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 Zoom, 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:
And, just to give you a taste of what's to come, here's our 2020 UX Research Tools Map. Not all of the tools in this image are covered in this chapter, but this may help you get an idea of what kinds of tools you may need and where some overlap.
If you want a deeper dive into the map after scrolling through the version below, you can download the full image, or or head to our blog for more download formats and a full rundown of how we built the map and what's new in this version.
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.
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 350,000 ready, willing, and vetted research participants. You can also target over 500 different professions. If you incentivize your participants with Amazon gift cards, we’ll 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 match you with your first participant is 2 hours, though it can vary based on the project. If you’re looking for a solution to manage your own participant population, we can do that too! Our Research Hub Free Forever plan stores up to 100 of your own participants and lets you keep track of when they last participated and even how much you’ve paid them in incentives.
“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.
“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.
“The only downside I have seen is that I'll have repeat participants apply for projects I post, after I've already deemed them "not a fit" from previous projects. I can sift through them pretty quickly though so it's not that huge of an issue.” - Christine S.
User Interviews pricing does not include participant incentives.
Recruiting from User Interviews’ participant base:
Pay As You Go: $40 per completed session
Recruit Essential: $250 a month for 15 sessions
$40 per completed session/ $250 a month: recruit B2B participants based on job titles, industry, work email, etc.
$20 per completed session/ $125 a month: double screening over the phone with potential participants
Recruiting from your own user base with User Interviews:
Research Hub Free Forever: $0 a month for up to 100 contacts in your research CRM.
Research Hub Essential: $125 a month for up to 5,000 contacts in your research CRM.
Enterprise Tiers available
People who don’t want to deal with the hassle of recruitment or giving out incentives.
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. Their average recruitment time is 3 days.
“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.
“The ratio of actually qualified respondents to *technically* qualified respondents is skewed a bit too far toward the *technically* qualified.” - Deb M.
“The hike in fees per incentive has affected how much we're relying on external research and putting more burden on customer research. I would love a way to utilize the service for contacting our own customers, but there's PII risk and so can't take full advantage. Wish that the NDA was simpler - those running studies have told me they opt not to send one because of usability.” - Danielle C.
Recruiting from Respondents’ participant base:
50% service fee: paid after you complete your study and pay your participants their incentives.
Recruiting from your own user base with Respondent:
3% transaction fee for credit card payments
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.
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.
“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
“Ethnio lets us intercept and recruit real users doing real activities on our website and app, in a way that feels natural to them, and well-integrated to our brand and visuals. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it makes to have this quality of participants over traditional recruitment methods, like panels and e-mail. It is also very easy to integrate the user and session information to minimize the number of questions we need to screen participants. E.g. phone OS, number of purchases, which we could then use to only schedule android participants with little experience in buying goods with us.” - Guillermo E.
“I HATE how unreliable it is. I feel like there's always bugs. Additionally, there's many small, hidden settings that are critical to set correctly in order to have the screener work appropriately.” - Verified Reviewer
“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
$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
People that get a lot of their research from their existing users and want to conduct more research directly on their website or app.
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 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. In our State of User Research Report, we found that 26% of respondents used Calendly to schedule research participants from their own customer base and 14% use it to schedule participants from outside their user base.
“Calendly is like having a personal virtual assistant and registration desk and email follow-ups all in one. Easy to set it up and use it to coordinate calendars, signups, payments, integrations, etc. It connects and synchronizes across my multiple calendars and it allows me to avoid double bookings etc. In addition, I'm using it for bookings, scheduling appointments, organizing webinars, coordinating my volunteering work, my team meetings, virtual networking, etc. I love the flexibility to set up my sign up forms and integrate seamlessly with Zoom and other video platforms. I also use features such as text reminders, email follow-ups, etc.” - Svetlana D.
“I love how Calendly is super easy to use. You can quickly create an account, connect it to your calendar, and then update your meeting settings. On the free account, you can't create multiple "events" for people to schedule. It's just one. That was honestly fine for my use case because I wanted customers to schedule a standard 30-minute meeting with me. I like how people can quickly see the days available and select a time. Very simple for them.” - Tyson M.
