UserTesting Review: Make Money User Testing Apps and Websites?

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This UserTesting review was one of the first pieces of content ever published on HomeWorkingClub. Now, as I return to update it over a year later, UserTesting remains one of my favourite ways to earn some money on the side, and a service I often recommend to people.

Unfortunately, it’s not something that generates enough money to be more than a side gig. However, I should point out that the UserTesting website makes this perfectly clear, describing the opportunity as “a great way to earn a few extra dollars on the side,” and not a way to get rich.

Even so, I’ve dipped in and out of this activity on multiple occasions since I first did a UserTesting review, $50 or so per week seems like a realistic target, based on my experience. I’ve heard from other users with similar experiences. This is a helpful addition to anyone’s freelance income. The work itself is straightforward and enjoyable too.

An Introduction to UserTesting

UserTesting is an online platform that allows companies to try out new websites and apps with real-life users.

As a tester, you install software on your computer or phone that enables UserTesting to record your screen while you work through a series of tasks on a website or app. Companies then use this feedback to improve their sites and systems.

Having recommended UserTesting to many people over the past year or so, I’m conscious that quite a few seem scared off by having their screen and voice recorded! I guess this can feel like a barrier, but it’s really not intimidating AT ALL once you’re used to it.

UserTesting review

Before I signed up to UserTesting as a tester (for the purposes of this review), I had previously experienced the platform from the “client perspective” having used such tests on projects I’d worked on in the past. This made it particularly interesting for me to see it from the other side.

UserTesting.com accepts testers from a wide range of countries. To get accepted, you need to install their software and complete a test task, which doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. Once you’re signed up, you can accept testing tasks any time while you are online.

It makes sense to take this test task very seriously as you can spoil it with background noise or distractions. I have heard from people who didn’t pass.

UserTesting.com: Rates and Payments

The standard rate for completing a user test on the platform is $10. This involves completing a series of tasks on a website over the course of up to 20 minutes. In my experience, it rarely takes quite this long to complete a test.

There were also smaller “peek tests” at one point which were much shorter and paid $3. I haven’t seen one of these in a very long time, so I’m unsure they still exist.

In addition, there are some special longer and more detailed projects that you may be invited to if you meet the criteria. Despite filling out numerous forms and surveys I’ve only been invited to one of these projects, but it did pay higher than the normal rate.

Experienced user testers can also find themselves invited to tasks involving a special camera setup, but I’ve yet to reach these echelons!

Payments are made via PayPal one week after task completion, and all online feedback indicates that these payments are consistently processed without fail.

How Does UserTesting Work?

Once you’ve passed the trial user test with UserTesting, you’re required to complete a profile, containing some basics such as your age, gender and income level. You also need to select which devices you have access to, as this helps the platform know which tests to allocate to you.

UserTesting dashboard

After this, it’s a bit of a waiting game. Test tasks appear on your “Dashboard” when they are available, and it’s a case of grabbing them quickly before another tester does. You also receive email notifications.

In most cases, there’s a small screening test to make sure you meet certain criteria. Some of these are very specific, asking if you work in a specific industry, for example. On other occasions, it’s slightly less clear what the criteria for acceptance is. Regardless, it doesn’t take more than a minute or two for this screening process, so it doesn’t feel like you’re wasting too much time. Survey sites are far worse for this!

Once you’ve grabbed a test and are approved for it, the screen recording begins. You complete the tasks using a simple interface, speaking all your thoughts out loud as you go. Once you’re done, there are usually two or three brief written questions to complete at the end of the test.

The wonderful thing about user testing is that you can’t really get it wrong. If you struggle to find something on a website or app, that’s exactly the feedback the developers want, so it doesn’t feel like a particularly pressured process, which is surprising, given that you’re having your screen and voice recorded!

In terms of feedback, you are star-rated on some of the tests you complete, and given an overall average star rating too. This plays into your eligibility for future tests. Over time I’ve personally had no problem maintaining a five-star rating. I’ve even had a couple of low ratings removed by the UserTesting team because they considered them unfairly given, which makes the system feel very fair on testers.

UserTesting Review: Technicalities

UserTesting’s platform uses a screen recording plugin which works with no problems at all for me using Chrome on a Mac.

UserTesting test

There is also a mobile UserTesting app, which you need to install on your smartphone if you want to complete mobile tests.

As your screen is being recorded, you do need to take some precautions to hide any personal information. On a computer, this means closing messaging apps and email clients so that they don’t pop up during tests. I tend to close other browser tabs and hide my bookmark bar too.

On a mobile device, you need to switch to “Do Not Disturb” mode, so your user tests aren’t disturbed by calls and messages. It’s important to follow the instructions on this or you risk voiding a test and not being paid.

UserTesting: The Good Bits

As I said right at the start, this is a way to earn money online that I thoroughly enjoy.

User experience testing is quite interesting, for starters, and UserTesting.com is the market leader. On their website, they show that they’ve worked with names as big as Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo.

I can personally attest to the stature of the companies you’ll be testing for, as I encountered some really big names within days of joining, and continue to do so.

This is also an extremely flexible way to earn money. It’s best to leave UserTesting open in a browser tab at all times, then when you hear the “ping” of a new test, moving to quickly grab it. It’s quite exciting when a new one pops up!

While I don’t use UserTesting all the time, it’s always my first port of call when I need to get a little more cash coming in.

The reputation of UserTesting.com is reassuring too. The system is simple and slick, with fees for completed tests instantly adding on to your pending balance. Unlikely so many online working options, there’s never cause for a second’s anxiety that you won’t get paid.

