UserTesting.com is a work-from-home opportunity that pays you for reviewing websites and apps. The work is pretty simple. You download software that captures your screen while you do a set of tasks. For example, you might have to pretend you’re a customer on a shopping site, navigating to find a pair of shoes and then going through the buying process. All the while, you speak a running dialogue about what you are experiencing.
Most of the user tests that you’ll complete take around 20 minutes. These pay $10 each, which is sent to your PayPal account one week after completion. There are some that pay considerably more (we’ve seen up to $70 per hour). Moreover, the site is used by some of the tech world’s biggest players to test new designs. Google, StubHub and Evernote are all customers.
So should you sign up? Is UserTesting.com a legit way to make money at home? We recently went through the entire process ourselves to give you a full review.
Signing up for UserTesting.com is straightforward. You simply go to their website and enter your email address to become a tester.
After you submit your email address, you’re sent a confirmation email with a link to download your sample test. This sample test make sure you have the right equipment to perform reviews and also acts as training on what to do during a user test.
After you click the link in the email, you’re sent to a page where you download UserTesting’s screen recorder. This is the software that will record what you are doing on your screen during the test and also record the audio of you walking through the user experience. It only take a few seconds to download and install. Keep in mind you’ll have to have a microphone to perform these tests.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the screen-recording software, it’s time for the last approval step — a sample video. Don’t worry, it’s not the SAT. You’ll simply launch the software and walk through the instructions on your screen. It takes about 5 minutes to complete.
On our test, we had to visit the National Air & Space Museum’s webpage and walk through a couple of tasks. First we had to find a map of the museum. Second, we had to find what holiday the museum is closed. The key to your test is to follow the instructions given and think out loud as you perform the tasks. At first talking out loud to the screen feels a little awkward. Soon, however, it becomes second nature.
After you finish, you’ll submit your sample for review via the software. You’ll receive another email thanking you for your submission and letting you know that it can take up to one week to hear back about approval.
When we heard it may take up to a week to hear back, we were disappointed. We were ready to review some websites and make some money. However, we received approval less than 24 hours later.
Filling Out Your Profile
Once approved, the first thing you’ll do is fill out your profile on the UserTesting.com dashboard by following the link in the email. This helps match your account up with tests that fit your demographic. It’s important to fill out the information accurately. If the quality of the testers isn’t high, then websites won’t want to use UserTesting.com. That hurts the opportunity for everyone.
You’ll also want to fill out two other important areas of information — your PayPal address (so you can get paid!) and your available devices. The site doesn’t just test on desktop computers. You can also perform tests on your tablet and phone. If you have other devices, submitting this information will make you eligible for more tests. Keep in mind you’ll need to download the app for your tablet/phone if you want to test with these devices.
One thing to note: If you use your tablet or phone, you will download the app from UserTesting, not the App Store or the Google Play Store. You’ll receive several warnings about downloading “unauthorized” apps. We downloaded without an issue on the iPad. It was significantly more complicated on our Android phone, and once downloaded we were told we have to download another piece of software to our desktop to take tests on the phone. We decided it wasn’t worth the extra hassle to take tests on our smartphone.
Receiving Available Tests
Once you have your profile filled out, you will start receiving tests almost instantly. Within hours we had 3-4 tests available. You’ll also receive emails alerting you of available tests so you don’t have to constantly check the website for new opportunities
Don’t get too excited when you see a long list of tests available. In our experience, many of the tests have initial screening questions. You’ll answer 2-3 questions to determine if you qualify. Before we were able to take one official test, we went through several screens where we didn’t fit the profile needed. That was disappointing.
As well, you’ll see tests come and go from your list. We aren’t sure, but assume this is due to tests reaching their “quota.” Our advice: If you see a test, jump on it quickly. You might not get a second chance.
Taking The First Test
Once we finally found a test that we qualified for, it was time to go through our first live test, which was on our iPad.
Here we had to pretend we were booking a hotel room at the Four Seasons in London. We were taken to a special webpage where we searched for an available date, bringing up the room availability. Again, the key was to talk out loud as you’re completing the tasks so the reviewers can tell what you’re thinking as you go through the process.
We had to look through the hotel room options and answer some pretty specific questions about the page. For instance, we had to discuss what information is most important to us when booking a hotel room, how clear the differences between the rooms were to us, and if we had enough confidence in the information shown to actually book the room. The test then continued to the checkout page where we provided more feedback on its ease of use.
Once we had walked through the entire process of booking a hotel room, we then repeated the test with alternate versions of the pages. Finally, we answered some more general questions about which set of pages we liked better and why. The test finished with two short answer questions about what we liked best about the hotel booking process and what we would change.
In total, the test had 22 steps and took us about 25 minutes to complete. Once we were done, we simply clicked the button to upload our video to UserTesting.
Here’s a rundown of all the things we had to complete in our test:
The instructions on the test were clear and submitting our final video took just one click to begin uploading. Our account was immediately shown to have a payment pending of $10. We had made our first money!
In fact, after completing the initial test we were ready to move on to the next one and make some more money. Not so fast…
Waiting for Review
After submitting, we received a notice on our account that our video was being reviewed. In the meantime we wouldn’t be able to complete any more tests. The email implied that this could take up to 48 hours.
We checked back regularly thinking that it might be a quick turnaround, similar to the initial approval process. In reality, it took just under 48 hours before new tests were available. Once our initial submission was approved, we received six more available tests in the span of a few hours.
Summary of UserTesting.com Experience
Overall, we’d recommend UserTesting.com to anyone looking to make a few extra bucks from home. Getting started is simple, the site is reputable and the payments are on time. If you have 20 minutes and an Internet connection, you can make $10. It doesn’t get any simpler.
What we don’t like is that the number of tests that will show as available is nowhere near how many you’ll actually be able to take. After we answered the screening questions before each test, we actually qualified for only about 20% of those available.
Even so, we find ourselves constantly checking for new tests. To us, it’s an easy and fun way to make a little extra cash.
It’s been over a month since we first started with UserTesting.com. During that time we’ve made a grand total of… $10.
At first the opportunities seemed abundant. We’d get six or eight tests a day. Of those, many were mobile (which we weren’t set up to complete). Discounting those tests, we would still have plenty to do. The issue is that each test had a screener we had to complete before we could qualify for the paid test.
Over the past month we must have answered 20+ screening test and have passed exactly 0. We don’t know what UserTesting is looking for, but we evidently don’t meet the bill. Meanwhile the number of tests we receive continues to fall. These days we get about 1-3 tests a day to pick from.
Do you have experience with UserTesting.com? Have a specific question we didn’t answer here? Let us know about it in the comments below.