“I would like to be able to accept or decline some of the things that get scheduled or create an expiring link. The use case for this would be when your calendly link is given out by mistake you could decline and for the expiring link, it would be nice to give a time frame in which they could use the link for certain events.
Another thing I think would be helpful is if you could transfer events to another person in your organization more seamlessly or cancel events on your Google Calendar if someone else takes it without it notifying the customer that it canceled the event.” - Whitney B.
“I've had some times where it didn't sync up well with my Outlook calendar... so I had to reset the program. Also, integrating it with exchange probably takes 10x as long as doing it with Google Calendar or something similar. Updates to Exchange may throw it off as well, and that makes me consider using Microsoft's competitive product. Some customers seem to be confused by the timezone if we're not aligned. For the purposes of not totally trusting the tool, I do ask for people to confirm their time via email or message.” - Reid B.
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
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 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.
“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.
“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.
Free: Connect your calendar, share a link with your availability, ad-supported
$4.49 per month: 1 user, 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, Zapier integration
$5.99 per month: 1 user, 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, Zapier integration, custom logo and branding, custom URL.
$30 per month: 5 users, 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, Zapier integration, custom logo and branding, custom URL, Slack integration.
People who regularly need to coordinate meeting times with more than one other person.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who want to coordinate calendars with team members who use different calendars.
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 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 lets us down. Researchers seem to agree, 48% of respondents in our State of User Research Report use it for their research. 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.
“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.
“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.
Free: up to 100 participants in a meeting, 40 minute limit on group meetings, 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
People who regularly host video calls with more than two people.
Google Meet was the second most popular video conferencing tool among researchers in our State of User Research Report. 25% of people who do research used it for their video conferencing sessions. It’s convenient for people who use their Google Calendar a lot, since it's natively integrated with Google apps.
“I really love how Google Hangouts Meet very easily goes with all my google apps. Especially since I use gmail and GCalendar on a daily basis. It really helps that I can simply pop a chat and call without the need to download anything else (which means I can use it on any unit without much setup!). Its GCal integration is superb at keeping my focus on only the call, and not need to think about what to download or where the link is.” - Daniel Kent F.
“It makes meeting easier. Especially when it comes to vendor partners that are out of state, it makes it easy to connect face-to-face instead of on a call. Additionally audio is sooooo much crisper. I don't have the issues I typically do on phone calls saying "Hey, I missed that. Can you repeat yourself?" over and over and over again.” - Jason N.
“Google's messaging and meeting platform is full of confusion. The fact that I started out thinking I was writing a review for Google Hangouts and then I ended up on the Google Meet review page is a good summary of this bungled world of messaging. Google is not a reliable company when it comes to communication. They have gone back and forth on Hangouts, Meet, Messenger, Wave, Plus, Duo, Allo... you name it, they have it, and nothing has really lasted forever. Google Meet works for now, but who knows where it will be in a year!” - Nadir S.
“I don't like that in the invite you have to choose the Google meet button. It doesn't automatically have a screen share link. You have to initiate it when setting up the invite. I had trouble at first customizing my day/times for repetitive meetings. I wish this feature was separated out and more defined to the user. I wish there was an option for the chat to be sent to you after the meeting so you don't lose the conversation altogether. I don't like that there doesn't seem to be a way to sync your phone if you call in by phone and then, enter the google meet by email. I wish this was a smoother process. At the present time, I'll hang up once in the google meet and have the session dial me back in. Otherwise, it is confusing to see a coworker's name in the google meet and a no-name phone number.” - Kathryn W.
Free: Unlimited meetings up to 1 hour long, 100 participants, self-serve support
$10 per user per month: Unlimited meetings up to 300 hours long, 150 participants, 24/7 chat support, part of G Suite Essentials, so it includes Docs, Calendar, Drive, etc.
