As a stay at home mom living on one small income, I was looking for legitimate ways to make extra money from home. I came across this thing called website usability testing that pays normal people like you and me to give feedback to companies about how user friendly their website is. I was able to start making money right away, it was easy to learn, and each test took about 20 minutes. You’ll need to do it during the time you are available and it’s quiet (aka no kids talking in the background). Then, you earn $10 every time!
I knew if I did 1 test a day I could make an extra $300/month for 20 minutes of work per day. No experience needed. Here’s what website usability testing actually is, and how to get started on your first one.
What is website usability testing?
Ever wonder how companies figure out what things on their website are user-friendly? Or, what makes someone leave their websites because it’s frustrating to find what you are looking for? Here’s a quick summary.
- Companies pay normal people like you and me to perform a set of tasks on their site (usually 10-20 short tasks), describing what you are doing as you go.
- You mention what is frustrating, hard to find, or confusing.
- When they review your test, they see your screen but not your face while you are talking. Then they can then improve their site based on your comments!
- You get paid (usually $10/test).
- Companies rate how you did with 5 stars being great, and sometimes feedback too. Lots of 5 star reviews means you get offered more tests.
Examples of tasks I have done doing website usability testing
- Target: Place a box of diapers in the shopping cart and describe the process of checking out
- Hyatt: Find and reserve a hotel with a pretend name they assign.
- REI: Locate an item and describe how hard it was to find.
- Ford: Watch a youtube advertisement and then describe what made me want to buy it or not
- Nordstrom: Tested a prototype page to see if I could easily check out ( pretend name)
- Dunkin Donuts: Practice signing up on their login page and describe the process
- AT&T: Compare cell phone plans
Don’t give personal information while performing tests
Know that you NEVER give your real card info out during a task. Usually brands think ahead enough to give pretend info to add. If they do not (which happened to me one time) then just say on the test that you are submitting alternate fake information to protect your identity.
Or, you always have the option at anytime during the test to end the test (in which case you will not get paid).
How to find available website usability tests
I signed up at usertesting.com, filled in a quick profile, and then could start right away. I signed up for about 3 different sites (there are lots of them), but only ever found regular work through User Testing. Here is a great post listing 14 usability testing sites you can join.
Tip: No background noise is essential (like T.V on or kids playing). It can get picked up by your computer and make it hard for companies to hear you. That results in lower ratings, which results in less tests available to you.
Finding tests that fit your profile
Step 1. Open website usability testing site and sign in.
Step 2. Make sure your volume is up high because if a test is available it will ding.
Step 3. When a test pops up, read the description to see if you are interested. If not, ignore or press decline test. Also, check to see if it’s a mobile test or desktop test. I recommend installing their program on both so you get more opportunities. There were a ton more smartphone opportunities than desktop, usually.
Step 4. Press view test. There may be 2-3 screener q’s you have to answer first to see if you are the customer type they are looking for. Unfortunately, a lot of them ask what your occupation is and when I pressed “homemaker”, many tests would announce I was not able to take the test. Just a heads up.
Here is what it looks like to open a test at usertesting.com that has extra screening questions to qualify: Usually, the question is “Are you currently employed?” And I answer no as a SAHM…but I think I’d get a ton more tests if I was employed.
Website Usability Test Example
You choose when you want to do testing. There are always tests popping up, and some of them go quickly! I have done about 20 of these so far, all during nap times on my phone or laptop.
Here’s an example of one test I took and all the tasks I was asked to complete.
How do you get paid to test websites?
UserTesting pays via Paypal exactly one week from the time you complete the test. I’m not sure how some of the others pay.
Once you get 10 5 star reviews, you can sign up to receive a free camera device that allows you to make $15/test. I got one of these, and it sits over your phone or tablet and films your hand movements so they can improve user experience that way.
Do you need experience?
Nope! But I HIGHLY recommend watching their tutorial of someone else testing because it gives you an idea of how much they would like you to be talking, and what comments are helpful. Each company can rate you 1-5 stars, and the better rating you have on average the more tests they offer you. Basically be helpful, only do the tasks they give you, and you will do fine.
How often do you qualify for a test?
Honestly, some days I get offered a bunch, and could easily do two when kids are napping ($20). But, some days nothing comes up I qualify for during the time I’m free.
What I like is that I can be doing something else and just go check my computer when I hear a ding. I am limited to nap time though so the tests I can do are limited to what pops up at that time.
Do I like website usability testing?
Yes! At first, I was SO nervous and it felt awkward to talk to a screen. Now, I’m better at doing it and I just answer the questions and pace myself to finish in 15 minutes. I always set my phone timer to 15 minutes so that I can pace myself. I don’t want to go over (wasting time) or be too short because I could get a bad rating.
Overall, I totally recommend this as a great way to get some extra cash. It’s easy to get started, just go to www.usertesting.com. We don’t depend on it, but I know that whatever I make gives me extra spending money 🙂 And the hubby likes that too!
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