses a large participant group. Measures users’ performance on a set of specific, quantifiable tasks.
Produces quantitative data and in-depth statistical insights
Validates design choices
Requires experts to run and analyze results
Often unnecessary to improve usability for most websites
🔬 Moderated Remote Usability Tests :
Mimics in-person usability studies–but remotely. Tools with screen-sharing and recording features are used. Moderators guide users through a scripted set of tasks on a page or set of website pages.
Produces valuable qualitative insights from your users
Can observe facial expressions
Ability to listen to participants and ask them follow-up questions about their actions
Cost-effective alternative to in-person testing
Can’t observe users’ body language
Can be time-consuming
🔬 Unmoderated Remote Usability Tests:
Unmoderated remote usability tests collect quantitative and qualitative data on a usability platform.
This method requires users to access a testing tool on their own device. The tool records their behaviors and attitudes using recordings and embedded survey questions.
Users complete a scripted list of tasks on a website, page, or wireframe prototype. Researchers review recorded sessions and data after testing ends.
The scripted opening of a remote unmoderated usability test (Maze).
Agile for participants and design team
Lowest cost and logistical effort, allowing more frequent testing
Eye movement, clicks, and audio often recorded with test
Can’t ask participants follow-up questions about their actions in real-time
Relies on expert / high-quality script to guide participants
When qualitative data is collected, it requires a large sample size
🔬 Session Replays:
Session replays are also known as ‘user recordings.’ They’re video reconstructions of unmoderated visitor sessions on your website. Replays capture unscripted mouse movements, clicks, hovers, and scrolls made by users visiting your website.
Quickest method to get user insights right away
Captures natural / unscripted user actions
No control over sample characteristics (Anonymous users)
No video or audio recording of the user
Often requires follow-up tests to support observations
The high volume of recordings can become overwhelming
11 Web Usability Testing Tools
Now there are a LOT of tools that you can use for usability testing. We’re not here to drown you in them.
We’ve put together a list of 11 web usability platforms you can use, organized by testing method.
So let’s break them down…
🧰 Tools for Remote Moderated Usability Testing
If you’re running remote usability tests, you won’t often find a tool that supports moderated usability testing as a standalone service.
More often, full-service remote usability platforms help you run moderated and unmoderated usability tests.
If all you want is remote moderated usability testing, just get a video conferencing tool. Make sure it has screen sharing and recording capabilities.
Pricing: Free for all one-on-one meetings under 30 hours. $199.90/year for 1GB cloud recording + recording transcripts.
Mobile Web Testing Option: Users can access service over mobile
Meeting chat allows moderators to send test instructions, links, and task items to testers in a text format. There’s a recording option to capture shared screens, audio, and meeting participants’ faces.
People like it best for its simplicity and user-friendliness.
Usability Testing Method: Screensharing + Recording for Remote Moderated Usability Test
Data Type: Qualitative
Pricing: Free for 50-minute meetings. Most features require paid plan starting at $180/year, billed monthly.
Mobile Web Testing Option: Users can access service over mobile
Offers features like zoom, plus a smattering of “extras” like in-video polling, give researchers multiple options to receive in-session user feedback.
While the free version lets you use basic features like screen sharing and chat, you’ll have to pay for the next package tier to get advanced features like MP4 recordings, live polling and Q&A, file transfer, and recording transcriptions.
People like this option best when they run advanced web meetings.
Other tools for moderated remote usability testing:
Pricing: Their free model lets you run unlimited tests as long as they’re under 2 minutes long. If you want controls around test design, customized testing variables, or demographic data, you’re looking at $199/user/month on a Pro plan.
Mobile Web Testing Option: Yes
It’s not the most robust usability tool, but it’s cheap, and it’s fast.
The simple setup, at-a-glance reporting, and grab-bag of user research features create a no-fuss testing system for busy teams looking for rapid-fire insights.
But while their prototype navigation feature can sling back a quick performance overview, Usabilityhub lacks tester recording features. The inability to filter participants with screening questions may also deter serious usability researchers from purchasing.
Pay as you go option is subscription-free, costs $23-$35/tester
$69, $230, or $690/month for 3, 10, or 30 Userbrain testers (+ the matched number of your own)
$99/month for 30 test sessions/month using your own testers
Unused testers rollover; yearly subscriptions get 2 months free
Mobile Web Testing Option: Yes, but templates are more intuitive for desktop tests
Integrations: Integrates with 7 design prototyping software so you can test usability at every point in the design process.
UserBrain is a user testing tool that primarily promises simplicity.
“A simple tool that lets you create a user test in minutes and get results in just a few hours.” – Userbrain home page
Beyond their marketing tagline, platform features prioritize features that make usability testing easier.
Participant recruiting: Use your own testers or their pool of 80k+ participants. There’s also a satisfaction guarantee –if you’re unhappy with a test, they’ll send a new one for free. Members can give testers star ratings to maintain a high-quality tester pool.
Screening: They screen testers for you using demographic details and a few screening questions you specify
Test Instructions: A variety of test templates streamline test creation. 6 tasks options let you design a descriptive test with multiple opportunities for more qualitative feedback from testers.
Analysis: Analyze quantitative data by reviewing each participant’s 5-20 minute test session recording, screen, and audio recording of in-test commentary. Add time-stamped comments as you go.
Transparent, flexible pricing, unlimited seats for team members, and multiple package options make Userbrain a great option for multiple budgets and testing programs.
🧰 Usability Tools with Session Replays
Our ‘mini but mighty’ usability tool recommendations.