$20 per user per month: Unlimited meetings up to 300 hours long, 250 participants, 24/7 chat support, part of G Suite Enterprise Essentials, so it includes Docs, Calendar, Drive, etc.
People who use primarily Google apps and are looking for a low-cost solution.
Skype is one of the most common video conferencing services around. Researchers seem to like it too, and 20% of our respondents in the State of User Research Report used it for their research. It has a robust phone calling feature set, which allows users to call from a Skype number and place calls around the world. It’s also owned by Microsoft, and a part of Microsoft teams. If your company is on Microsoft teams, Skype may be the most convenient option for you.
“I love that I can use Skype across all of my devices. Unlike Facetimme, it's not limited to an Iphone or Android. They also make it easy to use at work and for business purposes. It's pretty cool to be able to participate in business meetings around the country without even having to physically be there.” - Anna P.
“Skype has been able to integrate some great features into its platform (screen sharing, call history, missed call log, etc). The user interface is also appealing and easy to navigate to find the features you need. It is also sometimes helpful to be able to use Skype to make a regular call, and add them to a conference call” - Gary H.
“I dont like that in Skype when you do calls the background noise is not removed and everything can be heard from the receiving call. In Mobile the chat sometimes stays stuck in my Iphone X, its a glitch that really hurts the mobile experience. Another bad experience would be with the international call rates, the rates vary throughout different countries, like I mentioned I need to make calls for marketing research purposes and the different rates affect my experience, the latest done was on Peru and Chile, this impacted the budget we had established.” - Oscar Leonardo R.
“The video quality is mediocre at best. Skype used to be the go to program for video chatting and video conferencing but has seemed to lag behind in the last few years. Now to be fair, this can be an issue related to the network within your company but overall it is not my first choice.” - Verified User
Skype is free for personal use, but there are many different pricing options depending on what you use Skype for.
People who use Microsoft products or Microsoft teams for work.
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.
“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.
“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.
30 Day Free Trial
$12.49 per month per host (monthly), $9.99 per month per host (annually): meet with up to 50 participants, unlimited 1:1 meetings, unlimited meeting time, dial-in number
$17.49 per month per host (monthly), $13.99 per month per host (annually): meet with up to 75 participants, unlimited meetings, dial-in number, 25 hours of recording per host, BlueJeans Command Center Analytics
Teams who need to host large 10+ people meetings regularly and record their meetings.
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.
“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.
“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.
Free 14 day Trial
$14 a month (monthly)/ $12 a month (annually): Unlimited meetings, dial in line, no meeting time limits, meeting lock.
$19 a month (monthly)/ $16 a month (annually): Unlimited meetings, dial in line, no meeting time limits, meeting lock, integrations with Slack, Office 365, Google Calendar, and Salesforce, transcription, note-taking within GoToMeeting.
People who want an in-browser conference calling software. GoToMeeting has extra features like transcription and in-app note taking that make it a good choice for researchers in particular.
Whereby is a lightweight, in-browser solution for video conferencing. It has simple meeting links that are unique to you and easy to share with others. It offers custom branded rooms for professional accounts, making it a good solution for teams that want something that feels custom.
“I love how my clients do not need to download any pesky software, the meeting room is instant meaning - you do not have to let people in. I can't tell you how tedious this can be if you are the meeting host and in the middle of the meeting to only realise there is a queue of latecomers.
It is really nice that they simply click the link and are instantly in the meeting room. It's fast, it's easy and I swear by whereby. I have tried Zoom, google meet/hangouts as well as go to meeting in the past. My businesses serves more than 350 clients hosting video coaching sessions and it's the backbone of our business and we couldn't do it without whereby.” - Nadia B.
“I have had numerous issues with my research participants dropping off, not being able to connect or getting frustrated because of the video call software. Not having to to explain in entire paragraphs to participants how to connect is wonderful!” - Iona G.
“The only thing I don't like is the fact I can not integrate with Calendly.” - Isabel S.
“Sometimes the video becomes hugely delayed and sometimes the sound drops out. It is not often thankfully.” - Justin R.
