Tools & Research Logistics
: CHAPTER #
1

User Research Tools

If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with user researchers, it’s that they’re incredibly resourceful. Recruiting through Craigslist, scheduling through back and forth emails, conducting interviews over Skype, distributing incentives via PayPal. It’s an endless parade of tools and tips and tricks, and researchers navigate them all almost seamlessly. Keyword: almost. While researchers are incredibly resourceful people, there are some tools that can help make their lives a little easier. And if you’re new to research, or missing a few key time savers, these tools are a great way to build out your research toolkit.

Here's a quick overview of the types of tools you'll need for different types of research:

Need to brush up on your research types? Check out this module for an overview of discovery methods and this one for an overview of validation methods.

And, just to give you a taste of what's to come, here's our UX Research Tools Map. Not all of the tools in this image are covered in this tools chapter, but this may help you get an idea of what kinds of tools you may need and where some overlap.

User Recruitment Tools

Don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding your own research participants? Don’t panic. These companies will help you find participants for your research studies. Many of them include extra research goodies like scheduling tools, surveys, or video conferencing tools.

If you do want to recruit your own participants, tools like Craigslist and TaskRabbit can be great resources. You can even combine some of the scheduling tools above with an email service like Mailchimp to recruit participants from your own customer list. Or you could use Research Hub from User Interviews.

User Interviews

How it works:

PSA: This is a User Interviews Field Guide and therefore, I, the writer of said Field Guide and person currently employed by User Interviews am just a teensy weensy bit biased. Only a little bit though.

User Interviews is a one-stop shop for recruiting participants from your current pool of users and its  pool of over 125,000 ready, willing, and vetted research participants. If you incentivize your participants with Amazon gift cards, we’ll even manage the incentives for you. User Interviews also includes screener surveys, scheduling for interviews, and participation tracking for your existing users. The median turnaround time to qualify your first participant is 13 hours, though it can vary based on the project.

What people love about it:

“My new team couldn't bear to spend what they thought they'd have to for recruiting for our UX research. I introduced them to UserInterviews.com and we were off to the races! They were in LOVE with being able to move and pivot so quickly. In just a few months, I calculated that we saved $10k in costs which allowed us to complete our project in budget. I'm VERY grateful!” -Toni R.

“Super easy to use interface made it great to set my numbers and pick my participants. I was really amazed they managed to find people matching my required profile which was a fairly technical person. They were also really affordable. I really appreciate too how they put together a list of potential people based on the questionnaire and don't just automatically schedule people.” - Mari F.

What people don’t love about it:

“I have very few complaints about User Interviews, but their messaging system needs a bit of work. It's annoying to get communications from users via email and then have to go back to the tool to respond rather than just replying like you can in most ticketing systems.” - Max G.

“I would love if it was possible to add Zoom meetings to the sessions, so I don't need to create them separately and send participants the link.” -Maya G.

Pricing:

User Interviews pricing does not include participant incentives.

Recruiting from User Interviews’ participant base:

$20 per consumer recruit

$60 per professional recruit

Add-ons:

$10 per completed session: screener survey with multi page skip logic

$20 per completed session: pre-screen candidates over the phone

Recruiting from your own user base with User Interviews:

$150 per month: 1,000 contacts, $150 in UI Recruit credit (to recruit participants from UI’s base), unlimited seats and sessions

$250 per month: 5,000 contacts, $150 in UI Recruit credit (to recruit participants from UI’s base), unlimited seats and sessions

$500 per month: 10,000 contacts, $150 in UI Recruit credit (to recruit participants from UI’s base), unlimited seats and sessions

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who don’t want to deal with the hassle of recruitment or giving out incentives.

Validately

How it works:

Validately also offers recruiting from both their participant database and your own customers. They’ll oversee screening, scheduling, and incentive payment for both moderated and unmoderated research studies. They have a dedicated research platform that allows researchers to take notes, share their screen, and share video. These notes can then be easily synthesized in a research report you can share with your team. Validately typically recruits participants in 5 business days.

What people love about it:

“From my very experience with Validately, I found it simplified the entire process of user-testing. Once I qualify for a specific panel, Validately's operations manages everything else: from ensuring schedules, invites, links to the demo, reminders and any necessary tech support. They also ensure all parties show up on time, and that all tech systems are a go. They also set panelists and client expectations so the right goals are hit. The best reason for using Validately is the depth and breadth of their resource pool of expert panelists. They help ID the right pre-qualifying questions to ensure the best match of experts possible.” -Jackie B.

What people don’t love about it:

“The analytics and reports are leave a little bit to be desired. It'll help you conduct research, but not find insights.” - Verified Reviewer

“The UI was super confusing to use and some of the terminologies seemed misleading.” -Verified Reviewer

Pricing:

Validately requires customers to subscribe to a monthly plan + pay a recruitment fee for each participant recruited. Validately’s prices include participant incentives.

$199 a month: 3 researcher seats, moderated and unmoderated testing, desktop and mobile testing, iOS and Android native app testing, 36 studies per year, unlimited recordings, free to test on your own users, $15 per unmoderated test participant, $150 per moderated test participant

$499 a month: 3 researcher seats, moderated and unmoderated testing, desktop and mobile testing, iOS and Android native app testing, 36 studies per year, unlimited recordings, free to test on your own users, $15 per unmoderated test participant, $45 per moderated test participant

$699 a month: 3 researcher seats, moderated and unmoderated testing, desktop and mobile testing, iOS and Android native app testing, 36 studies per year, unlimited recordings, free to test on your own users, insights reporting, Slack integration, transcription service, $15 per unmoderated test participant, $45 per moderated test participant

Best for:

People that run a lot of unmoderated testing and need to consistently recruit participants.

Respondent

How it works:

Respondent allows you to post your research study and gain participants from their participant pool. You can then choose who you want to participate in the study, and schedule them for a session through Respondent’s platform. You can also pay your participants through Respondent’s platform. The typical recruitment time is 3 days.

What people love about it:

“This platform is FAST. I love how I can set up my project at the end of my work day and come back the next morning and already have all my qualified participants ready for me to recruit from. In the past, when I used traditional recruiting agencies, I had to give them 2-3 weeks of lead time and pay so much more per head. Respondent changed that game for me and allowed me to be quicker in my research and analysis and stretch my company dollars further. Add an excellent customer service and you got yourself a winning platform.” - Michal C.

“I definitely like the ease in which recruitment campaigns can be scheduled. Especially the ability to add constraints to the type of person who gets recruited is pretty awesome as well.Recently they launched the ability to re-invite past respondents which is amazing!” - Sai Shyam G.

What people don’t love about it:

“The ratio of actually qualified respondents to *technically* qualified respondents is skewed a bit too far toward the *technically* qualified.” - Deb M.

“There are so many categories to select from but business specific options are less. I think management and business categories need to be concentrated more to get a good amount of users and information. I find this software at the starting stage and it needs to improve in many areas.” - Sumant L.

Pricing:

35% service fee: paid after your complete your study and pay your participants their incentives.

Respondent also offers managed solutions, though you’ll have to contact them for the price.

Best for:

People that only need to recruit people to participate in their studies and are willing to pay high incentives. Respondent’s lowest recommended incentive is $100 per hour.

UserZoom

How it works:

UserZoom combines a UX research platform with recruiting and managed research options. It allows you to build a research study in whichever method works best for your work. This can include usability testing and benchmarking, information architecture research, surveys, and live intercepts. UserZoom can also provide recruitment for your studies from their base of over 120 million participants. If you’re new to research, or don’t want to handle it at all, UserZoom can handle every aspect of your research study and just deliver you the insights.

What people love about it:

“We do consulting research, and use UserZoom for our client projects when we need to capture behavioral data (i.e. clickstreams, heatmaps, time on task). There aren't many tools out there with the combination of features that UserZoom provides, including logic to direct people to other questions or parts of the survey, the behavioral tracking mentioned above, and easy integration with panel providers.” -Verified Reviewer

What people don’t love about it:

“There's some amount of rigidity in weird places that requires customer service intervention. For instance certain screens or phrasing around the on boarding process. It feels a tad invasive, which can make it hard to get my customers to do what I ask them to do. These are pretty minor though, it's a good tool.” -Mari F.

Pricing:

UserZoom does not list their prices on the website. If you’d like to find out which plan works for you, contact them here.

Best for:

UserZoom allows researchers to manage their own studies, but may work best for teams who want to outsource the entire research process.

Ethnio

How it works:

Ethnio allows researchers and product teams to integrate studies directly into their websites or native apps. It can add small surveys to your website or app and even asks users if they are available for a more formal interview. Researchers can pay incentives, schedule meetings, and track research activity within Ethnio. Ethnio also offers worldwide recruiting, so you can grab insights from China to California. Ethnio does not have a recruitment turnaround time because they are recruiting from your users, not finding outside participants.

What people love about it:

“The best part of Ethnio is how much time my research team saves recruiting participants. Prior to using Ethnio, our team would spend days trying to track down and screen people for user testing. With Ethnio, I'm able to target specific types of users and contact respondents almost instantly! Such a game changer not only in saving tons of time, but its enabled my team to advocate more the value of UX research to stakeholders. Now stakeholders are beginning to understand UX from our perspective.” - Verified Reviewer

What people don’t love about it:

“I wish it was easier to add people that we recruited outside of Ethnio. For example, from time to time, we use different recruiting services to find people who are outside of my company's customer base. It's a little tricky to add them. Additionally, there is a learning curve, and I'm still having the most trouble, admittedly, with the Pool feature (which helps you keep track of participants and potential participants). It's still more confusing than I would like it to be, considering it's supposed to make it easy for me to keep track of people who responded to my emails or screeners, and people who participated in research.” - Verified Reviewer

Pricing:

$79 per month (monthly)/ $66 per month (annually): 5 screeners, 500 responses, 1 team member, 100k pageviews a month, self-service support

$179 a month (monthly)/ $149 a month (annually): unlimited screeners, 1000 responses, 3 team members, 500k pageviews a month, email support

$349 a month (monthly)/ $289 per month (annually): unlimited screeners, 2000 responses, 5 team members, 1m pageviews a month, variables, targeting, email support

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People that get a lot of their research from their existing users and want to conduct more research directly on their website or app.

PingPong

How it works:

PingPong focuses specifically on moderated remote user research studies. You can choose to recruit from their pool of 10k+ testers or use your own users. PingPong will choose participants and schedule the sessions for you based on your availability. They have their own secure video calling platform for conducting your interviews, with automatic recording and the option to invite your team members to view the interview live. You can then analyze your videos, mark highlights, and view transcriptions. PingPong also helps you manage the incentives, which are paid through PayPal.

What people love about it:

“As a global company we consider user input the basis of everything we do - however, before pingpong, we didn’t have any options to access a global pool of participants, without adding an administrative overhead. Since we use pingpong, more of the teams are able to adopt the human-centered approach and start practicing user research, as pingpong makes it insanely easy to setup and schedule research projects, and offers awesome functionality to conduct various types of sessions via their video call tool. It honestly saved us researchers from going crazy, allows the teams to learn and create valuable solutions and allows the company to lower business risk - sounds too good to be true but it is. 🏓🙏✨” - Zsófia G.

What people don’t love about it:

“You cannot download your recordings at the moment (hello, vendor lock-in) and we had quite a few no-shows from interview subjects.” -Peter G.