UserTesting: The Bad Bits

There’s nothing to really criticise about working for UserTesting.com. It’s a shame there aren’t more tests to go around, because the work is enjoyable and offers fair pay. It does get frustrating when a whole day passes with no tests popping up for you, or when there’s one there but you’re engaged with something else and miss the boat.

User testing no tests

It’s also likely that people will have a different experience of how many tests they get based on their demographic profile. I’ve had several tests, for example, that I know wouldn’t have been allocated to me if I didn’t work in the tech industry. I guess in time this all evens out.

Privacy is the only other thing that may concern some, but really this is down to you making sure you don’t record anything on your screen accidentally.

Before updating my UserTesting review, I sat down to look at some other online feedback. I was surprised to see a fairly poor TrustPilot rating, but when I drilled down further, the bad reviews were mainly from people with sour grapes about failing the test or receiving poor ratings! I’ve used UserTesting regularly for nearly two years, and have no issues with it at all.

User testing websites isn’t a home working job for you if you’re “microphone shy.” Even if you are, I’d suggest giving it a go – it’s not nearly as intimidating as it may seem at first. You can sign up as a user tester here.

90% Awesome!

Unless you're a complete technophone who's freaked out about talking into a microphone, signing up with UserTesting.com as a user tester is a no-brainer to bring in some extra home working side income.

  • Ease of use 100 %
  • Accessibility 100 %
  • Earning Potential 70 %
  • User Ratings (4 Votes) 57 %

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About Author

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Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com - Ben is a long-established freelancer with a passion for helping other people take control of their destiny and break away from "working for the man." Prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.

14 Comments

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  6. Avatar

    I agree with your assessment. I signed up with UserTesting in 2014. I made some side cash and always enjoyed it. For some reason, I’ve qualified for quite a few tests and in November of this year, I’ve earned $200, no joke. I didn’t pay much attention to UserTesting last year because I didn’t seem to qualify for anything and for some reason this year, it’s clicked. I get a kick out of vocalizing thoughts out loud and don’t mind being recorded. This is definitely a go with the flow opportunity and they offer a solid platform. If anyone decides to check it out, like any testing site, go in with no expectation other than signing up, setting up a profile, do great on the trial tests and if you get tests and qualify great. If you don’t, remember to manage your own expectations, in the long run you might be pleasantly surprised.

    • Avatar

      Hi Maria,

      While I’m not personally doing it at the moment as I’m really busy, UserTesting is the first thing I step up when I need a bit of extra cash and I’ve almost always earned 30 or 40 bucks within a couple of days. I always recommend it to people who need some extra money fast but I struggle to get people to follow through on it. It surprises me how shy people are about having their voice recorded but it’s really not at all intimidating!

  7. Avatar
    Mike Robinson on

    Can you recommend a good headset for recording? I have been looking online and there only seems to be gaming headsets.

    • Avatar

      Hi Mike,

      I’ve always been fine on UserTesting just using my internal microphone so I don’t use a headset. Plantronics (affiliate link) make good headsets for call-centre type use so they could be worth a look.

      Another alternative, which I DO use for video conferencing and other purposes is this Snowball Microphone (affiliate link), and that does really make a substantial difference to the quality.

      Best wishes,

      Ben

  8. Avatar
    Chandika Ruwange on

    I ve been here. So trust me & take my word folks. Just don’t waste your time on this site. Sometimes it seems to be a scam, but I’m not sure about that. The other thing is that after you registered you ll get a lot of tests, but after sometimes things get fuzzy. You ll get less tests. Also the Usertesting find something to blame on you saying that the customer is not satisfied with your review & stuff like that. Basically to avoid payment to you. So to my experience it’s a waste of time to be a tester for this site. I still have payments pending from usertesting. My advice is just look somewhere else. There’s lots of good ways to make money online.

    • Avatar

      I’m allowing this comment to go up but I have to say that I’ve been on the platform for over two years without a single issue. I once had a bad review for a test, contacted UserTesting, and they removed it after reviewing it. As such, my experience has been nothing at all like this.

  9. Avatar

    I started testing on this site about a month ago – every test I received has to be screened. I qualified for one and was successful at the test. However, I rarely qualify for a test. They ask many personal questions that I started to get worried that it was a scam – for example where do I bank and how many accounts do I have. I think I have been asked how large of a company I work for about 10 times. I’m not sure why that really matters to actually perform a test. I’m a UI testing with 30+ years of experience – I’m disappointed that I can not use my skills to improve the many websites that they want tested. Still question the validity of this app.

    • Avatar

      It’s just the way it goes. Sometimes there can be three screenfulls of tests and I don’t qualify for any, then other times I just seem to luck out on the demographic they’re looking for and get several. It’s also very common to be asked what kind of company you work for, both for surveys and user tests. It’s a common way to separate people into categories, and with user testing specifically, they are often looking for specific types of people, such as small business owners or those who work for large corporates.

      I’ve never had any reason to see UserTesting as anything less than legit, and still turn to it if I’m going through a lean patch with other work. I’ve done dozens of tests over the years. There are lots of other similar companies, and we plan to publish a round-up article on them soon.

  10. Avatar
    Diana Gaffney on

    I have 25 years experience with websites, testing etc. But they’re not looking for proven experience on a resume, these companies are targeting audiences for whatever they’re trying to accomplish with their target demographic. I’ve answered plenty of qualifying questions and not qualified. I’ve also answered the questions about how large the company I work for is. I work for myself so sometimes I don’t qualify as someone that purchases IT software because I’m not purchasing with a large budget that a company of 500+ would use. When I’ve had dry client dry spells, with all my years of experience, I’ve made some decent side cash. They’re a real company with offices in San Francisco (where I live) and also in Menlo Park, CA. I see a lot of negative reviews on usertesting, but just because we don’t always qualify for all their tests it doesn’t mean their not legit.

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