Free: 1 user, 1 meeting room. Meetings with up to 4 participants, calendar integrations, desktop and mobile access, calendar integrations.
$9.99 a month: 1 user, 3 meeting rooms. Meetings with up to 12 participants, branded rooms, calendar integrations, desktop and mobile access, calendar integrations.
$59.99 a month: multiple users and admins, 10 meeting rooms. Meetings with up to 50 participants, custom domain, meeting recordings, branded rooms, calendar integrations, desktop and mobile access, calendar integrations.
Small to medium teams looking for a lightweight, in-browser video solution.
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 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 Capterra 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.
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
People who do a lot of interviews and need a tool to keep more consistent notes.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who need a place to keep their notes and want to enrich them with handwritten pieces or web clippings.
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.
“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
“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
$39.99 one time fee: 1 user
$54.99 one time fee: 1+ users
Mac users who need visual context for their notes.
Transcription can help you keep track of what happens during your research sessions. In our State of User Research Report, we found that 49% of people who do research use transcription to take notes in their sessions. While transcription used to be an expensive add-on, AI-driven tools have made the process more affordable. We’ll cover a number of different tools you can use to transcribe your research interviews.
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.
“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.
“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
$0.25 per minute of machine-generated transcriptions.
$1.25 per minute of human-generated transcriptions or video captions.
$3-7 per minute of foreign language subtitles
$20 per user: live captions for Zoom meetings
People who want high quality transcripts and have the budget to pay for Rev’s service.
Reduct is a transcription tool built specifically for research. It uses human-created transcripts and allows researchers to edit, search, and tag videos from research sessions. It stores a library of the videos you upload and allows you to easily create highlight reels from your sessions. Reduct is a great tool for researchers who need transcription and repository solutions for their research projects. It’s still an early-stage company, so you’ll have to chat with sales for pricing and a lot of the features are still in beta.
“A few months ago, we were introduced to Reduct.Video. It seemed too good to be true! We now upload our videos to them, and they create the transcripts. Their software allows us to view the transcript online, highlight the relevant text, and it immediately creates a new video from the highlighted text.” - Jim T.
Since Reduct is so new, there aren’t a lot of reviews out there! Some of the potential cons could be that some of the features are still in beta, and the pricing is not publicly available. But if Reduct sound like it could work for you, they offer a demo so you can try it out!
You have to chat with Reduct’s sales team to learn about pricing.
Researchers who would benefit from a library of their videos and don’t mind chatting with Reduct’s sales team to learn about pricing.
Otter.ai is an AI powered transcription software that allows you to transcribe audio quickly and on a budget. The main thing that sets Otter.ai apart from its competitors is its ability to create real-time transcriptions that are searchable in minutes. There’s a free version so you can try it out with up to 600 minutes of transcription.
“Otter has literally saved my rear on more than one occasion. As a journalist, transcribing takes an insane amount of time, and Otter makes my life that much easier by transcribing interviews not only quickly but thoroughly. So many people in my company use it because the technology is superior to us just taking notes. I love that it is user friendly and I don't need some software for it, it's just there for me via the web.” - Alexandra R.
“Otter records and transcribes in real time at the same time. You literally can see the transcription being written as you speak and are recorded. There is not another platform that does this as Otter does. It's high quality and dependable, too. I can share these recordings with others by sending a link.” - Jan S.
“The voice recognition is a B-. It only sometimes realizes that a new voice has started talking, and doesn't always recognize repeating voices. But it is such an easy thing to manually fix, its a really minor complaint.” - Kirk W.
Free: up to 600 minutes of transcriptions, real-time transcription, searchable and editable files.
$8.33/$9.99 per user per month: up to 6,000 minutes of transcriptions, real-time transcription, searchable and editable files, import files, custom vocabulary, bulk import and export.
$20/$30 per user per month: up to 6,000 minutes of transcriptions, real-time transcription, searchable and editable files, import files, custom vocabulary, bulk import and export, Zoom integration, time codes.