“Transcribing still needs a bit of work, it's hard to talk communicate with your colleagues who could be spectating.” -Emily H.

Pricing:

Recruiting from PingPong’s user base:

75 € per credit: 30 minute interview with someone from their instant pool. A 60 minute interview is 1.5 credits.

Recruiting from your own user base with PingPong:

250 € per month: 1000 users, 10 interview credits per month

500 € per month: 2500 users, 20 interview credits per month

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who need immediate access to research participants in Europe.

UserTesting

How it works:

UserTesting offers a robust set of tools to facilitate user research. They can handle recruitment from their panel and management of recruitment from your panel. Researchers can build studies across platforms based on existing templates or from scratch, which can be useful for people who need some guidance building their research initiatives. They boast same-day turnaround on recruitment for unmoderated studies.  

What people love about it:

“It’s amazing to me how usertesting.com is able to find very specific user groups, based on a set of screening questions. I've used it for several enterprise and b2b websites with very unique users, and have been able to get results within a matter of hours or a day at the longest.” - Gabe S.

“As one of two full-time researchers on the UX team at my organization, I like that I can step my design peers (and others) through the really simple platform, and with some guidance on best practices get them experimenting and testing out their designs quickly. It's been really helpful to offer this tool as a means to get answers in an Agile setting.” - Jennifer B.

What people don’t love about it:

“Leave yourself a lot of time for contract negotiations, and getting it set up with your purchasing department (if you work for a large organization). Also - determine what your governance of the product will look like. If you only have 1 seat, only that one person will be able to launch tests for everyone added to the account - so make sure that person is reliable and it is part of their job description.

Also - the contract can get very expensive if you are only using it for a few tests a year. I would recommend ramping up the amount of testing that you do or bring in other units within your organization to take part of the contract.” -Mandee E.

Pricing:

UserTesting requires that you set up a call with them to determine your pricing. They do offer a free trial version of their plans so you can test it out, though you’ll also need to get in touch with them for that.

Best for:

People that need to recruit people quickly for their studies. UserTesting is also great for recruiting niche audiences.

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Dedicated Scheduling Tools/ Video Conferencing Tools

Dedicated Scheduling Tools

If you’re going to be scheduling your research sessions yourself, you’ll most likely want a calendar tool to keep yourself organized. These tools offer an alternative to emailing back and forth with your participants trying to pick a time that works for everyone.

Calendly

How it works:

Calendly integrates with your Google, iCloud, Outlook, or Office 365 calendar to help you schedule meetings without the back and forth emails. You just set your available times within Calendly, send the link to your Calendly calendar, and the person you want to schedule a meeting with can choose a time that is right for them. A calendar event will be created automatically and you can edit it within your calendar itself. I use Calendly all the time to schedule work meetings, calls, and one time I even used it to schedule drinks with a friend.

What people love about it:

“It's SO much easier to schedule meetings and appointments, set up reminders and get important information from attendees.

Before it would be emails and emails before a date was decided on and then a time and then finally a location. Then what's to ensure that you both set the appointment on your calendar? I like how it is integrated with google calendar.

I like the zap integrations with my email provider as well, so I can track where a client is along the booking process.” -Josephine S.

“Email scheduling (back and forth) is a waste of everyone's time. With Calendly, I am able to say, "please let me serve you by giving access to my live calendar and we can prevent the usual back and forth that transpires with email scheduling). I also like the reminder features (email and texting) and the onboarding class (best practices) really helped me to set and forget with minor update and changes. I started with free, went to premium, and today upgraded to Professional. It has definitely given me my time back and brought a level of professional automation that compliments my business model.” -Derek I.

What people don’t love about it:

“Some basic features that are included on other platforms for similar cost, such as redirecting to a page after an appointment is made, and Google analytics, require an upgrade from the Calendly Premium to the Calendly PRO plan. This seems a bit excessive for basic features. I can understand Salesforce being at their highest level, but redirects and Google analytics aren't Salesforce. Also, you can't put select users on Pro - it' all or nothing for your entire base.” -Christopher L.

“The Availability function to your Calendar, this is for me is confusing, you need to highlight first the day you want to be available until the date of your availability. I just wish Calendly can have a feature where you can just input a certain Date up until your Availability, more like a drop-down menu.” - Ron Elius S.

Pricing:

Free: Calendar integrations, unlimited events, 1 event type, personalized Calendly page for scheduling

$10 a month (monthly)/ $8 a month (annually): Calendar integrations, unlimited events, unlimited event types, personalized Calendly page for scheduling, remove Calendly branding, group events, automatically add links to events, Zoom/GoToMeeting/Salesforce integrations

$15 a month (monthly)/ $12 a month (annually): Calendar integrations, unlimited events, unlimited event types, personalized Calendly page for scheduling, invitee redirect, remove Calendly branding, group events, automatically add links to events, Zoom/GoToMeeting/Salesforce/Stripe/PayPal/Google Analytics integrations

Best for:

People who need a simple and free scheduling tool that integrates with their existing calendar and use Google, iCloud, Office 365, or Outlook calendars.

Doodle

How it works:

Doodle allows users to find multiple available times to meet. You send someone your Doodle link with your availability and they can mark time slots as “yes”, “no”, or “if-need-be”. Invitees can then select times that work for them and the owner of the event can choose a time that works for everyone. Doodle works best when trying to find a time to meet with more than one other person. So if you’re a researcher who constantly schedules focus groups, interviews with more than one participant, or stakeholder meetings with people from multiple organizations, Doodle is a good choice.

What people love about it:

“I'm still blown away by this software and so happy that I discovered it. My biggest headache when scheduling meetings, lunches, dinners, etc. is everyone's super busy schedule. With Doodle, all I have to do is send out date and time options and get everyone's availability. I love that it's a visual chart, so that I can easily see which date/time has the most people available, and then boom we have a meeting scheduled. No more, "Ok, Jan can make it Tuesday what about Thursday?" then another "Mike can't make it at 8:00am what about 7pm?" I just send out a Doodle calendar and I'm done!” - Lauren L.

“The free version of this software is all you need. As a project manager that is constantly trying to schedule meetings with large teams this app cuts the need for constant email chains. I throw my dates and times, then pick the day/time that has the most votes easy. Gone are the days of endless emails and still not getting a good day.” - Greg C.

What people don’t love about it:

“I dislike that it takes a long time to make polls, especially if I have many options available and open. It takes time to make each individual time slot, so I hope they implement a system to automatically add multiple time slots at once.” -Kimberly C.

“Doodle works great, but I wish it had a notification option for people who haven't filled it out yet. Like, I should be able to send out a notification if I plunk in some emails or something like that. I don't have a definitive plan, but chasing people down to answer a Doodle poll is one of the downfalls of Doodle itself.” -Maggie B.

Pricing:

Free: Connect your calendar, share a link with your availability, ad-supported

8 € per month/ 43 € per year: Connect your calendar, share a link with your availability, ad-free, one user, ask participants for additional information, see who hasn’t responded, export your results

12 € per user per month/ 59 € per user per year:  Connect your calendar, share a link with your availability, ad-free, option to add users, ask participants for additional information, see who hasn’t responded, export your results

Best for:

People who regularly need to coordinate meeting times with more than one other person.

YouCanBookMe

How it works:

YouCanBookMe is very similar to Calendly, but with more robust features for large teams. This includes the ability to sync multiple team members’ calendars from different places. For example, if you have one person that prefers Google Calendar and another that prefers Outlook, you can sync up both their calendars with YouCanBookMe. This makes it easy to get that one guy who is still really attached to his Yahoo calendar on the meeting. YouCanBookMe also offers customization features for your booking pages, which you can use to keep everything on-brand.

What people love about it:

“Love the layout and design with this application. Nice modern and sleek templates. I am able to create a schedule, customize colors and layout design, and then share a link out with others to be able to book times with me. There are some settings customization options that help. For me, I used YouCanBookMe so that teachers can schedule meeting times with me without the need to go back and forth through email. Love that it syncs to Google Calendar that way I can stay on top of everything via my mobile phone.” -Nick A.

“What is not to love about youcanbookme! In fact, I have recommended this software to fellow colleagues who are now using it. I was able to create appointment slots that carry over several months. I use the link provided in my email signatures and it allows everyone from upper management to my volunteers to be able to book an appointment or meeting with me. This software saves time and allows for better accountability!” -Joe L.

What people don’t love about it:

“I like to be able to pick up the phone and call someone, but they only provide email support. (They are based in UK.) They do a great job of responding by email though, and provide helpful screenshots to guide you.” - Michael Lee M.

“The admin interface is a bit overwhelming and required some getting used to. Although the services team walked us through most of the set-up, there are lots of options and a lot of work can go into setting up your system effectively.” -Jessica M.

Pricing:

Free: basic functionality

$10 per calendar per month/ $108 per calendar per year: basic functionality, remove YouCanBookMe’s branding, reminders, custom booking pages, unlimited booking fields, priority email support.

Best for:

People who want to coordinate calendars with team members who use different calendars.

Video Conferencing Tools

If you’re conducting interviews of any kind, chances are you’ll want to catch the whole thing on video. Many people use things like Google Hangouts, Google Meet, or Skype to conduct basic one on one video interviews. If you’re looking to upgrade your video conferencing, these tools all offer something a little more advanced that can help you make video interviews even easier for you and your participants.

Zoom

How it works:

Zoom allows up to 100 people join a video conference hosted in a personal “room”. So if you regularly conduct focus groups or large shareholder meetings, Zoom may be a great tool for you. Zoom also supports screen sharing, chat, recording, calendar integrations, and transcriptions. We use it every single day for our remote watercooler chats and (mostly) love it. More importantly, we use it for our Research @ UI efforts and it (almost) never let’s us down. It is important to keep in mind that the people you’re chatting with will need to download the Zoom client ahead of time to video chat.  

What people love about it:

“Zoom has a clean user interface and generally works very well. I like how easy it is to switch between camera modes or presenting your screen or a specific program or documents (or your view of your iPhone!). No unnecessary bells and whistles - just a sleek, minimal web conferencing tool.” - Megan T.

“It makes video calling with large groups super easy, allows for video call record, easy invite with a link to call, scheduling calls. I use the Desktop app most the time, but the mobile app has been very handy for calls on the go. I've never used a video conferencing app that can support so many callers in one session, makes for a pretty magical experience to bring your whole team together from literally across the world.” - Todd B.

What people don’t love about it:

“While conferencing via a browser is possible, when a first time user (typically a participant) clicks on the meeting link, the site automatically attempts to download a widget for local installation. It would be better to provide up front the choice between browser vs app. This is particularly an issue for users on a low bandwidth connection, and first time non-tech users.” - Narayanan P.

“Zoom pulls a lot of bandwidth, particularly when sharing screen, so if you are trying to run too many programs at once it will kick you out and restart. This is usually fine for a team call, but can be embarrassing during a client meeting.” - Ashlee B.

Pricing:

Free: up to 100 participants in a meeting, 40 minute limit, unlimited number of meetings

$14.99 a month per host: up to 100 participants in a meeting, no time limit, unlimited number of meetings, admin feature controls, custom personal meeting ID

$19.99 a month per host (min 10 hosts): up to 100 participants in a meeting, no time limit, unlimited number of meetings, vanity URL, SSO, custom emails, company branding

$19.99 a month per host (min 100 hosts): up to 200 participants in a meeting, no time limit, unlimited number of meetings, vanity URL, SSO, custom emails, company branding, unlimited cloud storage, dedicated customer service manager

Best for:

People who regularly host video calls with more than two people.

