UsabilityHub: Five Second UX Testing

When you’re designing an interface, usability should always be a top concern. Ensuring your users can have a pleasant, intuitive experience should come secondary only to the actual existence of your content on a page. Achieving such a feat is only guarenteed through testing with real life potential users and that’s where Usability Hub comes in.

UsabilityHub is actually a hub for three different types of user experience testing – the Five Second Test, the Click Test and the Nav Flow test – bringing together valuable data into one, manageable tabulation of useful results.

Five Second, Click and Flow

UsabilityHub hosts three different style of usability test: the Five Second Test, the Click Test and the Nav Flow test. All are available for your use at any tier of pricing so you can make use of whatever you want without needing to needlessly upgrade.

The Five Second Test is all about analysing first impressions, giving your test subjects five seconds to take a look at your design before answering a question or series of questions about it. The Click Test is for gaining an insight into where your users are clicking on your page, what buttons they’re pressing and where their cursor is hovering during the test. Finally, the Nav Flow test takes a look at how users navigate your site and achieve their objectives, useful for making it even easier for them to do so.

Working with UsabilityHub is – not surprisingly – a very intuitive and straightforward experience.

Working with UsabilityHub is – not surprisingly – a very intuitive and straightforward experience.

Creating any one of these three tests is simple and done through your UsabilityHub dashboard. Once you’ve given it a title, set a project name for categorisation and chosen the language, you’re able to add a description to prompt your users before setting your desired test specifics. Naturally, these differ between each of the test types but the process for all of them is simple and straightforward.

When you’ve built up everything you need for your test, you can select define how many responses you want to get back from the UsabilityHub community from your available points – we’ll take a look at how this system works later on. If you’ve subscribed to a paid plan, you’ll also be able to choose to keep the test private in order to only gain responses from the people you’ve specifically shared the test with, which is always a nice feature.

Our test at work.

Our test at work.

Once you’ve published your test, UsabilityHub kindly affords you quick sharing options in its sidebar to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Alternatively, you can simply copy the unique test URL to manually share yourself. The added bonus of bringing in visitors yourself is that they don’t count towards your paid/karma responses, making the entire process free if you’re primarily looking for referred, rather than random, responses.

Usable Results

When you’ve left time for your responses to be collected – either through UsabilityHub’s random system or from your own referrals – the results of your test will begin to populate. The way in which these results are presented differ depending on the test – Nav Flow results will be shown as success/failure while the Five Second Test results will generally take the form of a word cloud, highlighting the strongest opinions by showing them in the largest size – but they’re all shown in a pleasantly-visual manner that makes it very easy to spot where you’re going wrong. Where relevant, other useful information is conveniently presented alongside your results, such as completion time when you’re testing navigation.

UsabilityHub presents results in a very visual way.

UsabilityHub presents results in a very visual way.

Naturally, you can keep a live version of your results going online – shareable through a copyable, private URL of its own – but you can also opt to print your results into the real world, which is always a welcome option though it would be nice for some other export options for additional digital formats.

Pricing

UsabilityHub is available at a number of pricing tiers, from free and above. The free, “community” plan relies on points earned through completing other tests in the UsabilityHub system in order to pay for your own responses generated through the same system. By paying more – at one of four tiers from $20/month to $200/month – you can earn more responses generated through the UsabilityHub system. By paying for any level above free, you’ll also be able to create private tests and increase your tests’ priorities within the random generation – the higher the tier, the higher the priority.

The problem with this is that UsabilityHub doesn’t have a community-facing side or incentive for anyone other than your fellow designers. For this reason, and a seemingly low population of tests in our experience with the service, paying for responses doesn’t seem to be worth it nor hold the ability to provide a diverse sample. The only motivation for paying more is if you want to unlock private testing or if you just wake up feeling like you want to throw a few hundred dollars away.

Final Thoughts

UsabilityHub provides an easy way to create a number of tests that ultimately provide useful results. While the paid tiers don’t offer much above the free option, using the service with your own referrals is definitely recommended for those of you wanting to improve the usability of your designs.


Summary

UsabilityHub is a straightforward web app for creating usability tests and aggregating the results.

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