People who don’t have a lot of transcription to do each month and need a free tool.
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.
“It's an easy software to use even without experience in video editing or transcription. Even when I logged in for the first time I found it easy to navigate and do what I needed.” - Adam B.
“I used trint to help save time on a massive translation project I was doing. The ability to go through multiple languages made it a dream and saved me about 20 hours of work. There were minimal errors and overall a pleasant interface” - Ethan L.
“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.
“The transcription is pretty good when you have a high quality audio, but if you have audio quality that isn't perfect then the transcription can be a bit rough.” - Stephanie C.
$48 per month: 1 user, transcribe 84 files per year, access to Trint’s editor
$60 per month: 1 user, unlimited day-to-day transcription, access to Trint’s editor
$68 per month: 1 user, unlimited day-to-day transcription, share links to transcripts, read-only versions, collaborative editing, access to Trint’s editor
$68 per user per month: 2-10 users, unlimited day-to-day transcription, share links to transcripts, read-only versions, collaborative editing, shared workspaces, access to Trint’s editor
Enterprise tier for 11+ users
Teams that frequently need lots of transcriptions and don’t mind doing a few fixes themselves.
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 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.
“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.
“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.
Free: Create unlimited surveys with 10 questions each, view 100 responses, get responses via web, social, and email.
$32 a month (annually): 1 user, create unlimited surveys with unlimited questions and up to 5,000 responses per month, unlimited filters & crosstabs, trended data, custom branding on surveys, skip logic, question and answer piping, A/B testing, email support, accept payments.
$99 a month (monthly): 1 user, create unlimited surveys with unlimited questions and up to 1,000 responses per month, skip logic, custom branding.
$99 a month (annually): 1 user, 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, advanced data exports, white label and multilingual surveys
$25 per user per month (annually): 3+ users, 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
$75 per user per month (annually): 3+ users, 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, advanced data exports, white label and multilingual surveys, API access.
People who need shorter surveys or have the budget to pay for more powerful surveys annually.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who need a free solution with advanced capabilities.
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.
“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.
“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.
Free: 3 surveys, 100 responses per month, 10 questions per survey, metrics and reports
$30/$35 a month: Unlimited surveys and questions, 1,000 responses per month, advanced question types, 3 logic jumps per survey, custom thank you screen, calculator for quizzes and payments.
$35/$50 a month: Unlimited surveys and questions, 5,000 responses per month, unlimited logic jumps, advanced question types, logic jumps, custom thank you screen, invite other people to workspaces, import data from hidden fields, Facebook pixel/Google tag manager.
$59/$70 a month: Unlimited surveys and questions, 10,000 responses per month, unlimited logic jumps, advanced question types, logic jumps, custom thank you screen, invite other people to workspaces, import data from hidden fields, Facebook pixel/Google tag manager, remove Typeform branding, priority support.
People who want a sleek and modern looking short survey and don’t have a lot of money to spend.
Survicate is a great way to collect 1 question responses to surveys. It can be embedded directly into your website to collect feedback from your customers in-context. You can also use it to collect NPS scores. It may not be ideal for researchers wanting to conduct detailed and in-depth surveys, but is a great option for gathering quick feedback, especially if you plan on using integrations with Intercom or another tool.
“Survicate's simple and powerful tools and the ability to deliver these surveys quickly to our users through their Intercom integration gave us the ability to turn around professional qualitative and quantitative measurement through surveys that looked native to Intercom. Engagement is 10x that of surveys delivered through other channels, and in a matter of hours we would gather thousands of responses to help our product and UX teams make critical decisions.” - Michael M.
“It's really quick and easy to get a new survey set up and customized. The summaries are also excellent. It's wonderful that summaries can be sent to different people in our organizations at different times: i.e. that our customer service team gets alerted immediately, while other departments receive a weekly summary. And the customer service is top-notch. They're very involved with pro-active support, and respond quickly to chats.” - Sarah O.