GoToMeeting

How it works:

GoToMeeting allows you to schedule meetings, record calls, share your screen, and get transcripts of your meeting’s audio. For people who prefer in-browser conference calling, GoToMeeting is a favorite. It has all the features of a downloadable software like Zoom without you or your participants needing to download anything.  

What people love about it:

“I've been using GoToMeeting for at least a decade and it is still the gold standard for web conferencing for companies of all sizes. Our entire organization (sales, marketing, success, and support) all have licenses for scheduling screen shares and web conferences with leads and customers. You can share your screen, allow another person to share their screen, and even take control of another user's screen for troubleshooting issues, or training purposes. It is easy to use for those setting up and those connecting to a web conference. It has a number of wonderful integrations - the most useful being the Google Calendar plug in - which enables you to easily schedule GoToMeetings directly from a calendar event. You can also record sessions for replay later (helpful for training or demos).” - Michael J.

What people don’t love about it:

“It is good to be mindful that your computer's updates can conflict with GoToMeeting's function. When my computer conducted certain updates, the volume on GoToMeeting would work for a minute or two during the beginning of the session and then it would stop working. So, if you incur an issue with GoToMeeting, keep in mind it could be something external to the actual software. It also takes a sequence of steps to be able to show attendees a recording during your session--the audio settings must be changed to allow for audio to be heard from the recording rather from your microphone.” -Paige E.

“There is no ability to lock individual meetings. If we are scheduled back to back, and we are not using one of our unique meetings (which sometimes has to be the case) then there is a risk that someone hops into the meeting early and interferes with our current call. Also, the tool is slightly expensive for what you get.” - Perry F.

Pricing:

Free 14 day Trial

$18 a month (monthly)/ $14 a month (annually):  Unlimited meetings, dial in line, up to 10 participants, web audio, screen sharing, 24/7 customer support, mobile apps

$36 a month (monthly)/ $29 a month (annually): Unlimited meetings, dial in line, up to 150 participants, web audio, screen sharing, 24/7 customer support, mobile apps, personal meeting room, meeting lock, transcripts, unlimited recording, drawing tools, keyboard and mouse sharing

$47.20 a month (monthly)/ $39 a month (annually): Unlimited meetings, dial in line, up to 250 participants, web audio, screen sharing, 24/7 customer support, mobile apps, personal meeting room, meeting lock, transcripts, unlimited recording, drawing tools, keyboard and mouse sharing, in-room link

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who want an in-browser conference calling software with recording, transcription, and screen sharing features.

BlueJeans

How it works:

BlueJeans is another option for people who want to conduct their video interviews  entirely in their browser. BlueJeans offers the ability to join a meeting by clicking on a link, and you can integrate directly with your calendar apps so you can add BlueJeans meetings directly to your events. It allows you to share your screen with other meeting members and record and store your meetings in the cloud.

What people love about it:

“The quality if the call, meaning both audio and video calls are excellent. Particularly the video is crisp and fine quality compared to other video conferencing applications. Bluejeans is compatible with most AV equipment in our organisation and has a stable platform to support both audio and video meetings. The customer service team is great and a live assistance when needed the most is an advantage for our organisation where help is just a click away when needed.” -Selvin J.

What people don’t love about it:

“The meeting can't be started unless the organizer joins. At times this becomes a constraint and wastes a lot of time of many people in case organizer gets late due to some reason. Also, if my headphones are already connected, a lot of times I have to unplug and plug them again to make them work with Blue Jeans.” -Tapan J.

Pricing:

30 Day Free Trial

$16.65 per month per host (monthly), $12.49 per month per host (annually): meet with up to 50 participants, unlimited meetings, dial-in number

$19.99 per month per host (monthly), $16.65 per month per host (annually): meet with up to 75 participants, unlimited meetings, dial-in number, 10 hours of recording per host, BlueJeans Command Center Dashboard

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

Teams who need to host large 10+ people meetings regularly and record their meetings.

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Note-Taking/Transcription Tools

Every researcher needs a place to keep all of their notes together. Of course tools like Microsoft Office, Google Drive, or even good old pen and paper are great for keeping notes, but these tools offer something a little extra.

ConfirmKit

How it works:

ConfirmKit is a research ops platform that includes interview scripts and field guides. It allows researchers to see responses from different participants side by side, which makes it easier to see how different users feel. ConfirmKit’s biggest benefit for researchers is the built-in interview guides. These allow you to standardize your interviews, keep track of the questions you need to ask, and track all participants’ answers to specific questions in one place.

ConfirmKit is a fairly new tool and doesn’t have reviews on G2Crowd or Capttera at this time. We still thought it was cool enough to include in this list, and it may be worth a try for people who conduct a lot of interviews.

Pricing:

14 day free trial

$49: 1 project, 3 users, 12 interviews, 25 observations

$39 a month (monthly)/ $29 a month (annually): unlimited projects, users, interviews, and observations

Best for:

People who do a lot of interviews and need a tool to keep more consistent notes.

Trint

How it works:

Trint is an audio and video transcription service that uses AI to deliver transcripts that are searchable and editable. All you have to do is upload the file into Trint’s web-based software and wait a few minutes for the AI to work its magic. You can also export the files into a variety of file types. Trint seems to work best for audio that is fairly isolated featuring only one speaker. It’s powered by AI, so it’s not quite as accurate as a real live human might be, but it is much cheaper.

What people love about it:

“Very clever piece of tech. As a journalist this is a game changer for me and my day to day transcription work. Yes accuracy improves with a good quality recording but that has been the case with all automated transcription tools that I've used over the years. It's all about the editor - far more cleverly nuanced than others out there. A little ray of sunshine every day :)” - Mark B.

What people don’t love about it:

“I really want this to work. As a journalist who does a lot of interviews and features, reliable transcription software would transform my productivity. I have given this a couple of tries and sadly it's not great. I can see where they are going with it and really hope they can improve the accuracy of the transcription. Far too many errors (many of them completely off the wall) and far too much fixing required. It's debatable as to whether it saves any time at all versus just transcribing it myself as usual.” - James H.

Pricing:

$15 per hour of upload, unlimited emailing, speakers separated by paragraphs, markers included.

$40 per month: 3 hours of uploads a month, over 3 hours $13.20 an hour, unused hours roll over to the next month, unlimited emailing, speakers separated by paragraphs, markers included.

$120 per month: 10 hours of uploads a month, over 10 hours $12 an hour, unused hours roll over to the next month, unlimited emailing, speakers separated by paragraphs, markers included.

Best for:

Teams that frequently need transcriptions done and don’t mind doing a few fixes themselves.

Rev

How it works:

Rev is a transcription service that uses real live humans to create transcripts of your audio and video files. All you have to do is submit your files on Rev’s online portal and they will deliver your transcript within 12 hours. Rev can also produce captions and foreign language subtitles. Rev seems to deliver pretty accurate transcripts for people who need transcriptions done for complicated audio recordings or recordings with multiple speakers.

What people love about it:

“I used Rev.com to transcribe two focus groups. I was very happy with the turnaround time and quality of the transcription. Using Rev.com saved me days of work.” - Tammy H.

“Very accurate and the best turnaround time. I 'upgraded' for the (free) rush service and it came even quicker than that! We've used them about 8 times now and never had anything other than great results.” - David F.

What people don’t love about it:

“As a professional journalist, I use Rev frequently. It’s reliably fast, but the quality is uneven, and the customer service can be terrible. If there’s a problem with your transcript, there’s no way to get it fixed that doesn’t involve waiting months and sending multiple emails.” - M. Blake

Pricing:

$1 per minute of transcriptions or video captions.

$3-7 per minute of foreign language subtitles

Best for:

People who want high quality transcripts and have the budget to pay for Rev’s service.

Evernote

How it works:

Evernote is advanced note-taking. With Evernote you can clip things from the web, search through handwritten notes, scan documents directly into your notes, templates for easier note-taking, and integrations with apps like Google Drive, Salesforce, and Slack. Evernote can be a good resource for people who love creating handwritten notes or documents but need somewhere to organize them all when it’s time to gather insights.

What people love about it:

“It’s a better way to save every piece of important data and find the info I want faster. I can do a lot of good things like add links, spreadsheet, attachments, and sound to our notes. Also, it’s great that my colleagues know what I’m doing and it works everywhere, no matter what the conditions, with different documents.” - Donny I.

“I love Evernote. I've been a user since there were fewer than 10,000 of us so I feel like an early adopter. Evernote is my go to for keeping track of pretty much everything I need. I use it for journaling, to do lists, important meeting notes, organizing documents; I've even used it to store clip art (I don't recommend that as it takes up a lot of space). Being a premium user, I've enjoyed having access to Evernote across all my devices. The sync is awesome. I can only remember having two instances in more than 5 years of sync conflicts. The tagging feature is awesome (essentially unlimited tags per note) and a powerful search feature that makes organizing and finding notes a snap.” - Aaron P.

What people don’t love about it:

“I recently paid for a yearly subscription and regret doing so. I always seem to be getting duplicate notes appearing after having updated them, or get 'conflicting modification' where my notes within a section are duplicated but with some minor differences in one version (whatever you edited). Trying to spot the difference and resolving this is far from straight forward and I've wasted a lot of time doing so. I'll be transferring my notes over to google docs in future (much more reliable) and won't renew my subscription.” -Neil W.

“Evernote runs on Basic (which is free) model and a Premium model. The free version inevitably comes with its limitations like - Monthly upload limit is extremely less especially considering the fact that, it has so many features to save your data. Where it provides so many features, it sets itself back with the space limitation which is minimal. The paid version (Premium), however is pretty cheap, but feasible only if you really are a heavy note-making user.” Aanchal J.

Pricing:

Free: note-taking, PDF attachment, web clipping, searchable notes, notebook sharing.

$7.99 per month: note-taking, PDF attachments and annotation, web clipping, searchable notes, notebook sharing, email forwarding, version history, integrations with Google Drive, email providers, and Slack.

$14.99 per user per month: team collaboration, note-taking, PDF attachments and annotation, web clipping, searchable notes, notebook sharing, email forwarding, version history, integrations with Google Drive, email providers, Slack, and Salesforce.  

Best for:

People who need a place to keep their notes and want to enrich them with handwritten pieces or web clippings.

Pear Note

How it works:

If you’re a Mac user, Pear Note is a great choice for taking notes during research sessions. Pear Note records audio and video from your computer, as well as your actions so you can see exactly when you took each note. This makes it easy to get context for notes taken during a session. For researchers, knowing exactly when you took certain notes can be invaluable information, especially after a long day of interviews. When you can’t remember who said what when and why, Pear Note can be a good source of truth.

What people love about it:

“A very well thought out product - it works a treat. The only minor quibble I have is that when you click on text to hear what was said at that time, you get the tap-tap of the keyboard keys that went with the notes you were typing as they were speaking. A minor quibble tho - this is excellent software.” -Macash

“Pear Note is my go to note taking app. My chief complaint is that the developers are slow to incorporate updates. What I like best is the ability to upload an outline prior to meeting. Then I can mark each speaker then immediately return during editing.” -domolar

What people don’t love about it:

“I'm a little sore about this. The developer seems to think that no serious work needs to be done on this app since it was completed somewhere around iOS 4. It's a niche app, so it's good enough, I guess. I feel like I didn't get the value I was expecting.” -gaelicWizard

Pricing:

$39.99 one time fee: 1 user

$54.99 one time fee: 1+ users

Best for:

Mac users who need visual context for their notes.

