One of the best places to start your work-from-home career is with user testing. Though it takes a little bit of work to get yourself started, once you’re up and running, you get to make money from home doing something you probably spend a lot of time on already – browsing websites.
Whether you’re acquainted with the industry or have never heard of user testing before, this article will equip you with all the information and tips you need to pass the entrance test and start earning money.
What is user testing?
Have you ever used a website that was slow to load, hard to navigate around, or just plain ugly? If so, that site was in desperate need of user testing. No matter how skilled a website developer is, there’s always room for improvement, and that’s where user testing comes in.
As a tester, you will be assigned websites and apps to review, often with a specific set of questions or tasks to address. You will record your session using the company’s software, and it’s important that you “think out loud” so the client is able to understand how comfortable you are navigating their site and how intuitive their layout is for new users.
User testing allows the client to uncover everything from serious bugs to minor annoyances, and with so much of the world operating online, there’s rarely a shortage of work for skilled testers.
How much do user testers get paid?
The payment terms differ depending on which user testing company (or companies) you sign up with. To give you a ballpark figure, tests usually take anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes, and your pay will range from US$10 to US$15 per 20 minutes of work. That’s US$30 to US$45 an hour – not bad for a job you can do in your pajamas!
What do I need to get started as a user tester?
Though most user testing sites pay in US dollars, you generally do not need to be located in North America. You do, however, need to speak fluent English. You’ll also need to be internet savvy, with a strong and reliable internet connection, a relatively new computer, and a Good Quality Microphone.
In most cases, the microphone that comes in-built with your computer will be sufficient. However, it’s worth testing this before you do your entrance exam as poor audio quality will result in a rejection. There’s a step-by-step guide to passing your entrance test below. For now, click here to test your microphone. If you decide you need to get an external one, this is the microphone we recommend as it has the best balance of good price and high quality. Check it out Here.
The best user testing sites
There’s no limit to the number of sites you can sign up for. However, it’s best to start with one, get yourself up and running, and see what the workload is like before you go signing up for more.
The following are reputable, well-paying user testing sites:
How to register for user testing
Each site has a slightly different registration process. However, the first step is always inputting your demographic details. This can be done via an online form or by signing up with your Facebook or LinkedIn account.
This part of the process is about as straightforward as it gets. The most challenging question you might be asked is “why would you make a great user tester?” Don’t worry, they’re not expecting you to have bucketloads of experience. If you do have any skills in content creation or web development, be sure to mention them. Otherwise, simply highlight the following points:
- strong technical capabilities;
- experience with online shopping;
- experience with web browsing;
- experience using apps;
- excellent communication skills.
How to pass the user testing entrance exam
This is the biggest challenge you will face. Though the test isn’t all that difficult, there are certain key mistakes that will result in failure. Though most of the sites allow you to retake the exam, there is a limit – fail twice and many user testing sites won’t allow you to try again.
Before you can take the exam, you’ll need to follow the instructions to download and install the company’s user testing software. At this stage, you’ll also want to ensure your microphone is working.
Once you’re ready to take the test, follow the tips below to ensure your success:
- Read and understand the requirements – your first step is to thoroughly peruse all of the information offered to you by the company you’re testing with. If there are any instructional videos, watch them carefully. This will ensure you’re hitting their unique criteria for passing the test.
- Carefully read the scenario or task – once you’ve proceeded into the test, you will be presented with a task or scenario to complete during your recording. Before getting started, be sure to read over this information until you have it fully locked into your mind.
- Think out loud – though it’s important sometimes to read out what you’re seeing on the site, the heart of user testing lies in sharing your thoughts on what you’re seeing. The trick here is to take your internal monologue and say it out loud.
- Speak at all times – one of the most common reasons for a failed user testing exam is too much silence. Even if a page is taking a while to fully load, you need to explain what you’re seeing, any expectations you have for the site, any frustrations you’re experiencing with it, and any thoughts you may have about the question or task you’ve been assigned.
- Stay on topic – though you need to keep thinking out loud throughout the test, it’s important that your thoughts are relevant to the task you’ve been set. There’s usually a task box in the top right-hand corner which you can click on if you need to refresh your memory. Be sure you address every element of the task or question before moving on.
- Include your expectations – rather than just reacting to what you see, it’s valuable for the client if you include your expectations. For example, you might say that you expected to see more shipping options or a menu with filters to help you search for products. Expectations are also a great way to ensure you’re covering tip 1 and avoiding silence in your recording.
- Don’t show off – user testing is all about developing sites that are easy to use for people of all levels of technical proficiency. So, the most valuable testers don’t just power through each task as quickly as possible. Instead, they talk through the ways they might go about it and take the time to explain their expectations and how well the site meets them.
- Don’t use real details – some user testing tasks require that you create an account or proceed to the checkout. If you are asked to enter any personal details to complete a task, it is imperative that you do not enter your own real information. It’s not only acceptable to use fake information – it’s expected.
- Summarize your thoughts at the end – a great way to ensure you’re staying on topic and fully addressing the user testing task is to do a summary at the end. This allows you to bring your thoughts together into an overall assessment that will be very useful to the client.
- As you finish each task, click “Next” and then apply all these tips again until your test is complete. Be sure to include a small thank you at the end of your recording.
What happens after I’ve finished my user testing exam?
You should get a confirmation message once your test has been successfully submitted. Depending on the company and their workload at the time, you should hear back within the next few days with your results. If you carefully followed all the tips above, then you’ll get an email welcoming you to the user testing team and filling you in on the next steps.
We wish you all the best in your user testing adventures! If you have any questions or additional tips, please feel free to comment below.
If you had success becoming a user tester by following this guide, please let us know and share the article with any friends who could use the extra income.