When building a website, it’s important to have a different set of eyes take a look and let you know if you’re on the right track, particularly because there are so many moving parts and so many doubts that can arise. Are the buttons on my site easy to find? Is the banner large enough? How about legibility? Is there a logical flow in my registration process? Which of these two header graphics should I use?
While there are some questions you can answer yourself, sometimes you might need an outside opinion. There are a ton of tools available including OpenHallway, Usabilia, and Silverback that do the job and then some, but what if your needs are simpler?
BagelHint is a little app with which you can create easy usability surveys quickly. Developed by a compact UK-based team called EpicBagel, this service is great for designers and developers looking to get started with UX feedback and testing, with projects that need just pointers and not deep analytics. There’s nothing to install and your results are displayed in real-time. All you need to use it are some screenshots and a few minutes of your time. Let’s set up a trial account and see how we go, shall we?
BagelHint is designed to be as simple to use for users as it is for participants. With this app, usability testing is carried out by means of a survey that you can create using different types of questions. You can add as many questions as you like to a survey and add/remove/edit questions and their order at any time. Although there a fixed set of question types, they’re fairly flexible so you can use them to gather all kinds of data. When your survey is ready you can invite people to participate with just a simple link that you can email or share on social networks and forums.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need some screenshots of your website, design, sketch, mockup or app to work with. To begin, pick a plan (choose from free with a single survey or up to $9 a month with unlimited surveys and customizable logos and messages), sign up, and start creating your first survey. You can add a survey name, a logo to display along with messages to welcome and thank participants for their time, choose to password-protect your survey and then add questions with screenshots for those that need them.
In keeping with its philosophy of simplicity, BagelHint’s UI is very clean, minimal and straightforward. When you log in, you can start creating a new survey right away by naming it, or view your other surveys and launch/pause them from here. The action begins when you start a new survey. There are seven kinds of questions you can choose from:
- The classic A/B test – Upload and show a user two designs and ask which one he/she prefers. Users can respond by clicking on either design.
BagelHint also automatically asks Why did you choose this design? You’ll need to click on the percentages below each to see the comments as to why people chose either.
- What did you like/dislike about the design?
You can add a screenshot to this and users can reply with a textual response. This is great if you’d like to get feedback on colors, shapes, layout and so on.
- Multiple choice question
Users can respond by selecting any/all/none of the text options you provide.
- Is my navigation easy to use?
This is basically a multiple-choice question where users can only select one answer. bagelHint suggests using this to find out if your site sections are named correctly – the screenshot below features an example.
- Where people click on a page
This queries where users would click to complete a task (or click on what stands out most to you), such as where they would most likely look for a login button. You can upload a screenshot for this one too. This generates a heatmap-like result to show where users would click.
- What people remember about your design
This offers users a 5-second view of your uploaded screenshot and then allows them to type what they remember. This is useful but the implementation in bagelHint leaves much to be desired – there’s no preloader in place nor a file/image size restriction, so a large screenshot may not even load in time for most users to see.
- Open question
Ask your users anything and receive textual answers, for capturing age, email address (response is not mandatory).
In a BagelHint survey, participants can skip any/all questions if they want to. The survey creation interface sports a combined view of survey questions and results, meaning there’s just one page where you can create/edit questions and view results below each question. This is good in theory but not in practice as some of the results aren’t easily viewable.
For example, the responses to the follow-up question from the A/B test question (Why did you choose this design?) require you to click the percentage score below design A and B, which isn’t very obvious. Similarly, in the second type of question where you can have users point to specific parts of a design and mention what they like/dislike, you can’t view more than one random comment and there’s no way to scroll through them. It’s ironic that the issues one faces in this usability testing app are in fact usability-related.
I created a survey with various kinds of questions to get feedback on a website I put together for a friend’s metal band. The survey was easy to set up and took no time at all. However, even though I wasn’t looking for sophisticated analytics, I felt that the presentation of the survey and the results could’ve been better organized and a bit more detailed. The survey unfortunately doesn’t allow for much customization beyond a logo at the beginning and end of the survey – which isn’t a good thing if your company looks to maintain its identity across all communication with the public. There’s also no way to export the data you’ve collected.
If you’re short on time and need an outsider’s view on your work, BagelHint is a great tool to use. It’s also a nice introduction to usability testing so you can start to get the hang of what UX feedback is like and how you can improve your work with it. However, if you’ve to present the data to support a design to multiple stakeholders, you’ll probably need something more robust. It’d be wonderful to see a revision of the app with additional features and a few bug fixes so that it can take on more established players in this space. You can get a taste of BagelHint easily with the free plan, so why not take a bite and try it out?