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Survey Tools

Whether you need screener surveys to help you choose participants or your entire research study is based around a survey, these tools will help you get the job done. Some of these tools are geared towards enterprise level survey conducting, while others can be used for smaller satisfaction surveys or even screeners for your research participants.

SurveyMonkey

How it works:

SurveyMonkey is a powerful tool for creating research surveys. Their free product allows you to create surveys and send them out to anyone you want, but SurveyMonkey has some upgraded features that allow you to recruit from their audience, collect NPS scores, and even collect and manage job applications.

What people love about it:

“I like how easy it is to create surveys and send them out. I can fully customize the questions to meet the needs of the data. I also like that I can easily share the survey with my co-workers to make sure they are satisfied before I share it with the clients. Is very easy for them to access and I get the feedback very quickly. It's simple to navigate and set up a survey, and it's highly accessible for participants.” -Katie C.

What people don’t love about it:

“Survey Monkey limits the amounts of responses that the administrator can view. Survey Monkey only allows upgrades with more features of survey. Survey Monkey offers limited customer support with the basic plan. Survey Monkey offers 10 questions per survey for the basic plan. Survey Monkey offers limited data export for such files like .csv, .pdf, .ppt, and .xls.” -Candace E.

Pricing:

Free: Create unlimited surveys with 10 questions each, view 100 responses, get responses via web, social, and email.

$37 a month (monthly)/ $31 a month (annually): Create unlimited surveys with unlimited questions, 1000 responses per month, unlimited filters & crosstabs, trended data, custom branding on surveys, data exports, skip logic, email support

$32 a month (annually): Create unlimited surveys with unlimited questions and unlimited responses, unlimited filters & crosstabs, trended data, custom branding on surveys, skip logic, question and answer piping, A/B testing, email support, accept payments, $25 in audience panel credits, advanced data exports

$99 a month (annually): Create unlimited surveys with unlimited questions and unlimited responses, unlimited filters & crosstabs, trended data, custom branding on surveys, skip logic, question and answer piping, A/B testing, phone and email support, accept payments, $50 in audience panel credits, advanced data exports, white label and multilingual surveys

Enterprise Plans

Best for:

People who need shorter surveys or have the budget to pay for more powerful surveys annually.

Survey Gizmo

How it works:

SurveyGizmo works very similarly to SurveyMonkey, but they have more robust enterprise-level plans at their core. SurveyGizmo offers tons of different features at their top tiers for highly complicated surveys, like email triggers and geo-targeting. They also offer branding and customization at their free level, unlike SurveyMonkey.

What people love about it:

“SurveyGizmo's best feature is the user-interface and how it displays statistics, using graphs to present clearly the outcome of the survey. We're able to present at fairly high-level meetings with SurveyGizmo. Presenting to senior staff who don't normally work with hard data is always a challenge, but the various graphs and visuals really help us to convey this. The sheer number of features and services SurveyGizmo offers is incredible, although a lot of these you may never actually use.” - Peter W.

What people don’t love about it:

“Various functions are not obvious on how to make changes and things are not labeled very clearly and it takes a lot of time to explore each of the features and try to understand what they do” -Stephanie S.

Pricing:

Free: 3 surveys, unlimited questions, 100 responses, raw data export, edit colors, fonts, and styles.

$35 a month (monthly)/ $25 a month (annually): Unlimited surveys, questions, and responses. Email support, custom branding, limited answer types, custom reports, limited project types, limited survey scripting and publishing capabilities.  

$135 a month (monthly)/ $85 a month (annually): Unlimited surveys, questions, and responses. Email and phone support, custom branding, limited answer types, custom reports, limited project types, limited survey scripting and publishing capabilities.  

$240 a month (monthly)/ $150 a month (annually): Unlimited surveys, questions, and responses. Email support, custom branding, unlimited answer types, custom reports, unlimited project types, unlimited survey scripting and publishing capabilities.  

SurveyGizmo also offers enterprise tiers for teams, these plans only include one person on each account. To get an enterprise plan you can contact them here.

Best for:

People who need a robust survey tool with enterprise level solutions. People with the ability to pay annually will save a lot of money on this tool.

Typeform

How it works:

Typeform is set apart from its competitors because of it’s beautiful interface. It lacks a few of the robust reporting capabilities and question features of the more research-driven SurveyGizmo and SurveyMonkey. It could be a good choice for researchers who want sleek and easy to build surveys without a lot of complicated features.

What people love about it:

“We absolutely love Typeform for our business. We have created many lead generating surveys and tools to help our users. We have even converted our PDF applications into interactive typeforms so people can complete applications on their mobile device.

Typeform is easy to use, the possibilities are endless, and it is fun for users.

We like the ability to customize typeform for our business using our business color scheme and logo. We also like that we can customize our typeform link when sending to clients. It feels less like we are sending them to a third party software and more like they are still on our website.” - Candace I.

What people don’t love about it:

“When you set up a quiz question it is nearly impossible to figure out how to designate the correct answer. I looked in the Help section and then watched 5 third party videos on YouTube. The answer is that you click on the "Calculator" to add a calculation, which lets you pick and answer.” -Erik N.

“For me, typeform provides too much playful details and they stick on the "skip from one entry to the next" approach. That means you fill out one question and you have to click to skip to the next question. In my opinion, this is not always the best way to provide online forms to your folks. You have to click 10 times to fill out your name and your address, hmm.” - Rene H.

Pricing:

Free: Unlimited surveys, 100 responses, 10 questions per survey, metrics and reports

$30 a month: Unlimited surveys, unlimited responses and questions, advanced question types, logic jumps, custom thank you screen, file upload (2GB storage)

$59 a month (per person): Unlimited surveys, unlimited responses and questions, advanced question types, logic jumps, custom thank you screen, file upload (4GB storage), invite other people to workspaces, remove Typeform branding, Facebook pixel/Google tag manager.

Best for:

People who want a sleek and modern looking survey and don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Google Forms

How it works:

Google Forms is a survey builder that’s already integrated into your Google Drive. So if you spend a lot of time on Docs or Sheets, this may be perfect for you. You can collaborate with your co-workers just like you would in the rest of the Google suite and create simple and easy to use forms. Forms even includes advanced capabilities like skip logic and customization. The best part? Google Forms is totally free.

What people love about it:

“The ease of use, the fact that it's all stored in one place, inside my google account, I love that it's easy to share ownership and data collected from Google forms with colleagues, it's also easy to share data with respondents. This tool is amazing. Efficient and effective for team collaboration and feedback collection. I love that one can visualize the data in various forms once it's collected.” - Susan N.

What people don’t love about it:

“Google Forms is very basic, and while it is user intuitive, it can also be restrictive. There are no options to have flowchart forms, basing future questions off already answered questions. That's why I would say Google Forms is best for simple and straightforward surveys.” - Jacob L.

Pricing:

Google Forms is free for personal accounts and, if your workplace is already using the rest of the Google Suite, it is included in your company’s monthly fee.

Best for:

People who need a free solution with advanced capabilities.

Google Surveys

How it works:

Google Surveys is like Forms’ older sibling. Though many think they look the same, one is much older and wiser. Surveys allows users to create complex surveys in a method very similar to creating a Google Form. The fun happens afterwards, when Google gets you real answers from real people in less than three days. Surveys even packages up your results in easy to digest charts and graphs, so understanding results is a snap.

What people love about it:

“Using google surveys, it is really easy to design a new survey. Everything is readily available from templates to designs, from contents to publishing and sharing schemes. Each and survey can be designed as per the way we want it to be. From choosing specific categories to distributing it among specified group of workers , all of these is easily sorted by google surveys.” - Shawn W.

What people don’t love about it:

“I dislike the lack of visual/theme customization - I would like to create more aesthetically-pleasing surveys and Google does not really cut it in terms of cleanliness and being modern in appearance.” -Prem N.

“It lacks some of the sophisticated features associated with Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, etc., but it's free! For a free product, it's fantastic and accessible.” -Blake B.

Pricing:

Google Surveys works on a price per completed response, which can range from 10 cents to $1 per response. Check out their full chart here.

Best for:

People who are looking for a cheap way to create surveys and recruit people to take them.

Qualtrics

How it works:

Qualtrics is a robust tool, and could have been listed in almost every category on this list. If you’re looking for a fully stacked research tool, Qualtrics is a one-stop shop. Qualtrics includes capabilities for survey building, usability testing, NPS scores, reporting, and recruitment. Qualtrics has an incredible survey tool that creates detailed surveys for almost any market, which is why I’ve put it here in the survey section. It is also expensive for many research teams and needs.

What people love about it:

“I love that I can do everything in Qualtrics' online environment. From programming and testing the survey, distribution to my samples, and analyzing the data. There are really intuitive controls and features within the Research Core and you can do a lot with the built-in reporting features.” - Jake W.

“I have had the pleasure of working with several Qualtrics employees during implementation and found them to be extremely helpful and professional. No matter what I ask, they deliver, and quickly too! Even when I think I have a problem they can't solve, they come up with a solution that works. I also appreciate that the product is constantly evolving and making improvements based on customer feedback.” - Virginia M.

What people don’t love about it:

“Some features other platforms have at standard are very pricey (like dashboards, conjoint analysis) Would also like to see more mobile applications like geo-fencing” - Laury H.

“I dislike the pricing structure. To have multiple licences or logins for the same company it cost more money. Sometimes the little things like resizing an image can be very tricky. Lastly, some of the reporting while good, is a little weak. They've very strong with graphical reporting but when it's trying to report out to us explanations, the format can be very messy at times when you export it.” - Sarah N.

Pricing:

Free: 100 responses, 10 outgoing emails, 7 question types, 1 active survey, 10 questions per survey, skip logic, online reporting

You’ll have to talk to Qualtrics about any paid plans, just hit the “Request a Demo” button at the top of their home page.

Best for:

People who want all their research tools in one platform and are willing to pay for it.

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Usability Testing Tools

Usability testing tools are great for testing with prototypes or even refining fully baked ideas. You can watch as your users interact with your website or prototype, via live interviews that record both their screen and camera or via unmoderated recorded tasks. These usability testing tools offer a lot of different ways to figure out how your users are interacting with your prototypes and live websites.  

Lookback

How it works:

Lookback lets you see how your users are navigating your test in real time or in recorded sessions. Lookback supports both moderated and unmoderated sessions with your colleagues, time stamped notes, and even highlight reels of your session. It also allows you to conduct tests on desktop and mobile, which makes it easier for you to gather insights on both platforms. Fun fact: we’re partners. We offer 3 free participant recruits for Lookback customers new to User Interviews.

What people love about it:

“I really love Lookback. It's a great tool for conducting live, remote usability tests. The options for watching users interact with your website or app, while also doing a simultaneous video chat, are really fantastic. It's also great that you can invite team members to observe sessions.” - Max G.

What people don’t love about it:

“If users rotate the device, lookback stretches the screen and/or records part of it. It doesn't record well where a user has tapped on the screen. For unmoderated, users struggled with the splitting screen or/and how to show again the tasks.” -Helio C.

