Thursday, March 19, 2015

Making Money Online: User Testing Sites

While survey sites are a nice way to make some pin money (usually in the form of vouchers which can only be used in specific stores), it can take a while until you are able to cash out. A slightly better way to earn consistently and quickly for a small supplemental income is website testing - you'll be paid relatively promptly (usually within a week or so), and while you won't get rich from this, every little bit counts.

The concept is simple: user testing sites are hired by other companies to provide a platform with which to test their own websites for ease of use and functionality. The user testing site keeps a pool of testers (that's you) on hand, and when a company wants to see if their website or app works, the user testing site will email their relevant demographic of testers to come and evaluate it on the platform they provide. The testers make a video of themselves using the site with their comments (usually only the screen is seen, not the test taker), and then answer a few questions in writing and make suggestions regarding how the site could be improved. The pay is typically on the order of $10 for a 15-20 minute video (sometimes more for mobile apps, I think, say $15), directly into your Paypal account. All you need is good English, clear enunciation, and the ability to speak your thoughts and give precise feedback about what you like and don't like about the website you're critiquing. You'll typically have to perform a short test to be accepted as a tester, both to see if you're tester material and if you have the necessary software and hardware on your computer/phone.

The good part about this setup is that you choose when you want to test websites - you get emails with jobs, and if you decide to take one (and hurry up if you do, because you're in competition with testers from all over the world), just click through to the site, follow the instructions and start earning. In some cases you'll also get feedback from the client, and consistently good feedback will earn you more opportunities to test websites.

I found to be by far the best of this type of website, and worked for them for several years. I stopped both for lack of spare time, and (mainly) because at the time there was an increasing need for mobile app testers, and the smartphone I had then was of too old a vintage to be of much use. But you can expect several chances to perform tests a day (except on weekends), with the heaviest load starting mid-October until the Christmas season. The jobs were extremely varied, many were quite interesting, and they always deposited the correct amount directly into my Paypal account on time. I highly recommend this site.

Other, similar sites with a similar pay scale and interface, are Userlytics and TrymyUI . I tried Userlytics for a while, but the platform at the time was very clumsy (it involved downloading software that I had a hard time getting to work) and I rarely got any tests from them. I failed to be accepted as a tester at TrymUI, which I found kind of odd because I was already a 5-star rated tester at their competition and had several years' worth of experience testing websites, but perhaps they were looking for a different style tester. You, however, may have better luck.

A relatively new (I think, at least it's new to me) US-based site which pays $12 per test is YouEye . I don't know anything about it other than what they say on their intro page, which mentions that while they accept testers from all over the world, they don't actively solicit outside the US and as most of the websites they test are US-oriented, you can expect to receive fewer tests than an American user. What this means in practice, I have no idea - but if you decide to try it out, please email me and I'll arrange for a guest post with your review.

Another UK-based website along the same lines which pays up to £8 per test is What Users Do . I qualified for testing for them back in 2012, I think, but have yet to receive a single test. They send out very nice newsletters once or twice a year, though. You may have better luck - perhaps I just have the wrong accent?

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