These usability testing tools don’t support scripted usability testing methods but are perfect for agile teams who want to see how real users naturally interact with their website.
These solutions are often more affordable and offer other user research tools like heatmaps and customer surveys to round out data from session replays.
Other features: heatmaps, incoming feedback, surveys
Pricing: Free up to 1000 recorded sessions per month, $39/mo for 3000 recordings, $389/mo for a much larger recording volume.
Mobile Web Testing Option: Yes, but not on mobile apps
An industry favorite among marketers and CROs, Hotjar includes several web testing features besides usability testing tools. Still, you do a lot with just the user sessions.
One feature we appreciate is saving clips from session recordings as highlights . You can add labels and comments, save them to folders, and send them to team members via a shareable link. The ‘Collections’ menu also stores and organizes your highlights so you can stay organized while you code test data.
User recordings can’t replace actual interactions with a tester, but it’s a cheap, easy way to spot usability problems. A great go-to option when other robust methods are inaccessible to you.
Other features: Everything from customer journey analysis to AI insights
Pricing: Upon request
Mobile Web Testing Option: Yes
Contentsquare is an entire suite of UX and analytics tools, offering a wide range of testing methods like heatmaps, crash error reports, session recordings, interviews, and more.
Content Square Platform
Given the complexity and broad service offering, we’re not surprised the pricing is hidden behind a demo.
Look into this tool if their other features interest you. Pass up for something like Hotjar if you’re more interested in running session replays to improve web usability.
🧰 “Does it All” Usability Testing Platforms
These tools are your one-stop UX shops that also carry the full spectrum of usability testing features. This section includes platforms that often also handle moderated testing logistics like recruiting and screening.
Heads up: comprehensive usability testing solutions don’t come cheap. You have to run a large volume of high-ROI UX projects to make these worth it.
Usability Testing Method: Remote Usability Testing (Moderated and Unmoderated)
Other Features: Live interviews
Pricing: 14-day free trial; solo plans start at $17/mo for 10 yearly sessions ($67/mo for 40)
Mobile Web Testing Option: Yes
Lookback is one of the best tools for usability testing because it’s singularly focused on helping you run great remote usability tests.
It’s a well-designed suite of features that let you run live interviews, moderate sessions, create test scripts for unmoderated studies, or invite team members to observe any session in the background. Lookback even tracks screen touches for mobile tests!
Lookback also offers features that make it easy for researchers to process and analyze tests, like,
Video clip highlights and reels
Teams who prioritize usability testing and don’t care much for other UX capabilities should seriously consider Lookback.
Usability Testing Method: Moderated and unmoderated testing
Other Features: Unlimited testing with your own users; create highlight clips and add labels, tags, and timestamped notes to session recordings.
Pricing: Starts at $500/mo for 40 studies/year.
Mobile Web Testing Option: Yes
As you can see, Uzerzoom’s price point is far higher than most of the options so far. But that’s because UserZoom GO does more than record moderated and unmoderated usability sessions. It’s also a recruiting and screening service ( video transcriptions, participant scheduling, and confirmations for moderated testing available in the 1,000/mo plan).
UzerZoom GO is a better fit for teams focusing on usability tests. Check out their classic UserZoom package if you want a full range of UX features like card sorting, surveys, live chats, click testing, and more.
🧰 Mobile-First Usability Testing Tools
Sometimes mobile experiences hit different…
Usability tools with mobile-style interfaces can help you spot aspects of your landing page design that aren’t easy to use when switching devices.
Here are a few quick mentions for mobile-focused usability testing tools:
Watch a short clip of remote moderated usability testing session using UzerZoom at 6:37
We cover more detail about UzerZoom in the previous section, but we think their mobile testing features are worth a closer look.
Usability Testing Method: Moderated & unmoderated mobile web usability testing
Pricing: Starts at $500/mo (mobile usability testing not available in separate plan)
UserZoom Mobile supports moderated and unmoderated native app testing. Automated recruiting, screening and scheduling services are available with premium plans.
“I think that mobile research, particularly qualitative research, allows you to not just look at the screen but also [the user’s] surroundings…it gives you even more flexibility than the testing of pure web applications in a screen.”
– Alfonso de la Nuez, Co-CEO and Co-founder of UserZoom
This also means that logistically difficult, expensive, and time-consuming tests just don’t meet most of our testing goals (i.e., in-person usability studies and usability benchmarking).
So what usability testing tools usually work best?
For usability testing on landing pages, tools that offer unmoderated remote usability testing features meet the bulk of our testing needs.
Consider these descriptions to identify the right usability platform features for you:
If you want to test frequently or right away…try → Session Recordings
If you have a limited budget…try → Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing
If you have time and budget…try → Moderated Remote Usability Testing
If you have low traffic volume…try → Any qualitative usability research method
Wrapping Up: Usability Testing Tools
Site visitors leave when your landing page is confusing or hard to use.
So when you’re paying for marketing traffic to visit these pages, revealing and fixing usability issues is a no-brainer.
If you’re trying to save your conversion rates ASAP, usability testing tools with session recording or remote unmoderated usability capabilities are our go-to’s.
Just remember: when you get a tool, have an expert ready to use it. (Plus design, research, hypothesize, prioritize, implement, and analyze tests too).
And if that process feels overwhelming? Easy. You can talk to our experts about ways to help make your landing page the best it can be.
Director of Content
Ariana prides herself on always learning everything there is to know about pay-per-click advertising and conversion rate optimization, which is why she can create such excellent content. When she’s not writing fantastic content, you can find her hiking, swimming, or baking bread.