Pricing:

14-day free trial

$59 per collaborator per month (monthly)/ $49 per collaborator per month (annually): Remote or in-person research tools, test with prototypes on mobile or desktop, invite observers to watch in real-time, create and share highlights

$119 per collaborator per month (monthly)/ $99 per collaborator per month (annually): Remote or in-person research tools, test with prototypes on mobile or desktop, invite observers to watch in real-time, create and share highlights, export recordings and notes, priority chat support, manage project permissions

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who want to conduct unmoderated sessions with video.

Userlytics

How it works:

Userlytics allows you to create user testing scripts and push them out to participants, who complete the tests as unmoderated studies. Userlytics then allows you to annotate, download and share the videos with your teammates. Userlytics works on both websites and mobile apps, so you can get all the data from all the platforms. They also recruit the participants for you, so all you have to do is set up the test.

What people love about it:

“I like that i can easily get feedback for my work which is done. The video recording available to view is also good as looking at their expressions when they interact with my design is really important for me to get additional insights. I also like that I can choose in detail what participants I want, the filters are really good to get good insights for your design.” - Ansell L.

What people don’t love about it:

“Not being able to send out one link that groups varying persona groups even though it's for one project. Currently, it allows me to send out a link to each persona group, but if I'm testing across 3 groups with varying desktop and mobile devices, I end up having a lot more links to share to clients for highlights and reviews than 1 central "collection" for the project.” - Kat K R.

Pricing:

$49 per participant: PIP recording, branching logic, configurable testing, prototype testing, concurrent testing, metrics, limited features.

$99 per participant: 1 custom project, complete with all of Userlytics’ features, except audio transcription, unlimited admin seats, and the ability to bring your own users for free.

$69 per participant: minimum 50 participants per year, but Userlytics offers volume discounts that can lower the price even more. Comes complete with all of Userlytics’ features.

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who want to conduct unmoderated usability tests with users outside of their network.

UsabilityHub

How it works:

UsabilityHub specializes in quick unmoderated tests. This can include first click tests, preference tests, and five second tests. You can also use UsabilityHub to create larger surveys that can help you answer questions your team has about design or UX elements. You can choose to recruit from either your own panel or UsabilityHub’s panel.

What people love about it:

“I would recommend UsabilityHub for anyone that wants fast responses from real people about the immediate effectiveness of their design, copy, media, and buttons - especially for improving bounce rate and navigation issues.” - Verified User

What people don’t love about it:

“UsabilityHub is not suited for testing out items that require a specialized knowledge. For example, we had headlines to test out related to purchasing energy, but not every tester in UsabilityHub's pool had the level of knowledge needed to give a qualified opinion on this subject.” -Verified User

Pricing:

Recruiting from your own participants:

Free: limited tests (2 minutes), UsabilityHub branding

$79 a month (monthly)/ $66 a month (annually): limited tests (5 minutes), unbranded, split testing

$199 a month (monthly) /$166 a month (annually): unlimited tests, open text analysis, custom branding, split testing, post-test redirect, collect demographics

Team Plan (Starting at $396 a month): add team members, unlimited tests, open text analysis, custom branding, split testing, post-test redirect, collect demographics

Recruiting from UsabilityHub’s panel:

In order to recruit from the UsabilityHub panel, you must be subscribed to one of the monthly plans, though this can include the free plan. Responses from their panel start at $1.

Best for:

People who want to conduct a lot of quick unmoderated tests.

Optimal Workshop

How it works:

Optimal Workshop is made up of a stack of design testing tools. Optimal Workshop can help you design:tree tests, card sorts, first-click tests, surveys, and qualitative research. Optimal Workshop offers bundle pricing for all of their products as well as individual product pricing. Their individual products are: TreeJack, OptimalSort, Chalkmark, Questions, and Reframer. They can also help you recruit participants for your studies.   

What people love about it:

“Reframer improves the traceability of your research, the discovery of patterns and themes, and the effectiveness of your team.” - Eric W.

“Reframer generates an output that’s useful for internal teams and for presenting data back to clients.” - Carrie N.

What people don’t love about it:

“You really need to understand how to use tags - for our team, we had to decide beforehand which ones we'd use in order to make sure that we got relevant insights (and not a crazy mishmash). But Reframer also seemed to create or duplicate tags by itself from our notes, which might have been convenient but in fact complicated things a bit further and meant we had to do some additional tag management later.” - Verified Reviewer

Pricing:

Free: unlimited studies, ten responses per study, 30 card sorts, 3 tree tests, and 3 first click tests

$199 per month per user (monthly)/ $166 per month per user (annually): All of Optimal Workshops features with unlimited everything.

Team plans that offer discounts for larger teams

You can also pay for individual tree tests, card sorts, or first click studies for $99 each.

Best for:

People who conduct a lot of varied research, you’ll need to buy in to all of Optimal Workshop’s tools to get your money’s worth.

FocusVision

How it works:

FocusVision offers survey tools, live video sessions, diary studies, and qualitative research. It allows the researcher to conduct interviews remotely, or to create focus groups with a mix of remote and in-person participants. FocusVision also supports 360 video for remote interviews, which makes focus groups more engaging. Each tool is sold separately, so you can choose which tool works for you and pay for that one specifically.

What people love about it:

“I like modular systems and this system is easy to use to capture real-time human insights and analytics. The tool is full-suite of qualitative and quantitative.” - Verified Reviewer

What people don’t love about it:

“Sometime live video does not work properly, quality also get distorted which leaves real user frustrated.” - Ashutosh K.

Pricing:

There are free trials available for each tool, but ultimately you’ll need to request a demo with FocusVision to sign on for their full version.

Best for:

People who don’t do research frequently, and only want to pay for the tools the few times a year they use them.

Loop11

How it works:

Loop11 lets you t create unmoderated usability tests that record your participants’ actions and their reactions on video. You set up the test, customize it to answer the questions you need, invite your participants, and gain insights. Loop11 lets you use your own participants and provides links to recruiting providers in-platform, like User Interviews.

What people love about it:

“Loop11 isn’t free, but it is cheaper than moderated usability testing. You also don’t have to spend much money on incentives as users are participating when they want, and where they want (we’ve written more about this on UXbooth). We still included a small incentive as a thank you for users spending their time completing the test, and as we made sure the test itself wasn’t long it worked out rather well for everyone.” - Experience UX

What people don’t love about it:

“I think possibly the biggest gripe I have with this tool is that it blanks the screen while asking questions. During a task a small control bar appears at the top of the browser window, reminding you of the task and allowing users to mark the task completed or failed. Once either is selected the task ends and the user sees a blank screen whilst they are asked questions.” - The Fore

Pricing:

14 day free trial

$49 a month: 3 user tests per month, 5 participants per test, recordings of screen, face, and audio, unlimited tasks and questions, 5 second and first click tests, participant report breakdown.

$199 a month (monthly)/ $149 a month (annually): Unlimited tests and participants, recordings of screen, face, and audio, unlimited tasks and questions, 5 second and first click tests, participant report breakdown, heatmaps, data export, video download, Slack integration.

Team Plans, which offer discounts per team member.

Best for:

Teams who conduct a few usability tests per month and need video recordings of each test.

Userbrain

How it works:

Userbrain lets you see videos of participants interacting with any live website. The participants will leave audio feedback as they navigate through your site but, unlike many other tools, Userbrain does not include video of your participant’s face. The videos you will receive show your participant’s screen and record their voice as they interact with your website. The other thing that sets Userbrain apart is the ability to set weekly recurring research sessions so you’re constantly gathering insight.  

UserBrain is still a fairly new tool, so it does not have any reviews on Capterra or G2Crowd at this time. We still thought it was cool enough to include in this list for people who want to set up recurring usability tests.

Pricing:

Userbrain charges per test completed, which means one of their participants went through your entire test and completed the process.

Pay-as-you-go: $20 per test

Pay monthly: $14 per test

Best for:

People who conduct a lot of usability tests and have a hard time actually getting in the habit of conducting sessions.

Dscout

How it works:

Dscout is a great platform for conducting diary studies. You create “missions” for your participants to complete and they provide pictures, videos, and notes about their experiences. Dscout has a participant pool of over 100,000 people, or you can bring your own participants. Dscout also has a live interview function that makes it easy to conduct one on one research interviews directly in the Dscout platform.

What people love about it:

“One thing that really impresses me about dscout is the fun and quality they put into what the person uses it experiences. I find that to be surprisingly rare in the field.” -Mari F.

“Everything about the platform is designed around providing the best experience to the participants of the project. Missions work on mobile, which allows people to give feedback on the go. Because it gives native experience, very easy to do what they coin as "in-context" research, where the scout is actually using your product in real time.” - Verified Reviewer

What people don’t love about it:

“I don't like some of the admin controls. Reviewing what happens with all of the data collected by scouts can sometimes be confusing. However, I will say that it has been getting better... they recently revamped the site to make it easier to move scouts into custom groups.” - Verified Reviewer

Pricing:

To figure out how much Dscout will cost for you, you’ll have to talk to their sales team. You can get a quote here.

Best for:

People who want to conduct diary studies.

InVision

How it works:

InVision is a prototyping tool that makes it easy to collaborate on prototypes across functions. InVision also makes it easy to show off your prototypes to participants, with animation and interactive functions that make prototypes look and feel a little bit more real. Researchers use InVision prototypes in usability tests frequently and it’s become a go-to tool in the industry for rapid prototyping and lean UX.

What people love about it:

“The prototypes that I have been able to do in InVision are fantastic, at this moment I have the availability to access them from any device, whenever it is necessary. InVision goes beyond a model, creates a real interaction between a possible client or user and the application.” -Daniel P.

“I love the hot spots and history of the viewers, I use the history portion to find out who on the team has viewed the project and when. I like knowing who has viewed my project, and who is commenting. I love that they have launched their own version of Sketch/Photoshop called Studio and I recently got the beta, it's amazing. Love that I can just open my old files right in the new program. I like the new darker background and the plug-in integration.” - An M.

What people don’t love about it:

“Arranging the screens is not very intuitive. When I upload a screen, I am not sure why it goes and sits in a specific location. I have to search for it and then move it to a location I want.” - Gurava M.

“Currently the software has some limitations within the web app. I think there has been tremendous efforts to make the product work seamlessly with other apps such as Sketch, but when modifying certain aspects such as animation or hotspots on the web app, there are a lot of limitations as far as what the user can do. These limitations, specifically with the animations, can make designs static for the most part and not very "animated".” - Maria G.

Pricing:

Free: 1 prototype

$15 a month: 3 prototypes

$25 a month: unlimited prototypes

$99 a month: unlimited prototypes, 5 team members

Best for:

People who work with teammates with lots of different levels of design understanding.

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A/B Testing Tools

A/B testing allows you to test two versions of something to see which one is better. You can A/B test websites, emails, app designs, or even cups of coffee. During an A/B test, some of your users will see version A and the other half will see version B. A/B tests are great for testing design choices, copy, pricing, or any other single variables on your site. Many of the other tools on this list are capable of A/B tests, but these tools are built specifically for them.

Optimizely

How it works:

Optimizely is all about testing. It allows you to create incredibly advanced A/B tests, which can have many pages and variables. It offers web and development features that allow you to test on fully-baked, live sites, or on specific features as your development team codes them.   

