BLOG Four Ways to do Affordable User Experience Testing

Published: Sep 8, 2017 5 min read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

With the advent of User Experience (UX), businesses have been conducting more testing with their customer demographic in mind. A recent study showed that a business increased its Return On Investment (ROI) by 665% because of the UX research they conducted.

But isn’t usability/UX testing expensive? Don’t you have to pay people an inordinate amount of money to come into a lab to test your software? Not necessarily, here are 4 ways to cheaply do UX testing:


1. Do an internal pilot study with a small amount of participants from your business

Often times, there’s a preconceived notion that you need to recruit and pay over 20 participants with the exact demographic you are building the software for. From the financial perspective of a small business, this isn’t always practical. Initially, when first building the software, pilot studies with employees who aren’t directly building the product can be useful. Although it isn’t a feasible testing method for the later stages of UX testing, a quick pilot test with internal employees can provide insights, while being close to free at the beginning stages of UX testing (“Close”, because you still have to pay employees a salary).


2. Survey potential users via social media

Another cheap but useful method to derive user feedback is to use social media. You can survey potential users through your own Facebook fan page. When surveying users, make sure to test something that can be quick and easy for them to fill out. This might include no more than 10 questions asking them generative questions. There is potential for you or some business  to ask evaluative questions on social media, but the potential is less so because that usually requires a user navigating through an interface which takes a significant amount of time and effort. The easier you make your survey, the more data points you’ll have to work with. But, at the same time, you don’t want to ask useless questions. Finding the balance is what makes a good UX professional.


3. Provide creative incentives for users

When people think of user testing, they often associate recruiting participants with money. This doesn’t have to be the case, however. Providing food, and snacks that are actually less in monetary value can incentive users to come to your study without breaking the bank. This could mean baking snacks which come out to being 25 cents per good, or ordering  pizza. You’d be surprised how people value food over money when it’s right in front of them looking good. This step, of course, requires some creativity. So you might want to have a cooking party with your most chef-like friend.


4. Use remote usability testing tools

Allowing users to do UX sessions from the comfort of their own home means you can pay them less. is an example of one of these tools. So instead of having to recruit participants into a lab for user research, you can survey participants from your business while you do other things. This is one of the other main advantages too; with a remote unmoderated testing session, you can let the participants go through the study while you have time to do other things. Once the users are done, then you can start analyzing data, but in terms of having to keep “an eye on them”, you won’t have to; usually participants who aren’t even reading instructions in a study  will be given a low score on the remote usability tool, and won’t qualify for your study.


There are a lot of ways that you can get around the expensive stereotype of UX testing, and by being creative with a touch of ingenuity, cheap UX testing can be conducted with relative ease. Whether it’s baking food for participants, or testing internal employees, plenty can be done to mitigate the financial cost that UX can result in.

Article Compliments Of:

Kristopher Saber