“A few bugs here and there. We have trouble with the email notifications not going out due to the thank you page 'failing'. I have also noticed that my survey data does not flow into Google Sheets as well as I would hope.” - Verified Reviewer
“Technical support can get a bit too slow when issues are too technical. The documentation they have available is not the best in class.” - Raul G.
Free: 100 responses a month, skip logic, Hubspot, Intercom, etc. integrations, email embeddable surveys, 1 month data retention.
$49/$99 a month: 1,000 responses a month, skip logic, Hubspot, Intercom, etc. integrations, email embeddable surveys, export to csv, Google Sheets integration, answer piping, question redirect, 6 months of data retention.
$99/$199 a month: 5,000 responses a month, skip logic, Hubspot, Intercom, etc. integrations, email embeddable surveys, export to csv, Google Sheets integration, answer piping, question redirect, Survicate branding removed, automated recurring surveys, 2 years data retention.
$249/$499 a month: 25,000 responses a month, skip logic, Hubspot, Intercom, etc. integrations, email embeddable surveys, export to csv, Google Sheets integration, answer piping, question redirect, Survicate branding removed, automated recurring surveys, premium integrations, webhooks, 5 years data retention.
People who want a quick embeddable survey and don’t expect to have many responses per month.
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.
“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.
“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.
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
People who need to interact with users to answer quick questions or keep their finger on the pulse of their website activity.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who are looking for a cheap way to create surveys and recruit people to take them.
Survey Legend is a survey tool that enables researchers to create simple surveys. It’s best for researchers who want to create simple surveys and want an easy-to-use interface to help them build their surveys. It has a free version with unlimited questions, so if you want something that’s a step up from Google Forms and need lots of questions, Survey Legend may be a good fit for you.
“I was introduced to Survey Legend by a friend after having tried without success quite a few similar products. I was quickly impressed by the practical layout and the fact that every step was explained thoroughly. What I like most about Survey Legend is that it doesn't have a limit of questions - instead, you can include as many questions as possible and design a personalized survey.” - Vasiliki B.
“I love the interface. It is very easy to navigate through the different options and extremely easy to make a professional looking questionnaire. It has all the potential features that one might need, all types of questions, wide range of backgrounds and styles to choose from, and other valuable and time sparing features (like analytics features and automatic the making of graphs)” - Elena S.
“Question types are limited and available questions are not customizable as well. For example, I want to insert a prioritization question, but I cannot do it with available tools. I have to compromise with my survey and ask such questions in different ways. Also designing seperate questions is also not available. For example, I have several likert-type questions but I have only a carousel-type of a design for all of them. I cannot see all the subquestions together in a table. Finally, I couldn't upload all or a part of my questions at once. I had to write them again.” - Emin Çetin H.
“SurveyLegend on portable devices sometimes appears to be crashy and often freezes, so the application dedicated for Android should be more polished and the projects may be quick developed by fixing issues and adding new facilities. Moreover, it would be great if designers supplied customers with more comprehensive model collection.” - Marcio D.
Free: 3 surveys, 6 pictures, no data export, 1 conditional logic, ads and SurveyLegend watermark.
$15 a month: 20 surveys, 30 pictures, data export for 1,000 responses, 10 conditional logic, ads and SurveyLegend watermark.
$25 a month: Unlimited surveys and pictures, data export for 10,000 responses, unlimited conditional logic, SurveyLegend watermark.
$65 a month: Unlimited surveys and pictures, data export for unlimited responses, unlimited conditional logic, white label.
People who need to create simple surveys longer than 10 questions and need a free tool.
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 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.
“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.
“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.
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
People who want to conduct unmoderated sessions with video.
PingPong focuses specifically on moderated remote user research studies. 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.
“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.
“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.
75 € per credit: 30 minute interview with someone from their instant pool. A 60 minute interview is 1.5 credits. Their standard incentive is included in this fee.
People who need immediate access to research participants in Europe and only need to conduct remote testing.
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, which can make them a good option for those looking to do quick usability testing.