What people love about it:

“That variations are simple to setup and track. I no longer need to coordinate with several departments and wait for the next release to change the CTA on a button or swap out an image. I can do it all on my own in minutes.” - Thomas H.

“I have been using Optimizely for over 2 years now. In my previous role I used another testing and targeting tool that was much more complex to use. Optimizely's user interface is intuitive and the statistical algorithms give you confidence in selecting a winner. The best part about Optimizely is it's support. They have a support line and they will work tirelessly until your issue is resolved. I recommend Optimizely's platform to anyone looking to increase web conversions or provide more personal web experiences.” -Chad W.

What people don’t love about it:

“Preview mode is really buggy. I also wish there was a way to segment the results by audience. For example, if I'm running a different type of traffic to a page I want to be able to see a separate page of data specifically for that. The new goal setting flow is also buggy, but it is new. Hopefully they fix all the kinks as time goes on.” - James P.

“Overall Optimizely has worked well, but the pricing is a bit high.. I suppose it's a case of you get what you pay for!” - Kevin V.

Pricing:

They have a few different plans and tiers, but you’ll have to talk to someone at Optimizely to get accurate pricing info for your needs.

Best for:

People who want to run a lot of A/B and usability tests.

VWO

How it works:

VWO combines the power of A/B testing with its own analytics software. It allows users to build their A/B testing campaigns visually within VWO to launch campaigns faster. It also provides heatmaps to show you exactly what happened in each test and declare a winner.

What people love about it:

“The platform is robust and yet somehow it still feels very simple to use. I like the flexibility of testing options and in establishing results -- keeps it easy for us to setup and manage campaigns without getting bogged down.” -Scott A.

“The most advantageous feature for me is that you can customised traffic to different variables and have more control over segmenting the audience; you can customise a new segment yourself should you wish to. Another cool feature is that when setting the parameters for the campaign, VWO takes into account the number of visitors that would be exposed to the campaign, your current conversion rate for the original version of the page and the minimal conversion rate that you care about.” - Laura W.

What people don’t love about it:

“The basic solution is good but feels somewhat limited in comparison to their top-tier optimization product. However, their pricing for all products is expensive. Their optimization product (full suite of tools) is far too expensive for most businesses and requires a lot of management time - it's not a case of switching on a button and seeing results, the tools only enable you to create tests and track their progress. It's an ideal tool for a larger team of marketers and website testers.” - Jamie M.

“The entire quality assurance process is pretty difficult. Making edits to dynamic pages is virtually impossible out of the box. The customer support tends to be pretty spotty. In my experience, the heat map functionality just doesn't work.” - Jed P.

Pricing:

You’ll have to talk to VWO to get all the information on their pricing, though they do outline plans in their pricing page.

Best for:

People who want to run A/B tests and gather analytics in the same platform.

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Customer Feedback Tools

Customer feedback tools combine the power of in-app messaging tools with a research focus to bring you tools that help you gather insight about your customers directly in your app. Many of these tools allow users to leave quick and easy feedback on things they’re already interacting with on your site. This makes it easy to constantly gather insights and get a sense of how your users as a whole feel about features and capabilities and can be a great complement to moderated, qualitative studies.

Usabilla

How it works:

Usabilla uses quick emoji surveys to gauge how your users are feeling about elements on your site or app. Usabilla will then display your users’ reactions in an emotional trendline to help you see how users are feeling about your website over time. You can ask your users how they’re feeling, or follow it up with a few quick questions to help you gather data about how users are interacting with your product.

What people love about it:

“Setting up a campaign is quick and gets me the info I need quickly. I also really like the tagging and filtering features so that I can organize and make sense of all the general feedback I am getting. This tool have been key to understanding the problems our users face.” - Chrystal J.

What people don’t love about it:

“Last I checked the mobile experience wasn't very friendly, but I almost never need to access it via mobile.” - Claire S.

“Some small limitations in terms of functionality, but perhaps these will be developed going forwards.” - Jonny L.

Pricing:

Usabilla doesn’t display pricing on their website, instead they ask you to schedule a call with them to figure out which pricing plans will work for you.

Best for:

People who need a customer feedback survey that is easy to understand instantly and want to collect both qualitative and quantitative data.

UserVoice

How it works:

UserVoice allows your customers to leave product feedback directly. Users can either vote on updates they would like to see or post their own through the Feedback Portal, or they can submit feedback through a chat widget that displays directly on your site. UserVoice also allows your team to collect insights on their own via email or CRM. UserVoice offers a sidebar widget that makes it easy to input customer feedback directly into the platform from your email or CRM.

What people love about it:

“UserVoice is very easy to use. All the features are streamlined and there is support always available if needed. I enjoy using this product on a daily basis because it provides value. The dashboard is easy to navigate as well.” - Samantha M.

“The ease of use and the appearance of the software. It is easy to navigate and operate. Use this software everyday for work and the fun feature of keeping track of your replies, quick replies and kudos is a fun competition at work but also to see where you stand with answering tickets in a timely manner.” - Kayla H.

What people don’t love about it:

“I wish there was an easier way to merge duplicates rather than having to do each individual one manually by hand.” - Jake S.

“The back end admin panel is nice, with some solid visual representations of support requests and feedback. But replying to tickets from within the system is a bit cumbersome; to the point where I usually find myself just replying directly via email to the client.” -Nick T.

Pricing:

UserVoice doesn’t list pricing or plans on their site, so you’ll have to talk to their Sales team to see if it’s a good fit for your budget.

Best for:

People who want to collect feedback more traditionally and allow their users to vote on product features.

YesInsights

How it works:

YesInsights puts simple one-question surveys directly into your website or email campaign. This allows users to quickly provide you feedback where they are already interacting with your product. This allows you to quickly gather qualitative data and learn more about why your users are doing what they’re doing.

What people love about it:

“I like the method that is used in this software to receive and collect feedback through NPS surveys. It makes things easier since the customers will be able to answer the surveys in a fast way. It's a software that is amazing because of the facility to set up, you don't need to be a professional in these stuff to use this software. Also, the analytics are real.” - Skylar M.

What people don’t love about it:

“The price is high if you want unlimited surveys, but it will be worth it. I think it is $149 per month is because it has a lot of features the other versions don't have.” -Lilian A.

Pricing:

7 day free trial

$20 a month: 1,000 responses per month, 5 surveys, YesInsights branding, NPS surveys, website widget

$79 a month: 5,000 responses per month, 10 surveys, no branding, NPS surveys, website widget

$149 a month: 25,000 responses per month, unlimited surveys, no branding, NPS surveys, website widget

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who need to interact with users to answer quick questions or keep their finger on the pulse of their website activity.

Appcues

How it works:

Appcues adds a layer on top of your existing product to walk users through onboarding processes, new features, or to collect survey responses. This makes it easy for teams who are constantly rolling out new features to introduce them to their users in intuitive way and to collect their feedback directly on the site. Appcues allows teams to collect answers to survey questions or NPS scores on your product’s website.

What people love about it:

“Appcues is a great tool. It is extremely user-friendly, allowing you to create impactful flows that help deliver messages, info and helpful tips directly to your customers. The people at Appcues have been amazing since day 1, always checking in to ensure we found success with their product. I have nothing but good thing to say about Appcues!” - Jessica G.

“Appcues is great, offering a simple, effective and easily set-up method to provide in-system guidance and advice. While some small developer effort is required to ensure that Appcues has the data on which you want to base showing cues, the flexibility of the flows and the granularity with which you can control who sees them is fantastic.” - Dan M.

What people don’t love about it:

“Our tool is built on AngularJS, and as a Single Page App, targeting can be tricky. In our case, we needed to be extra careful with our implementation of the tool to make sure that the flows fire properly, as there are no real page changes to trigger the flows.” - Joseph P.

“Everything is element driven (e.g. show a call-out next to this H1 heading when user is on this page). However, our site has many "hidden" elements on a page, which only display when the user interacts with the page in a certain way. It'd be nice if you could somehow detect these clicks/interactions, and then display tutorials based on that (e.g. on click of this button, show this alert)” - Robert C.

Pricing:

Appcues tailors their pricing very specifically depending on how you want to pay, how many monthly users you have, and which features you’ll need from Appcues. Prices range from $159- $999+ per month, you can check out their pricing tool here.

Best for:

People who need both a feature walkthrough tool and a quick survey tool.

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Analytics & Heatmapping Tools

Analytics and heatmapping tools are great for keeping tabs on what is happening on your site daily. Many of these tools will allow you to take deep dives into your data or allow you to see top level numbers for how your site is performing as a whole. Heat maps will show you what users are clicking on and how they are navigating your site. This can help you understand your user flows and what content is driving the most user attention on your site. Analytics and heat maps give you quantitative data that you can use in conjunction with quantitative data collected through other methods.

Hotjar

How it works:

Hotjar creates visual tools that make it easy to understand what your users are doing on your website. This include heatmaps, session recordings, conversion funnel and survey analysis, in-app feedback polls, and in-app research recruiting.

What people love about it:

“HotJar is easily the best value-to-price behavior mapping software of its kind, and I've used and shopped for several of them. That pretty much sums it up. From heat mapping to visitor recordings to polling functionality, I simply haven't had to look for another solution since I found it, and it is much more cost-effective than its competitors. Its integrations that we have implemented have worked splendidly, as well. 5 stars, hands down.” -Justin L.

What people don’t love about it:

“CSS configuration can get mucky, and the inability to easily leave notes on videos on lower plan levels is really frustrating. In general, recorded session tagging and commenting could be easier and more robust.” -Joel K.

Pricing:

Free: 2,000 pageviews a day, limited reports, unlimited users, data storage for a year

$29 a month: 10,000 pageviews a day, unlimited reports, unlimited users, data storage for a year

$89 a month: 20,000 pageviews a day, unlimited reports, unlimited users, data storage for a year, no Hotjar branding, advanced features

$189 a month: 50,000 pageviews a day, unlimited reports, unlimited users, data storage for a year, no Hotjar branding, advanced features

$289 a month: 120,000 pageviews a day, unlimited reports, unlimited users, data storage for a year, no Hotjar branding, advanced features

$589 a month: 400,000 pageviews a day, unlimited reports, unlimited users, data storage for a year, no Hotjar branding, advanced features

$989 a month: 800,000 pageviews a day, unlimited reports, unlimited users, data storage for a year, no Hotjar branding, advanced features

Enterprise Plans

Best for:

People who need a great heat mapping tool.

FullStory

How it works:

FullStory offers recordings of your users’ experiences on your site. Rather than using a traditional heatmapping or click map tool to see what your users interacted with while they were on your site, FullStory allows you to actually see exactly what your customers saw while they were on your site. How long they hovered over that button before clicking, if they actually looked at your site’s infographics or photos, etc. It also allows you to filter sessions by what happened during them, so you’re only looking at the relevant sessions.

What people love about it:

“Video recording is PIXEL PERFECT - almost 100% accurate to how the visitor really see in the website allows me to understand exactly how my users witness the website. User interface is really flexible, enables me to filter by every parameter exist - time, date and even more complex like user agent.” - Rengado D.

“You can view almost anything about your site visitors using this tool. It allows you to view their sessions, view heatmaps and clickmaps, and analyze funnels. It's particularly helpful when a customer calls in with an issue and we can look up their session and see them experiencing the issue instead of trying to recreate it.” - Yocheved S.

