40 Free and Premium Tools to Improve your Websites Usability

October 30, 2010 · 7 comments

by Dustin Betonio

40 Free and Premium Tools to Improve your Websites Usability

Testing the usability of your site is one of the smartest things you can do. Usability involves making a website’s interface easier to use and simpler to understand, so that the user’s experience is as enjoyable as possible. Usability testing is test conducted to collect feedback and information from your website’s visitors or regular readers that can be very useful for future website revamp, enhancement or other adjustments.

Usability tools provide a detailed tracking of the user’s action. The tracked data gives you a precision of what a user like about your site, which area is the most prominent, most used and places which most users avoid. Do not underestimate the data collected because these figures can significantly boost up your site’s performance in terms of sales conversion rate, click-through and more. Visitors, however, don’t have this advantage. This means that testing for usability is the only reliable way to find out how well a website works.

In this article, we will review 40 best tools that you ca use to improve your website’s usability. Also make sure you check out this article covering web site testing in general. 40+ Freelancer Tools and Services for testing Web Projects


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1. Userfly

Userfly

The service allows you to put a little bit of JavaScript on your website and then track a lot of your visitors’ actions, from mouse movements to clicks and keystrokes (except password entries, of course).This means that you can replay a user’s session exactly as it happened, and not just on a single page either, but across your entire site. You can see where the user’s mouse moved and exactly what they typed. You can start using Userfly for free, with a limit of 10 captures. The Basic plan gives you 100 captures at $10 per month, which should be plenty to get you started.

2. Silverback

Silverback23

Silverback is an application for Mac computers that also records a user’s screen and voice as they browse a website. The interface is extremely simple and meant specifically for moderated usability testing. The program carries a one-time fee of $49.95. If you have easy access to people with whom you can test your site, and a Mac laptop, this is a great solution. You simply arrange to meet somewhere with Internet access and run the test. You end up with a recording that you can easily edit and post on the Web. The software even enables webcam use to embed the user’s facial expressions in the corner of the final recording.

3. 4Q Online Survey

4qsurvey

4Q Online Survey, a free solution which gives you a complete detail about the visitors on your site such as why visitors visit your site, do they complete the tasks in a correct way and if not it will state out the reason what is stopping them. This survey can create a tremendous response among the customers.

4. 5 Second Test

5secondtest

5 Second Test allows website owners to upload images that will be reviewed by random Internet users. Users view the image for just five seconds then click on the screen to indicate areas of the images that caught their attention. Using text fields provided on the screen, they describe what they saw on the places they clicked. This is a free service. 5 Second Test is useful for understanding users’ first impressions of your site. You’ll need to review others’ sites in exchange for your review.

5. Attention Wizard

Attention Wizard

Attention Wizard is a visual tool for landing pages which helps you increase your conversion rates and easily identify landing page problems. It operates on advanced artificial algorithm to stimulate human visual processing and attention. It also creates an attention heat map which predicts where a user will browse during the first few seconds of their visit.

6. Feedback Army

Feedback Army

Feedback Army is probably the fastest way to get feedback about your website. This service is powered by Amazon’s Mechanical Turk engine.As the name implies, Mechanical Turk is a human-powered “engine” designed to solve tasks that can be completed in a short period of time. Feedback Army asks users questions about your site and quickly gathers feedback and impressions so that you can improve the user experience.The cost is relatively cheap: $10 buys you 10 responses.

7. ClickDensity

ClickDensity

A full usability tool kit which adds more functionality than heat maps where the data from the real time visitors is use to improve information architecture, optimize link/advert placements, analyze/enhance stickiness and lastly, test/refine the content process. It tells you exactly where the users are clicking. A small JavaScript code is provided when you sign up and when a visitor access the site, a small additional file is automatically downloaded which happens only once and which communicates all clicks that the user makes. Comes with a free trial version which can be later upgraded to any premium plan starting from ?2.50 to ?200.00.

8. BT Buckets

BT Buckets

Engage your users with a free segmentation and behavioral targeting tool.

9. ChalkMark

ChalkMark

Chalkmark allows you to quickly create a project to take up a survey or test among the users on your UI prototype i.e. decide on what the user’s attempt, upload any image if necessary, view the results or the heat maps of each task and know how many users skipped the task.

10. ClickHeat

ClickHeat
An open-source software under GPL license which is a heat map of hot and cold click zones on an HTML page with a keyword to define the page with JavaScript. It groups similar pages, tracks CSS layouts, and features a low logging activity.