“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.
“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.
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.
People that need to recruit people quickly for their studies. UserTesting is also great for recruiting niche audiences.
Validately 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. Validately has mobile and desktop integrations, so it’s great for people who want to test in those contexts.
“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.
“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
Validately requires customers to subscribe to a monthly plan + pay a recruitment fee for each participant recruited. Validately’s prices include participant incentives.
$299 a month: 1 researcher seat, no collaborator seats, BYO moderated and unmoderated testing, 2 screener questions, desktop and mobile testing, iOS and Android native app testing, 15 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: 2 researcher seats, 1 collaborator seat, moderated and unmoderated testing, desktop and mobile testing, iOS and Android native app testing, 40 studies per year, unlimited recordings, free to test on your own users, $15 per unmoderated test participant, $150 per moderated test participant
$999 a month: 3 researcher seats, 5 collaborator 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
People that run a lot of unmoderated testing and need to consistently recruit participants.
Loop11 lets you 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.
“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
“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
14 day free trial
$69 a month: 3 user tests per month, 10 participants per test, recordings of screen, face, and audio, unlimited tasks and questions, 5 second and first click tests, participant report breakdown.
$249 a month: 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.
Teams who conduct a few usability tests per month and need video recordings of each test.
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.
“How simple the platform was and that it was half the price per video, i.e. per user review, when compared to other platforms. However, most impressive was the customer service. When there was something I couldn't do I emailed them and I got quick response from Markus who helped me sort the issue.” - Narelle M.
“HALF OF TEST FEEDBACK IS USER READING THE TASK and buggering around with their computer or lack of IT skills eg to click on images to enlarge. Some users just don't actually say much they just read it all out again. Some users do desktop tests on mobile. This must be prevented. English users tending to be more articulate than US. Lack of demographic section eg income, location in more depth. User background and preferences eg Android or iOS etc. Make sure purchase journey is simpler and easier. To be valid we need a minimum of 5-6 so use that methodological basis for pricing and bundling.” - Clare M.
Userbrain charges per test completed, which means one of their participants went through your entire test and completed the process.
Pay-as-you-go: $29 per test
Pay monthly: $19 per test
People who conduct a lot of usability tests and have a hard time actually getting in the habit of conducting sessions.
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.
“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.
“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.
$49 per participant: PIP recording, branching logic, configurable testing, prototype testing, concurrent testing, basic demographic filtering, metrics, limited features.
$99 per participant: PIP recording, branching logic, configurable testing, prototype testing, concurrent testing, advanced demographic filtering, metrics, special recruitment services.
$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.
People who want to conduct unmoderated usability tests with users outside of their network.
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.
“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
“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
Free: limited tests (2 minutes), UsabilityHub branding
UsabilityHub offers unlimited upgraded tests starting at $100 per user per month. You can also recruit people from their panel starting at $1 per panelist.
People who want to conduct a lot of quick unmoderated tests.
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.
“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
“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.
UserZoom does not list their prices on the website. If you’d like to find out which plan works for you, contact them here.
UserZoom allows researchers to manage their own studies, but may work best for teams who want to outsource the entire research process.
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.
“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
“Sometime live video does not work properly, quality also get distorted which leaves real user frustrated.” - Ashutosh K.
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.
People who don’t do research frequently, and only want to pay for the tools the few times a year they use them.
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.
“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.
“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.
Free Survey Tool: 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.
People who want all their research tools in one platform and are willing to pay for it.
Specialized testing tools help you carry out specific kinds of tests that don’t fall neatly into another category. Things like card sorts and diary studies fit here and these tools can help you expand your existing stack for more specialized tests.
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.
“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
“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
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.
People who want to conduct online diary studies.
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.
“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.
“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
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.
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.
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 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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who want to run a lot of A/B and usability tests.
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. VWO has a robust set of products that can cover a lot of your website testing if you’re willing to pay for 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.
“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.
You’ll have to talk to VWO to get all the information on a full stack plan, but they outline plans for individual parts of their product.