What people don’t love about it:

“As a designer, it can be pretty confusing for me when it comes to setting up segments. Because it can do so much, it means that you have to be very very specific in what it is you actually want to see. It can get pretty confusing sometimes.” - Paco S.

“When/If you hit your limit for sessions in a month, they stop recording sessions until you upgrade or the next month starts. Even if you upgrade during that month, from the time it goes over the limit until you upgrade, all those users that were recorded are not saved and and then shown. Very frustrating that they can't just prevent you from watching until you upgrade.” - Nate M.

Pricing:

Free: 1,000 monthly sessions, 1 month retention, 3 teammate seats, graphs and charts, user information, rage clicks, dead clicks, searching and segmenting, session sharing

$299 per month (monthly)/ $199 per month (annually): 25,000 monthly sessions, 1 month retention, 20 teammate seats, graphs and charts, user information, rage clicks, dead clicks, searching and segmenting, session sharing, heatmaps, CSV export, JavaScript error clicks and maps, live viewing

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who want to be able to watch session replays of their site.

CrazyEgg

How it works:

CrazyEgg is a heatmapping tool that allows you to create heatmaps of the most-clicked areas of your website. CrazyEgg also includes a web editor that makes it easy for you to edit your webpage directly through the CrazyEgg platform. It also allows you to conduct A/B tests of different versions of your site.

What people love about it:

“It's very easy to use, just a little bit of code needs to be added to your website or landing page software and you can use it over and over. This tool, especially the scrollmap, helped show us where people are dropping off on a landing page and what sections need to be removed or improved.” - Renee P.

“Crazy Egg is super easy to set up and it is always well received by team members. Additionally, it is far more user friendly and easier to digest that Google Analytics in-page tool which is why I think it's worthwhile to invest in this tool if you can.” - Lisa M.

What people don’t love about it:

“Over the past year I've noticed bugs creeping in. I set up snapshots and they just remain in "pending" status. It's happened so many time I now have to create a calendar reminder to check back in 6-8 hours and make sure my snapshots have all started. Customer support has not been able to determine why this happens or provide any resolution. The other downside is you only get data on the specific pages you track, and they've now added the ability to split out mobile vs. tablet vs. desktop, so if you want to see how visitors on different devices act differently, that will eat up 3 snapshots for every URL. Nice data to have, it's just very limited, so you have to plan out which pages you're going to track and rotate to really make headway on your site.” - Elaine S.

Pricing:

30 Day Free Trial

$29 a month: 30,000 pageviews, 100 recordings, unlimited A/B tests and website edits, 3 months of recorded storage, 3 websites

$49 a month: 70,000 pageviews, 500 recordings, unlimited A/B tests and website edits, 1 year of recorded storage, unlimited websites

$99 a month: 100,000 pageviews, 1,000 recordings, unlimited A/B tests and website edits, 2 years of recorded storage, unlimited websites

$249 a month: 500,000 pageviews, 5,000 recordings, unlimited A/B tests and website edits, 2 years of recorded storage, unlimited websites, priority support

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who are looking for an inexpensive heatmapping tool.

Google Analytics

How it works:

Google Analytics keeps tabs on what users are doing on your site. It gives you detailed numbers which can help to get specific insights about what users are doing on your site. Plus, the basic version of Google Analytics is free, so many people use it in conjunction with other analytics tools. Google Analytics can get pretty complicated pretty fast, and many people obtain certificates on the Analytics Academy to use Google’s powerful analytics features.

What people love about it:

“I like the ease of use and the ability to make comparisons vs. other days, weeks or months. The app is very user friendly and has a simple interface that gets the information I need right up front without clicking through a bunch of commands.” - Adam S.

“I like how easy it is to just implement GA into your blog or website. I was not really well versed in websites when I started and GA was necessary for people who wanted reviews on their products, so I had to have it. I liked that I didn't have to be a pro to add the HTML to my blog and get started. It immediately started logging all the visitors to my page.” - Erika M.

What people don’t love about it:

“Insanely difficult to figure out how to extract the data we need. And then once we've figured it out, they change the interface and that way no longer works. Also, we get tons of 0:00 "visits" from China and Russia, which makes me feel paranoid... and they also really mess up the data set.” -Julie Z.

“The nature of Google is that it's constantly changing to try and be bigger and better but sometimes this can translate to a poor user experience. Because the platform is constantly making updates it can be hard to navigate. I also wish that it was more granular with some data. Overall Google Analytics is a good overview but it's not easy to get a data drill down.” - Sarah C.

Pricing:

Free: Basic version of Google Analytics, which should work for most individuals and small businesses. Basic attribution models, 200 views per property, 20 custom dimensions and metrics

Enterprise: Analytics 360, which includes extra tools and features for large businesses. To get pricing, you’ll have to talk to Google’s sales team.

Best for:

Honestly, all people with websites. It’s free so it’s a great addition to your analytics stack.

Heap Analytics

How it works:

Heap Analytics collects real-time data as users browse your site and stores it for you to gain insights from. Heap automatically combines data from the same user to build out your user profiles to the fullest. This means even if the same person comes back to your site registered under a different email address, their data will still be stored to the same user profile, making some assumptions about cookies and so on.

What people love about it:

“The dashboard is user-friendly and offers all of our insights in one place. We didn't have to wait days for data like we did with Google Analytics we started seeing data within an hour of installing it on our site.” - Andrew M.

“Easy to implement and setup. It makes it easy for almost everybody at my workplace from the marketing to sales, to accounting department to be able to review data provided, even without being tech savvy.” - Naomi T.

What people don’t love about it:

“Approachability - for more technical users, such as our product team, it's relatively simple to dig into and start culling insights from immediately. For other, less savvy business users (marketing, customer success) there may be a learning curve.” - Calvin H.

“I wish that there was an easier way to track events that a user did a certain period of time after completing another defined event.” -Patrick E.

Pricing:

14 day free trial

Free: 5,000 sessions per month, 3 months data history, 1 user license, low priority support

$299 a month: 25,000 sessions per month, 3 months data history, 5 user licenses, basic support

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who need a powerful analytics tool with user profiles that combine.

Mixpanel

How it works:

Mixpanel combines a mobile and web analytics tool and a customer messaging tool so you can reach out to your users based on real time data about how they have interacted with your site. They have a powerful free version available, which allows you to see a lot of the analytics Mixpanel collects from your site and message a small subset of users.

What people love about it:

“Interface is overall very easy to use and get started with. It does a very good job of supporting some advanced analysis without making the interface overly complex. Cohort analysis is very good.” -Nick D.

“The marketing tool is INSANELY powerful you can configure marketing messages or campaigns based on almost any data you can pipe in. The support engineers are the nicest, best support engineers on the planet (they have incredible depth of knowledge and explain in crazy detail). We see our Mixpanel marketing communications perform 4-5x better on average than our general email marketing messages.” - David K.

What people don’t love about it:

“Lack of flexibility in terms of bringing in other data sources which has forced us to move towards a total data warehouse solution. Ad blocker removes ~5 % of client side events which means you have to be clever comparing server side to client side. No original react native libraries, although plenty of external wrappers available. Could be more accurate collecting initial referrer, also could be better ways to explore your user base. New common journey tracking features would be a great addition.” -Rich W.

Pricing:

Analytics Suite:

Free: 5M data points per month, limited core reports, 60 day history, 3 members per project, core product access

$999 a year: 10M data points per year, limited core reports, 12 month history, 5 members per project, unlimited saved reports, access to all of Mixpanel

Enterprise Tier

People Plan (Messaging Add-On):

Free: 1,000 people profiles

$999 a year: 25,000 people profiles

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who want to combine their analytics and in-app messaging tools.

Kissmetrics

How it works:

Kissmetrics combines powerful analytics tools with email campaign automation. It allows you to collect analytics and then break your users down into key populations so you can keep an eye on how different types of users are interacting with your site and product. You can then use these populations or specific action triggers to create targeted email campaigns that reach out directly to users based on their actions on your site.

What people love about it:

“The product is very simple. It gives me the data I want and is fairly fast at doing so! It has a wide range of what it can do and analyze - which is nice. Across the business we use it for a lot of different things between A/B testing and population analysis.” - Micaela W.

“In a world flooded with analytics tools and dashboards nobody seems to focus on the value of simplicity and the usefulness of defining your own specific web-based business goals. KISSmetrics is not a flood of information, it's quite the opposite: a no bullshit tool that will uncover the honest truth about the results of the your marketing campaigns.” - Kevin L.

What people don’t love about it:

“The set up isn't extremely intuitive. It takes a few minutes to grasp the difference between the "conversion page link" and the "destination link." I think that process could be a little simpler. Although, I love the ability to customize the bubbles with brand colors, verbiage & shape (to an extent).” -Lisa P.

“Integration with my company's database has failed over and over again, and Kissmetrics either shows no data or inaccurate data. The company keeps moving the platform to different URLs. The documentation for implementing database connections has left our dev team a bit confused.” - Nathan A.

Pricing:

To get more information on Kissmetrics’ pricing, you’ll have to go through their sales team. Request a demo on their site to chat with them.

Best for:

People who want to combine their analytics and email messaging tools.

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Research Ops & Insights

Organizing and managing your research projects is no easy task. There are usually many elements to record in user research; from video recordings of the session itself to the researchers notes. There is also the problem of sharing your research with the rest of your team, which is imperative to your research actually impacting your company’s mission. These project management tools offer many different approaches to planning and organizing your research.

Airtable

How it works:

Airtable is basically a smart spreadsheet web app that allows you and your team to collaborate. It links related content to help you sort through your data intelligently. It also integrates with tons of apps you already use, like Slack and Google Drive. I use Airtable to keep track of tasks that require a few different kinds of media to go along with them. For example, this Field Guide chapter was originally just an Airtable row, with a Google Doc linked to it, a status tag, and some links to my notes and articles that were helpful in building this list.

What people love about it:

“Airtable makes it SO easy to create beautiful spreadsheets and database that are organised intelligently! Google Sheets has nothing on Airtable if you have any more complicated organisational needs. The ability to group "bases" by various criteria, to display in different views (Kanban view in particular), etc. make this SO powerful and useful for businesses trying to make their data more useful. We use it for product roadmaps, feature inventories, and conducting user research. It makes it so easy to extract the essential information we love it!” - Chris V.

“Can't really just pick one thing. I love the versatility for whatever I need to organize, whether it's planning an event, managing a content calendar, or a research log. I love the ability to include photos right in the cell. I love the sort and group functions , and the multiple views! So many, many ways to manipulate and view all the same data!” - Nasrin B.

What people don’t love about it:

“I wish there was a way to link cells/rows to other databases (not just tables in the same database). The workaround is to copy and paste data (or use a linking app like Zapier), but it seems like a simple solution to allow sources from other databases. Additionally, it would be nice to have cell linking WITH a filter based on the data in another cell.” -Jerry L.

“For first time users, it can be a bit intimidating, especially if checking out the application, casually. One great resource that Airtable introduced is Airtable Universe, which highlights and demonstrates working and real examples of how companies and industries are using Airtable to track deadlines, scheduling, and a slew of other use cases. I would recommend that as the starting point for any novice of the application or anyone interested in giving it a try.” - Brett W.