11. Concept Feedback

Concept Feedback

Concept Feedback gets quick website reviews, design, usability and marketing feedback from online professionals of the community. A Public Feedback is from the web professionals that belong to the community who give you an overall result. For Private Feedback, you can invite specific user to give u a feedback and also upload unlimited images then organize the results. An Expert Feedback is feedback from the experts in design, usability and marketing fields which can help you out in any circumstances.

12. Clicktale

ClickTale

Clicktale allows you to visualize your visitors to watch the full browsing sessions of visitors, behavior analytics i.e. scroll to reach heatmaps, click heatmaps,  mouse move heat maps and web analytics which greatly improves the site usability and boosts up the conversion rates. It also provides performance analytics, conversion analytics, link analytics, advanced filtering  and market analytics like campaign tracking or realtime monitor.

13. Feng GUI

Feng GUI

Feng GUI stimulates human vision and creates heat maps predicting what a human will look for the first 5 seconds. Feng GUI Dashboard also offers a pre testing service for designers and developers to predict the performance by analyzing the levels of attention, brand effectiveness and replacement. It can identify the weak spots within an advertisement to improve and pulls out the key movements.

14. Website Grader

WebsiteGrader

provides a score that incorporates things like website traffic, SEO, social popularity and other technical factors. It also provides some basic advice on how the website can be improved from a marketing perspective.

15. Google Site Search

sitesearch

Google Site Search allows users to search your website through the Google Site Search. A hosted search solution which helps to display ads-free search results, increase the website conversion and sales, reduce support costs by enhancing self service, customizes the search box with flexible prices which is based on the number of queries and website addresses.

16. Loop 11

loop11

Loop 11 is a solution for consultants, designers and web managers to get the metrics and optimize a website’s potential. It has an easy process to create a professional usability test, collect responses and source them via a social media and finally analyze the data through the usability metrics then see the results instantly. Loop 11 supports over 40 languages and does not simplify reports.

17. OpenHallway

openhallway

OpenHallway creates usability data by recording the users either remotely or locally then share the results with your clients. It creates a scenario with the instructions specified for the recording link where the user’s screen and voice are recorded and will be upload to your account.

18. Site Tuners

sitetuners

SiteTuners are the creators of Attention Wizard. It guides you through the process in Conversion consulting as why there are problems in landing pages. They review your problems and answer your specific conversion related questions. After the review, they complete the process and present a text summary of the conversion issues. Through Land Page Testing they will decide the right optimization method, implement the changes and analyze the results and help you in getting the best conversion rate improvement quickly and easily

19. HiConversion

HiConversion

adaptive multivariate testing solution requires dramatically less visitors than any other solution. This enables you to run a fairly large multivariate test with relatively small number of visitors. As a result, you will be able to explore the largest number of new ideas within shortest period of time.

20. Kampyle

kampyle

Kampyle gathers the insight and turns into action through Feedback and Form Analytic solutions. Gathers feedback from customers of what they think about your site, Feedback Dashboard & Reports to understand the real insights from user’s feedback and reply to Feedback through automatic or personalizes responses to strengthen your connection with users.

21. Simple Mouse Tracking

Simple Mouse Tracking

Simple Mouse Tracking is another free tool to track a visitor’s mouse movements and clicks on your site. You’ll need PHP on your server to run it, although the actual pages don’t have to be PHP-based; they just require a bit of JavaScript.

22. TechSmith

morae

Morae is a software created to understand your customer’s experiences and gather the insights clearly. Captures every move of the testing session through a web cam or digital camera and provides hard data and examples. One advantage in using Morae is, instead of analysis and reports, it automatically calculates and presents the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction.

23. Product Indexation Check

Product Indexation

use this handy tool to check how many of your category or product pages are included in the major search engines.

24. UserTesting

usertesting

UserTesting offers a more traditional approach to usability testing. Give UserTesting your website’s demographic, and the service will select the right users to browse your site.In return, you’ll receive a video of the users’ screens as they navigate your site, along with a running audio commentary of their responses. You will also get a written report detailing the areas and functions that the users liked and disliked and anything that may have prompted them to leave the site. All of this costs only $29 per test.

25. Webnographer

webnographer

Webnographer functions as a remote usability tester which collects the data, tests any website or web application or prototype in its natural environment gathering their actionable metrics. Captures the user’s thoughts through questionnaires. Prioritizes the previous data gathered and improves wherever necessary.