VWO Testing: from $199 a month. A/B testing, multivariate testing, split URL testing.
VWO Insights: from $169 a month. Session Replays, Heatmaps, Form Analytics & On-page Surveys.
VWO Engage: from $99 a month. Talk to your visitors after they drop off through web push notifications & Facebook messenger.
People who want to run A/B tests and gather analytics on the same platform.
Automated feedback tools help you gather feedback continuously. Typically this is done through a form on your website or product. Things like NPS scores and on-site surveys are automated feedback. These 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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who need both a feature walkthrough tool and a quick survey tool.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who need a customer feedback survey that is easy to understand instantly and want to collect both qualitative and quantitative data.
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 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.
“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.
“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.
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
People who need a great heat mapping tool.
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.
“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.
“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.
30 Day Free Trial
$24 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
People who are looking for an inexpensive heatmapping tool.
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.
“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.
“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.
You’ll have to have a demo with the FullStory team to learn more about pricing.
People who want to be able to watch session replays of their site.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
Honestly, all people with websites. It’s free so it’s a great addition to your analytics stack.
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.
“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.
“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.
14 day free trial
Free: 3 months data history, 1 user license, low priority support
All paid plans require you to get in contact with Heap’s sales team, but they outline their plans here.
People who need a powerful analytics tool with user profiles that combine.
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.
“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.
“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.
$299 a month: 10k monthly tracked users, 3 user seats, 1 tracked domain, 10 populations. Analytics dashboard, activity report, path report, user tracking.
$499 a month: 25k monthly tracked users, 10 user seats, 3 tracked domains, 20 populations. Analytics dashboard, activity report, path report, user tracking, revenue report, cohort report.
People who want to combine their analytics and email messaging tools.
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.
“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.
“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.
Free: 1,000 monthly tracked users, all analytics features, unlimited seats, 90 day data history.
$89+ per month: 1,000+ monthly tracked users, all analytics features, unlimited seats, 12 month data history.
Mixpanel plans scale based on how many monthly users you need to track, and you’ll need to chat with them if you want to track more than 1,000 monthly users.
People who want to combine their analytics and in-app messaging tools.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
7 day free trial
$100 per month: 5 contributors, unlimited viewer accounts, up to 50GB of video and file storage, unlimited projects and notes, integrations through Zapier, granular user permissions, project templates, encrypted data and backups.
$600 per month: 10 contributors, unlimited viewer accounts, up to 50GB of video and file storage, unlimited projects and notes, integrations through Zapier, granular user permissions, project templates, encrypted data and backups, custom security protocols and payment terms, dedicated customer success manager.
People who want to focus on data-rich research and visualizations to share with the rest of their team.
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.
“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.
“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.
15 day free trial of all plans
$49 per month (annually)/ $59 per month (monthly): 5 contributors, 10 viewers, 1 product, basic support
$99 per month (annually)/ $119 per month (monthly): 20 contributors, unlimited viewers, 5 products, basic support
$199 per month (annually): 50 contributors, unlimited viewers, 10 products, priority support
Enterprise Tier: Unlimited contributors, products, premium support
People who need a place to organize user feedback and integrate it into their product roadmap.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
People who want to collect feedback more traditionally and allow their users to vote on product features.
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.
“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.
“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.
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
People who want data-rich spreadsheets, checklists, a note-taking tool, and a knowledge base all in one tool.
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.
“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.
“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.
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
People who want to create data-rich spreadsheets with links to lots of different content and share them in real time.
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.
“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.
“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.
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
$17.50+ 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
People who love keeping track of their research on Post-it notes and need a digital way to keep it all together.
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.
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 article with the results.
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.
“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 field research.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
One last thing. If you're caught between paying for an expensive all-in-one research solution and sifting through the many options outlined above, you might consider starting with the UX Research Flex Stack, a set of 8 UX research tools (including User Interviews!) that can help you build a high-quality, affordable tool set for your entire workflow, from recruiting to gathering insights to analyzing research.