Painless and reliable ways to earn extra money are few and far between. But in this UserTesting review, I’m going to introduce a website that truly provides one.
A review of UserTesting was one of the first articles I ever posted on HomeWorkingClub. The real acid test of whether I think a site is worthwhile is whether I carry on using it personally after completing a review. UserTesting passes that test with flying colours – because I still use it to this day.
In a moment, I will explain exactly how the site works, and give you some “pro tips” for making the best of it. But first, the answer to an important question:
- Why Trust ME?
- What is UserTesting?
- UserTesting.com: Rates and Payments
- Signing Up to UserTesting
- How Does UserTesting Work?
- Getting Paid
- Other UserTesting Reviews and Feedback
- UserTesting Tips
- UserTesting Review: Conclusion
- Further Reading
Why Trust ME?
Further to that, I can assure you that there’s no UserTesting affiliate scheme or referral program, so there’s zero financial incentive for giving the site positive praise. As you can see from the screenshot below, I use the site myself.
You can also see that I earned $140 in the month running up to the most recent update of this UserTesting review.
So, with any “trust issues” eliminated, let’s discuss what UserTesting is all about.
What is UserTesting?
UserTesting is an online platform that allows companies to try out their new websites and mobile apps with real-life users.
As a website tester, you install software on your computer or mobile device 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.
The majority of user tests simply require you to record your thoughts in audio form, along with the screen recorder footage. However, an increasing number of tests also use face recording, so that the companies can see your reactions.
Having recommended UserTesting to many people over the years, I’m conscious that quite a few seem scared off by having their screen and voice / face recorded! I guess this can feel like a barrier, but it’s really not intimidating AT ALL once you’re used to it.
Using UserTesting as a Client
Before I signed up to UserTesting as a website tester, I had previously experienced the platform from the “client perspective.” I used their tests on web and app projects I’d worked on in the past. This has made it particularly interesting for me to see it from the other side.
I should emphasise that this review of UserTesting is intended for people considering signing up as testers. For a client perspective, I’d suggest looking at the UserTesting reviews on G2.
Is UserTesting Legit?
UserTesting is completely legit, and a simple and worthwhile way to earn a little extra money online. The company facilitates over one million user tests each year, and works with household names such as Samsung, Dominos and Lowe’s.
Is UserTesting a Scam?
UserTesting is NOT a scam. It’s a company with a solid reputation, and has even won multiple “best places to work” awards.
Is UserTesting Worth It?
While it’s important to understand that it’s not a full time job, working online on UserTesting is very much worth it for a side income. If you continually check the site and grab each new test you can, it’s feasible to earn from $100-200 per month with relatively little effort.
UserTesting.com: Rates and Payments
The standard rate for completing each test on UserTesting is $10.
This involves completing a series of tasks on a website or app over the course of up to 20 minutes. In my experience, it rarely takes that long to complete a test. There are some exceptions, but you’re generally done within 10-15 minutes, with some taking just a few minutes.
There’s also sometimes the option of doing a shorter test for $4. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed more of these appearing.
In addition, there are some “live conversations” tests available. These pay either $30 for 30 minutes, or $60 for an hour. These are in a different format. Instead of using the automated screen recorder, you join a Zoom call, and talk live to the designers and company representatives while you use a website or product, giving your honest feedback as you go.
Payments are made via PayPal exactly one week after task completion. In over four years of using UserTesting I’ve always been paid reliably. There was one occasion where I wasn’t credited for a live conversation, but it was quickly resolved when I contacted support.
Signing Up to UserTesting
UserTesting.com accepts testers from a wide range of countries. There’s a simple online signup, and you then need to install the company’s software (a browser plug-in for computers, and a simple mobile app for phones and tablets).
Next, you have to complete a test task, which doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. Once you’ve passed, you’re free to accept available testing tasks at any time while you are online.
It makes sense to take the test task very seriously, as you can spoil it with background noise or distractions. While I had no problem passing it, I HAVE heard from people who didn’t.
This is a side gig that you can reliably turn to for extra money over the long term, so give the test the attention it deserves.
How Does UserTesting Work?
Once you’ve passed the trial user test with UserTesting, you’re required to complete a profile, containing some basic demographics 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.
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 almost every case, there’s a set of screening questions to make sure you meet the criteria for the test. Companies tend to have very specific profile of person in mind for each test.
As such, some of the questions can be very specific – perhaps asking you if you are a customer at a particular bank, or a user of a specific games console. On other occasions, it’s slightly less clear what the criteria for acceptance is.
Regardless, it doesn’t take more than 30 seconds or so to click through the screener questions for each user test. It doesn’t feel like you’re wasting too much time. Survey sites are far worse for this!
One thing I should point out at this point is that the specificity of the requirements means that you can have “good days and bad days” on UserTesting.
The platform is generally pretty busy these days, with a constant flow of tests to do. But you can sometimes find yourself going through a list of 50 tests and not finding ANY you qualify for. On other days, it can just seem that everybody is looking for YOU! On those days you end up doing several test in a short space of time. Sticking with the platform is key.
Once you’ve grabbed a test and are approved for it, you have a hold on it for 15 minutes to get started. When you’re ready, the screen recording begins. The exception is for the $30 / $60 live conversations. If you pass the screener for one of those, you line up an appointment using a calendar system, and have to log on a little before the appointed time.