26. CrazyEgg

crazyegg

CrazyEgg improves your sites usability by tracking pages i.e. what visitors do in your website, heat maps to track the clicks, Confetti to track the advanced things like Top 15 referrals, search terms, browser etc. Overlays, Lists, also let you block your system from data capturing, archive reports, Email notification and RSS notifications.

27. Webtrends

webtrends

Optimize focuses on realizing the potential of your market and delivering the right content to the right people. Their approach to site optimization is done in 4 steps staring with a General Testing which is against all traffic, second step is testing your optimal content against key aspects like time of day, geo targeting, return against new visitor

28. Site-Perf

SitePerf

get an accurate, realistic, and helpful estimation of your site’s loading speed. The script fully emulates natural browser behavior downloading your page with all the images, CSS, JS and other files – just like a regular user. A unique feature is that site-perf.com allows to measure packet loss ratio with reasonable precision.

29. LotusJump

LotusJump

SEO tool that provides you an ongoing task list of what you need to do to improve your Search Engine Rankings.  It breaks down the tasks by:

  • Social Profile Tasks
  • Q&A Tasks
  • Social Bookmarking Tasks
  • Buzz tasks
  • Content Generation tasks
  • Competitive Backlink tasks
  • Directory submission tasks

30. Crowd Science

Crowd Science

is an online measurement service that builds detailed reports on the demographics of your website audience.
Using site-centric research techniques and some cleverly constructed technology, Crowd Science helps website owners and marketers drive ad sales, direct content creation, and reduce the time and money spent on research.


31. Website Optimiser

websiteoptimize

Website Optimizer, a free website testing and optimization tests and optimizes site’s content and design. This increases the value of the website and increases your revenue by driving more conversions and identifies the most effective elements of your website through A / B Split and multivariable testing. Requires minimal IT support to save your time, and faster speed and the graphical reports tell you the important aspect which is impacting or affecting your website.

32. Notify.me

Notify Me

It eliminates the need for you to constantly check on classified listings, blogs or social networking sites. Notifications are delivered to your destinations of choice such as instant messenger, mobile phone, email, desktop or web application.

33. Mongoose Metrics

Mongoose Metrics

provides phone call analytics for both online and offline marketers. Customers use our service to better understand which of their campaigns drives phone calls and to see phone call reports directly within their web analytics package of choice.

34. MarketMotive

MarketMotive

Tools are great, but you need to know what to do with them. Learn internet marketing from the basics to the bleeding edge, through online video, weekly webinars, conference calls and anytime-Q&A with the top minds in Internet marketing, including, Greg Jarboe on online publicity, Avinash Kaushik & John Marshall on web analytics, Todd Malicoat on SEO, Matt Bailey,Jennifer Laycock on social media, site usability & architecture and myself on conversion optimization.

35. AdQuants

Adquants

a tool that offers competitive research related to any keyword or URL you provide

36. IfByPhone

IfByPhone

automates and tracks inbound, outbound and web initiated phone calls to any phone through a suite of pre-built phone applications that are instantly activated, configured easily without any programming and updated in real-time via an easy-to-use website. Integrates with web analytics tool

37. ClickPath

ClickPath

tracks all conversions generated from your online advertising, including phone calls, and ties them back to the exact keyword or ad source.

38. GobbledyGook Grader

Gobbledygook

evaluates your written content (press release, brochure copy, etc.) and checks for use of gobbledygook, jargon, cliches and over-used, hype-filled words. You’ll receive a grade together with a full report.

39. Camtasia

Camtasia

Make screencasts of your products, demos, etc.

40. Page Speed by Google

PageSpeed

additional resources to speed up your site, including how to optimize your code.

Author : Dustin Betonio

Dustin Betonio is a Translation Management graduate at University of Mindanao. His earlier career was devoted on customer service outside the information highway. Currently studying Law in the same University.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Roy Mendez February 20, 2011 at 11:33 am

Excellent tools, thank you very much for taking the time to share with those who are starting on the subject. Greetings

Reply

Lars February 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Thanks a lot for your feedback Roy

Reply

Ahmad November 2, 2010 at 1:41 am

Really thanks for this list really helpful specially the Google tool
Thanks again

Reply

Tommy Day November 1, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I use Web Grader and Google Webmaster Tools quite a bit, but I will have to check out the others on your list.

Reply

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