In this article, I share a pretty honest and candid insight towards my time as a UserTesting Freelancer.
Entering the Digital World
After I left my full-time government job in order to pursue my business and become self-employed, I knew that I still needed to make some money in the interim. I knew that I wanted to transition to working 100% remotely and work online. Began discovering my options, I discovered the interesting field of Usability Experience Design (or UX), which eventually led me to my discovery of UserTesting. After taking over 100 tests on the platform, I have a lot to say. So if you’re interested in hearing some pretty damn honest insight, please read on!
What is UX Design?
Before I get into the meat of this article, I want to step back and give you a bigger picture of what UX Design entails. UX Design, in a nutshell, is the process of creating tangible, hard or software products that are intended to be pleasant, intuitive, and functional for consumers. In other words, UX Design works to find ways for products to be user-friendly. A lot goes into this process and includes product design and interface, packaging, and even branding.
Who is UserTesting?
Now that we have a better introductory understanding of UX, who is UserTesting? I figure I’d let the company speak for themselves on this one:
“UserTesting is a platform for getting rapid customer feedback on almost any customer experience you can imagine, including websites, mobile apps, prototypes, and real world experiences. You’ll receive audio and video recordings of real people from your target market speaking their thoughts as they complete tasks you specify.”
In other words, developers, apps, and companies of all sizes from around the world reach out to this UX company to develop tests on User Experience. Simply put, companies and firms pay UserTesting to provide feedback on how ‘user-friendly’ their products are.
How does UserTesting work?
One of the major components of UserTesting is its R&D arm. Since companies pay UserTesting for research data, they have to find actual product users and consumers somewhere. That’s where you and I come in. You see, because of the demand for UX input, UserTesting deploys Testers from around the globe. Testers are individuals who get paid in order to provide brutally honest feedback about products, such as websites or prototype apps.
While I’m prohibited from going into detail about the specific products tested (because of NDAs), I can shine some general light on what Testers do. All qualify testers receive the opportunity to vocally evaluate a website, app, or even a logo and will have detailed steps that will have to be done in order to complete the test. These tests are typically available throughout the day. If you are examining a prototype app or website, the questions or directions may ask you to press certain buttons, ‘order’ merchandise, or ‘book’ a plane ticket. You as a Tester are then required to think out loud about your experience interacting with the product. In most instances, you will complete a brief survey and write-up about your experience. All of this is recorded and sent back to the subject firm.
Why is this important? Because the companies receiving your input will need to know whether or not their goods are ready for consumer usage.
Regular opportunities pay you $10 to complete a test. Tests can last anywhere from as low as two minutes (I’ve taken some!) To about 20 minutes to complete. On average, they take about 15 minutes to complete. If you’re lucky enough to qualify for enough back-to-back testing opportunities, you can earn up to $60 per hour!
There are also opportunities to serve on a testing panel. Unlike regular testing opportunities, panels are live and often involve you speaking with company representatives (often in the marketing or R&D departments). Similarly to the regular testing opportunities, you will have the opportunity to test out a product and provide verbal feedback in live time. Because these testing opportunities are longer, you can either get paid $30 for a half hour panel test or $60 if the tests last for an hour.
Lastly, when and how do you get paid? You get paid from the exact week you take a test, and get paid via PayPal. No direct deposits, checks on Payoneer accounts. The process is quite simple.
The qualifications to be a UserTesting Tester are pretty simple. Because UserTesting is looking for people of all walks of life, you do not need a college degree or any experience in coding, tech or R&D to apply. You must be at least 18 years of age. You can also be from virtually any nation. Please note, however, that each test has its own specific set of qualifications that you have to meet.
In order to complete a test, you need the following items:
- A computer (laptop or desktop) and/or:
- An iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet (you can take tests on their app)
- A headset (or headphones with a microphone) (I recommend this affordable, good quality set from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VTxeoh ** )
The application process is pretty simple. After you visit this link, you will then be redirected to take a demo test. The demo test will be unpaid and will be very similar to a real test you would take if you get accepted to join the testing panel. Please note that this test is served to vet your ability to think out loud, be honest, and follow directions. It is also important that you are testing in a quiet non-distracting environment at ALL times. Because your success relies on your abilities to follow directions, it really helps you to be detail-oriented. Within a week or so, you will hear back from UserTesting as they disclose your results.
Disclaimers & Disadvantages
UserTesting is far from perfect, and because of that, it wouldn’t be fair for me to provide a review without letting you know about some of the platform’s drawbacks. Here are some things you should be aware of before you apply to join their testing panel:
- Sporadic Opportunities: In my experience, I have found that more often than not, the Testing opportunities on UserTesting are sporadic and random at-best. There were times when I was super lucky to do five consecutive tests and earn $50 within 45-minute duration. On the other hand, there were days when I logged on the platform and did not see a single test available. So if you are looking for earning income from a steady reliable source, this may not be the platform for you.
- Limited Opportunities: Even when you may see that your homepage is filled with page after page of opportunities, please note that you may not qualify for every test link that you see (I learned this the hard way). As previously mentioned, each Testing opportunity and company host is looking for very specific demographics to complete their tests. And don’t even try lying about your qualifications. It will reflect when you are in the middle of taking a test and aren’t able to successfully complete a test because you lied. Not only can you get rated poorly by the Testing Company, but UserTesting could also ban you from the testing panel.
- When you become a Tester, you are an Independent Contractor and are therefore responsible for handling your own taxes from each payment. UserTesting is NOT responsible for that.
- For better or for worse…you get rated on a scale of 1-5 stars after each test. If you’re quiet or hyper-positive most of the time, it will reflect upon your review…and believe me…your overall rating will reflect how many testing opportunities come your way. Keep that in mind.
SO…Is this a platform that I would recommend to any of my friends or family? Absolutely! I’ve earned over $1,100 on this platform. In fact, I have spent so much time informing loved ones about this opportunity, that I felt compelled to write this review. Each of the tests pay fairly well for what it’s worth, and honestly? It’s a pretty fun and easy way to generate some supplemental income. Now, I will conclude this article with some advice pointers:
- Keep the tab open throughout the day (never know when a doorbell-like alert will sound
- Keep open expectations. Because of sporadic testing opps. you can’t expect to get rich. Just see this as a way to earn some side income.
- BE HONEST and keep speaking. The purpose of the testing platform is that developers are looking for brutally honest feedback about their websites and software products. Just telling developer that the products are amazing doesn’t really help, if they are trying to figure out how to make their features more user-friendly. Ya know what I mean?
Ready to become a Tester? Click the link, here!