Pricing:

Free: Unlimited bases, 1,200 records per base, 2GB storage space per base, 2 week revision history, basic features, email support

$10 per user per month (annually): Unlimited bases, 5,000 records per base, 5GB storage space per base, 6 month revision history, basic features, email support

$20 per user per month (annually): Unlimited bases, 50,000 records per base, 20GB storage space per base, 1 year revision history, advanced features, priority support

Enterprise Tier

Best for:

People who want to create data-rich spreadsheets with links to lots of different content and share them in real time.

productboard

How it works:

productboard is a product roadmap system designed around user insight. It makes it easy to aggregate user feedback from places like Intercom and Slack. It’s main draw is the interactive product roadmap, which you and your team can collaborate on. At User Interviews we use productboard to keep track of user feedback gathered by all members of our team from Zendesk, Salesforce, all hands interviews, emails, and more. Product owns the responsibility or organizing those insights, coding them into themes and attaching them to product ideas and user needs. It’s been a great system for us to make better use of the research we’re already doing.  

What people love about it:

“Makes it easy to triage new inputs and manage research; prioritize ideas and features; plan releases; & plan/communicate my roadmap. Love the ease of getting information into the tool (either using their paste feature or integrations)” -Scott B.

“I've used many tools and techniques for product management over the years. Most do an okay job of keeping track of features and putting them in some kind of an order (roadmap). Where productboard stands above the rest is helping you understand why is a feature important (or not) based on user feedback and industry trends or news.

productboard's 'Research' module is vital for me to keep track of feedback and key insights about features which drive prioritization. In addition, the ability to track interest in features by specific people and companies helps my sales team because I'm able to give them hot leads as we implement product enhancements.” - Matt G.

What people don’t love about it:

“It's fairly expensive. The value is there for the money, but gaining access to this much budget is a bigger process than just "sign up and pay".”- James B.

“It is hard to tell who is doing what when there are multiple editors on one board.”- Heather B.

“On Firefox, there is a very slow scrolling speed when all features are expanded, which can be frustrating. Also, the fact that there are only one-way integrations with Trello and Github makes us create many duplicate features.” - Victor L.

Pricing:

15 day free trial of all plans

$49 per month (annually)/ $59 per month (monthly): 20 contributors, 5 products, basic support

$99 per month (annually)/ $119 per month (monthly): 50 contributors, 10 products, priority support

Enterprise Tier: Unlimited contributors, products, premium support

Best for:

People who need a place to organize user feedback and integrate it into their product roadmap.

Dovetail

How it works:

Dovetail is a research ops platform that stores all your qualitative research in one place. You can use Dovetail to create interactive entries in your research database. This would allow you to upload photos, videos, notes, or anything else from your session that may be useful to come back to later. You can also create searchable tags to help you find specific information in the future, like “feature request” or “usability issues”. Dovetail also creates graphs and visual elements based off your tagged entries to help you see your data more clearly.

What people love about it:

“Dovetails greatest feature is how simply you can tag your content, how you can visualize the tags each project has, and how you can look at each individual tag to see the content you've assigned that tag to...If you want to see all content that is tagged with the same thing, you just have to click on that tag and it all populates. This makes reviewing tagged content very easy!

The system of tagging they have developed is so user friendly! Dovetail is easier to learn than many of its competitors which we have used in the past. Dovetails interface is uncluttered, allowing for users to easily navigate its features.” -Laurie D.

“With Dovetail, research data remains accessible long after any research project has finished. This means valuable insights are no longer buried in reports that get forgotten, but can be continuously reviewed and built upon as new data is collected. Dovetail has quickly become an indispensable tool for us.” -Sophie E.

What people don’t love about it:

“Subgrouping is still a problem. Dovetail doesn't yet support copying and pasting screenshots directly. Can be a major pain sometimes.” - Abhilash P.

“Can be a bit hard to get started - getting your head around notes/tags and insights (they all look the same at first!)” - Sherif M.

“Many features: cross-project search, insights, admin rights etc. are still in development. However, when they arrive, I am 120% confident that they will be powerful! I'm really excited and looking forward to them.” - Sonja B.

Pricing:

30 day free trial

$98 a month (monthly), $49 a month (annually): 5 users, 1 GB file limit, basic email support, knowledge base

$198 a month (monthly), $99 a month (annually): 15 users, 3 GB file limit, priority email support, project access control, video and audio streaming, knowledge base

$398 a month (monthly), $199 a month (annually): 50 users, 10 GB file storage, premium email support, project access control, video and audio streaming, data encryption, security assessments, payment by invoice, knowledge base

Best for:

People who want to focus on data-rich research and visualizations to share with the rest of their team.

Trello

How it works:

Trello is organized around  project boards and cards inspired by Kanban. Trello allows the whole team to collaborate on projects and add cards. It integrates with apps like Slack, Dropbox, and Evernote. I use Trello to keep track of both work and personal tasks. Because it’s so lightweight, it’s a pretty flexible tool. I’ve used it to keep track of everything from content calendars to packing lists.This flexibility makes it a great asset for researchers who want to stick to a Kanban style layout to organize their research data. You can also use it to visualize the different steps in your study, organize potential participants, or to communicate your findings to the rest of your team.

What people love about it:

“I mainly use Trello to document research findings and synthesise data. It helps me document the question beoforehand for interviews with multiple personas, I love how you can color code the cards so you can visualize all the data in one glance, the ability to move cards within or outside the list helps me cluster the data to the right bucket. We also use this tool for remote colloboration where different team members from remote locations can add cards to specific topics and everybody can view all the information at one single place. Comment feature helps us keep the communication going on a certain topic/findings. I also love the fact that all of the items on board can be exported in pdf format for offline viewing and sharing.” - Ashish V.

What people don’t love about it:

“It sometimes feels a little too basic. I could be as easily writing this down on a piece of paper which could be a pro for some people. The tiles going in a horizontal path. Couldn't layer tiles down. You can't really delete anything. Only archive it or move it. Within the tiles, I would like to have check off for the main topics, not just within that particular block.” - Kathryn W.

“It does not allow to create repetitive work lists to be able to do "cycles" of tasks (For example: X tasks every Monday, or the repetitive tasks of each beginning of the month).” -Eyemir U.

Pricing:

Free: unlimited boards, lists, cards, members, checklists and attachments up to 10GB

$9.99 per user per month (annually): unlimited power-ups (integrations), attachments up to 250 GB, restricted memberships, custom board backgrounds and stickers, priority email support

$20.83 per user per month (annually): unlimited power-ups (integrations), attachments up to 250 GB, restricted memberships, custom board backgrounds and stickers, personalized onboarding, priority email and phone support, 2-factor authentication, custom security review

Best for:

People who love keeping track of their research on Post-it notes and need a digital way to keep it all together.

Notion

How it works:

Notion is a super lightweight project management tool. It allows teams to collaborate on notes, spreadsheets, and projects. It also allows teams to contribute to a common knowledge base. It even has a mobile app that allows you to see your team's notes on the go. It’s a great option for people who love minimum frills, maximum power types of apps. You could create a tasks list for everyone on your team during the planning stage of your research, create a spreadsheet of participant data, take notes on your sessions, and post your insights for the rest of your team to see, all within Notion.

What people love about it:

“HANDS DOWN 🙌🏼 THE BEST PRODUCTIVITY, ORGANISATION AND RESOURCE WORKSPACE myself or my team have ever touched 💯

We're huge advocates of Trello, power-users of Slack, data-hungry Google Sheet/Doc fanatics and unloyal downloaders of many productivity, Wiki, task management and organisation apps. With my CTO I often mused the idea of building an all-in-one workspace for internal use that sat as our Pandora's box of goodies ranging from development wiki's, onboarding information and branding resources all the way to task management, meeting notes and even time tracking - lo and behold I stumbled across this gem of an app.” - Rees V.

What people don’t love about it:

“The pricing scheme isn't great - the free plan is great but the attachment limit of 5MB is too small, and the cost per month for team members is way too steep. I always resonate with solutions like G Suite and MS Office, which are priced monthly for way more software. Of course they have other means of financing but still.” - Emmanuel R.

Pricing:

Free: Unlimited members, 1000 block storage, 5MB upload limit

$4 per month: 1 member, unlimited block storage, no file upload limit, advanced permissions, priority support, version history

$8 per member per month: unlimited block storage, no file upload limit, advanced permissions, priority support, version history, admin tools

$16 per member per month: enterprise tier, can vary

Best for:

People who want data-rich spreadsheets, checklists, a note-taking tool, and a knowledge base all in one tool.

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Tools for the Field

Regardless of what kind of research you’re doing, you’ll need some researcher basics in your toolkit. If you’re conducting research in person or in the field, these tools become even more important. You may not need all of these tools every time you do research, but they’re handy to have in your back pocket.  

Good Old Fashioned Pen & Paper

This is always, always, always a good tool to have. A pen and paper may seem like things you’ll always have on hand but in the digital age you never really know. If your computer dies, you leave your phone at home, or you just learn better when you write things down, a pen and paper will always be there for you. If you’re doing field studies or in-person research, consider bringing extras for your participants.

I personally love big sketching notebooks like this one for taking notes. Not because I’m a great artist or anything, but because I like to be able to sort things as I write by spreading my notes all over the page. For writing, I prefer Bic ballpoints, because they’re easy to find and write like a dream.

Have a favorite pen and paper? Tell me about it here and I’ll update this chapter with the results.

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are a researcher’s best friend. They’re still a great go-to for organizing thoughts, creating ad-hoc user flows, or helping participants sort ideas. Grab a few packs to keep in your office and a few to take with you on the go.

Extra Chargers

“Does anybody have a charger?” are the dreaded words you’ll hear right before your participant can’t participate in your study because their phone or laptop died. If you have it in your research budget, pick up a few extra chargers to lend your participants (or to use yourself) during your research.

Voice Recorder

When conducting in-person interviews, it’s important to get all the insights you can. And sometimes your hands (or your note-taker’s hands) just can’t write fast enough. Using a voice recorder will help you focus more on your participant and less on getting the insights down on paper. You can either purchase a fancy journalistic recorder or, if all you need is playback, use a recording app on your phone.

Screen Recorder

A screen recorder can help you capture all of the insights of your remote studies or those conducted in-person with a digital device. There are web-only in-browser recorders, like Loom and Soapbox, and mobile recording options. Some recorders will only capture what is happening on the screen, while some will also capture audio.

360 Camera

If you’re conducting field studies, focus groups, or interactive interviews, a 360 camera may be a good way to get the whole picture. They can be a bit of an investment, ranging from $80-500, but if you need to see your users’ entire view they can be worth it.

So there you have it! A comprehensive list of the tools you’ll need to conduct great research. I’ve tried to make this list as comprehensive as possible, but if I missed anything, please let me know by emailing me at carrie@userinterviews.com.

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NEXT CHAPTER

UX/UR Communities and Resources

A few months ago, I knew next to nothing about user research. I had a lot to learn and just a little bit of time to do it, so the best way for me to learn quickly was to throw myself at the mercy of the UXR community. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic. But it sure felt that way. There are tons of resources out there that can help you learn more about UX and UX research, but I had a hard time finding a good list of resources focused specifically on UXR. So, as I learned, I started working on this list of the places that were helpful to me. Then, I added some places I could see being really useful as I got more advanced. Things like conferences and courses. All of the things on this list are still useful to me, and I think they’ll be useful to anyone who works with user research in any capacity. So here it is, the list I wish I’d had. A (fairly) comprehensive roadmap for anyone looking to get more involved in the UXR community, learn more about research, or hone their skills even further.
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