For the standard user tests, 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.
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. This is surprising, given that you’re having your screen and voice (and sometimes your face) recorded!
Ratings and Feedback
UserTesting has a star-based rating system. This plays into your eligibility for future tests. The thing is, only a small minority of their clients seem to use it. Out of my last 25 tests, I’ve only been given a rating on two occasions.
But you are star-rated on some of the tests you complete, and VERY occasionally the client leaves a written review.
Over time I’ve maintained a 4.5 stars average – a good rating. I get MANY tests on the platform, so I certainly seem to still be eligible for everything. I cannot speak for what happens if you land up with a low rating. The fact so few clients leave feedback could, potentially, be a problem, depending on how the average is calculated.
However, the support team always seems fair. I’ve even had a couple of low ratings removed by the UserTesting team because they considered them unfairly given. It all seems very fair on the website testers.
UserTesting’s platform uses a screen recording plugin. I personally use it with no problems at all using Chrome on a Mac. It is – of course – Windows compatible too.
You have to give permission for the app to record your screen, and to access your microphone and webcam. If you feel the need, you can remove the plug-in between tests.
There is also a mobile UserTesting app, which you need to install on your smartphone or tablet 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.
Problems on UserTesting
Most user tests go smoothly, but occasionally you encounter problems. I’d estimate I have issues with one in ten tests. You can opt to exit a test at any time, and you can report problems.
Usually the technical issues are caused by how the clients have set tests up. Sometimes I decide to exit because the instructions are poorly explained, or because the test doesn’t seem relevant to me. UserTesting does say that it will still pay you if they judge the issue to be out of your hands.
As mentioned above, UserTesting pays automatically, exactly one week after you finish each test. I’ve always found this to be super reliable. Payments are made to your PayPal account.
There’s a UserTesting payment proof below. I’m pleased to say I have plenty more!
Other UserTesting Reviews and Feedback
Although I’m a contented, regular user of this site, I wanted to see what other reviewers had to say.
The UserTesting TrustPilot score is 4.3 stars from 375 reviews, at the time of writing. Amusingly, the people giving negative one-star ratings almost universally highlight not being accepted for tests. As I’ve made abundantly clear in this review, you WILL be “screened out” of more tests that you get accepted for. You could well also find that some demographics qualify for more tests than others.
SiteJabber has a lower average review score – and exactly the same pattern of comments on the negative side. I suspect that your location can play a part here, and that there are probably more opportunities to qualify for tests if you are US or UK based.
I can only go on my personal experience, which is that – yes – sometimes I can go several days without qualifying for tests. But I then have the days when I qualify for several.
Since I’ve been using the site for a long time, I’m in a good position to give you some tips for making the most of the platform, and maximising your income:
- Grab tests fast: There are LOTS of tests on UserTesting, but there are lots of tester too! Tests don’t hang around long, so the quicker you act on a notification email or a “ping” from the website, the more likely you are to grab the test.
- Leave the UserTesting website open: The website gives an audible “ping” each time a test is added, and the tab for the site also has a number in brackets showing how many tests are available. If you’re able to keep it open while you’re doing other things, you’ll always know when new tests are available.
- Don’t cheat! This should be obvious, but don’t try to cheat the screener questions by giving the answers you “think” they want. All you do is run the risk of getting a test that’s not relevant to you, not doing a good job, and reducing your average rating.
- Always apply for the live conversations: These pay $30 or $60 for 30-60 minutes work. They’re not at all intimidating, and I’ve actually had some really enjoyable sessions, sometimes with big, household name companies.
- Turn up on time! If you do get any live conversations, don’t forget you’ve booked them in. You’re expected to be ready and waiting at the appointed time, and “no shows” are punished with a one-star rating.
- Think out loud: The whole idea of UserTesting is that you tell the companies exactly what you’re thinking. There are no wrong answers, so you get to say exactly what you think, and get paid for it. What’s not to like?!
- Persevere: You WON’T be the right fit for every test, but if you give it time and use the platform regularly, you WILL get tests that are relevant to you, and get to earn money from them.
UserTesting Review: Conclusion
It’s refreshing to be able to be so positive in a review. Regular readers will know that I don’t give praise where it’s unwarranted!
UserTesting is always the first site I recommend when somebody asks me for side gig ideas. The company is reliable, the work is simple, and the money is good.
However, there is an important caveat:
UserTesting is undoubtedly best suited to people who sit in front of a computer all day, and are ABLE to break away from what they’re doing to take a test when it’s available. I realise that this description isn’t accurate for everybody.
If you already have a full time job, you’ll only be able to do this in spare time, which will reduce the number of tests you can do. And even when you are at home, it may not be convenient to break away from what you’re doing to find 10 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time.
As such, UserTesting is a better fit for some people than others – but I’d still recommend giving it a go. It’s a genuine opportunity, and quite lucrative for the low effort involved. Recommended.
- For some alternative user testing sites, check out this article.
- Read our guide to 30 online side jobs.
- If you’re looking for a full-time remote job, check out all the companies listed in this article.
UserTesting - Highly Recommended
- A constant stream of work.
- Pays well for the effort involved.
- Interesting work.
- Opportunity for better-paid live conversations.
- Fast, reliable payment.
- Best suited to people with the freedom to work at any time.
- Occasional technical issues.
- The level of opportunities can depend on your demographics.
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.