TodaysTryout is a series of articles in which you can read reviews about UX-related softwares and tools. Each product is tested for one day and the reviews collect the main aspects and impressions of use.
Last time we covered the Proven By Users research tool, it turned out to be viable but a bit half-baked. In this article I will examine another user testing platform, the OptimalWorkshop. The article will contain some inevitable comparisons but I will mainly focus on the OptimalWorkshop itself.
I won’t wait until the end to tell you that the tool is great. It’s well oiled and appealing, but we have to decide if it’s worth the price. It costs $139 — $166 per user based on your team size (custom price from 10 seats and up), which can be a lot of money for freelancers or small companies. On the other hand, a nicely developed software with the right solutions can pay us back. Let’s measure our ingredients accordingly!
The structure of the review will follow the last article’s to remain transparent.
The site as a whole
Firstly, I would like to highlight some aspects which are not test-specific.
The web app is an extensively polished tool and it has lots of advantages. As I am uncapable of listing all of them, let me present some delicacies I enjoyed:
- team plan exists, you can collaborate with your crewmates
- onboarding. OptimalWorkshop gives us every help we need: webinars, demos studies, detailed descriptions
- you can choose from many languages for your tests. This is very important when your subjects doesn’t speak English.
- you can represent your brand throughout the testing with colors, logos, images.
- when your users do a specified action (for example putting the yellow shoes into their cart), you can trigger the test to appear on their screen by inserting code snippets to your site. This is a huge help in focus group recruiting.
- you can ask for the recruit service with demography criteria
- you can arrange tests into folders/projects. This may sounds basic, still, ProvenByUsers for example could not deliver this function.
- if you’ve ever read any of my articles, you know that I love when tools can give me a seamless experience. I use this word a lot for a reason: a helping tool’s goal is to make my creating process quick and easy. Well, OptimalWorkshop is the definition of seamless in any lexicon.
- no preference testing
- no five second testing
Chalkmark — first click testing
It works great. What I love peculiarly here is that I can add “correct” areas what makes evaluation almost fully automatized.
(For comparison, ProvenByUsers did not use this feature. I am really sorry about pulling them out from the hat over and over as a negative example, so I want to state here again that they only started most of their test types 3 months ago. They can and will improve.)
Questions — survey
You can add the most important question types and more, it works fine.
Reframer — qualitative research
This is the heaven of usability testing. My favourite part here is that you have the opportunity to take quick observations in a moderated session: you type your comments and they will be saved to the project log as a list of notes.
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Treejack — tree testing
A bunch of useful means again.
- can import data
- intuitive, quick
- can drag and drop stuff
- transparent structure
- can close or open level views— highly practical
- shows keyboard shortcuts on the screen — makes work even easier
- can randomize tree order
- up to 20 levels — shoud be more than enough
- you can drag and drop nodes
- more correct answer can exist to one question
- can redirect to chosen link at the end of the test
OptimalSort — card sorting
A nice card sorting tool, easy to use, quick, you can drag and drop cards to rearrange them. More test types are available: open, closed and hybrid.
The analysis of the results are really detailed. You can check parameters such as median of time taken, standardization grid (shows how many times were the cards put in categories which you have made and not created by user), dynamic dendrograms, similarity matrix and even a modern and impressive 3D cluster view.
Exporting works well. Again, this seems to be basic but I’ve seen sites with horrible download results (eg. ProvenByUsers).
OptimalWorkshop did their best in creating an online testing tool. They have thought about what do you need to test when designing a website or an app as well as how can you test it. They provide every main function and every nuance to make your work easier. It is definetely worth its price altough this price is quite high. There are cheaper alternatives on the market four your small company, but if you can invest in it you won’t regret.