Peek User Testing: Free Remote Usability Testing Tool

This article will show you how to get absolutely free, unbiased feedback on your website, app, or prototype from real people using Peek user testing!

There are a number of methods to evaluate web sites for usability including expert reviews and usability inspection methods. However, nothing beats getting real feedback on how real users use a site. After all, UX does stand for user experience. The real struggle is usually in planning, finding, recruiting, and running user testing sessions; this can take a lot of time and cost a fair amount of money. Time and money aren't a huge barrier for corporations with slow moving projects and deep pockets, but for the hobbyist blogger or web designer user testing can seem like a daunting task.

Peek by UserTesting

Here comes Peek to the rescue! Peek is a quick and free service from the folks at UserTesting, that helps you understand the visitor/customer experience of your site. Peek taps into a panel of more than a million participants that UserTesting usually reserves for it's paying customer base.

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How it Works

The process is pretty simple:

  1. Visit http://peek.usertesting.com/ for desktop testing or http://peek.usertesting.com/mobile for mobile testing
  2. Enter what you'd like to test. Currently you can choose from website, mobile site, or mobile app
  3. Enter the URL of site/app you're testing
  4. Press 'start!'
  5. Enter your 'Full Name', 'Phone Number', and 'Company Email Address'
  6. Press 'get my test!'
  7. Wait a few hours
  8. Receive an email from Peek. Woo Hoo! Your Video is Ready!
  9. Click the URL in the email to view your user video in a web browser
  10. Watch the video and hear users thinking out loud (think aloud protocol) about your site, web app, or prototype
  11. TIP: Right click on the video to download the video to your local drive
  12. OPTIONAL: Share the video with social share buttons

NOTE: You can also set the video to public or private. By default the video will be set to public (others can see your test in the Peek Library). By setting the video to private, only you will be able to view the video using the private link.

The Verdict

The feedback you get from these usability tests can give you hints about what you should to change on your site to create a better user experience. Just like any service, Peek has its own strengths and weaknesses:

Pros

  • Free feedback on your site from real people; each paid user test from UserTesting costs 99$ per video!
  • User feedback videos have a quick turnaround of a few hours; this is great if you want some fast feedback on changes that you've made to your site.
  • Video & audio feedback means you can see what the user is doing as well as hear why the user is doing it as they think aloud.
  • You can test any URL, meaning you can test a clickable prototype, fully functional website, low-fidelity sketch, or anything in between.
  • Both mobile and desktop feedback.

Cons

  • Videos are limited to 5 minutes, rather than the usual 20 minutes that paid videos get.
  • You only get three videos per month, although arguably, you could use a different email address to get more tests (this is a shady practice, though. We do not encourage this!)
  • You can't pick participant demographics, so the users won't necessarily be the type of people that would typically visit your site; this is especially the case if you have a niche site.
  • You can't choose questions or tasks for the participant to complete. The Peek will use a set of stock questions for each of the free tests.

Overall, Peek is a simple and usable service that I'll be using as a quick 'n' dirty user testing tool on small personal sites. I'd also recommend it for people who are new to UX or who would like to see what benefits remote user testing can provide.

DISCLAIMER: The author has no institutional or professional affiliation with Peek or UserTesting.