A New UsabilityHub: Coming Soon

It's been a long time since we've posted an update, and for that we're sorry. We're not dead, we've just been busy elsewhere. Matt and I (Alan) have been working full time on a bug tracking app for web designers and digital agencies called BugHerd. BugHerd is a visual bug tracker for websites, like sticky notes for HTML. Things have been going awesome at BugHerd, and whilst we always had the intention of coming back to UsabilityHub and Five Second Test, it was becoming more and more clear that we were just never going to be able to.

So a while back we made a decision to get some help.

We'd like to introduce you to Nick and Tristan (You may have already used their app - the time tracking and invoicing app, Paydirt). They've been working hard rebuilding UsabilityHub from the ground up. They've made a lot of improvements already, but there are a lot more changes and features coming soon. We'll be launching the new version into beta in the coming weeks. If you're interested in trying it out shoot an email to support@usabilityhub.com and we'll get you set up as soon as it's ready to go. As a treat, here's a look at the new dashboard currently in development (full design not implemented yet...this is just a sneak peek):


Once the new app is ready to roll, we will be shutting down the old app. This means two things:

1. Where possible your tests will be migrated to the new system. If for some reason we're unable to migrate all of your tests, we'll give you plenty of opportunity to get the data you need before we move to the new version. We don't expect there to be any problems, but because it's an entirely new system some tests may not make the journey.

2. As everything is new (including the database), you'll be asked to reset your password. It will be a simple matter of using the "reset password" functionality to choose a new password. If you can't remember what email address you used to sign up, just shoot us an email to support@usabilityhub.com and we'll help you out.

I hope you're as excited about this huge new release as we are. Once again, I'd like to apologise for the silence of the past little while... it's not that we don't love you, it's just we bit off more than we could chew :)

Thanks for all your support and enthusiasm over the past few years, and here's looking forward to the next few!

Cheers,

Alan and Matt - UsabilityHub co-founders


Minor UsabilityHub Update 22-Nov

UPDATE: This update has been postponed until tomorrow due to a minor, but time consuming to fix, issue.

We're releasing a small update today. Most of the changes are behind the scenes in preparation of some future developments. There are, however, some other changes as a result of these future changes. There are two main things to be aware of:

1. Test creation process. We've now made it easier to create a test and leave it sitting in a preview mode. This allows users to set up a test, and have it approved by others, or be able to work on several tests over a period of time before publishing them. We've also done this to support our upcoming API. In effect this has only involved splitting step 1 and step 2 of the test creation process and putting a publish button in the middle. 

2. Random test selection Our random test selection function was not only slow, but wasn't properly supporting international languages. Basically if you can understand a language other than English (the default) you would always be served an English test before we'd check if there were any tests in other languages waiting for results. We now treat all languages equally, so we will just serve you the next test that you've said you understand. This should mean our international users get results a fair bit quicker. It also means if you speak a language other than english, we'll be asking for your help to do those other tests more often than before. This does mean that English users may be presented with non-English tests if the test owner hasn't specifically forced the test to only include users of that language.

As always, if you have any issues with the update, drop us an email at support@usabilityhub.com

Thanks for your support!

Quick PAYG Update

We've a bit of feedback from people regarding the new PAYG system. The system we've implemented works great for existing users who just want to get a "top up" of results. Unfortunately, for our "free" users, it is somewhat cumbersome to have to sign up to a different plan (even if it is still free) and then choose how many Karma you want etc etc etc. Also, for some people, us keeping their credit card on file for a one off purchase, just doesn't gel. All of that is fair enough too.

Unfortunately, it's the best we can do within the Chargify system. So, we've done a complete backflip and we're reintroducing PayPal payments as of today. We're only using PayPal for "one off" purchase. Subscriptions will still be done through the existing system. We hope this makes it easier for those who asked and for those who are yet to find this feature!

If you've already switched to the PAYG plan, have no fear. It works no differently than the community plan. So you can stay on that if you wish. We're just stopping any new users joining that plan. If you want, you can switch back to the community plan, or back to a paid plan....or you can stay where you are!

If you have any queries, or concerns, please contact us at support@usabilityhub.com

UsabilityHub introduces Pay As You Go plan

We think we have pretty good value subscription plans. Not only are they cheap, you can cancel any time you like! You can pay $20, get your responses and immediately cancel, never to be charged again.

Alas, our users have spoken and you want Pay As You Go purchasing, and so that is what we've done. From today you can purchase Karma in bulk from your dashboard. If you're on the free plan, you can switch to the PAYG plan whenever you like and start buying results. If you're already a paid subscriber, you can even top up your account if you run low on quota. PAYG karma is a little more expensive than being on a subscription, but it does have the benefit of not expiring. If you're only an occasional user of UsabilitHub, this may be a great option for you.

The important thing to take into consideration is how we do the billing. We use a great service called Chargify.com for our payment system. Primarily it is a subscription tool, but it also allows one-off payments. The catch is that to do that, you need to be active subscriber....although not necessarily on a paid plan. What this means is that for us to bill you "one off" we have to sign you up to our subscription system. You don't have to pay us anything monthly, but it does mean we need to keep an active credit card on file to be able to bill you for your responses. The upside of this is that it's dead easy to buy more responses. Two clicks and you can continue testing.

I realise that this solution may not be for everyone, but it's the best we can do at the moment, and I hope it suits your needs. We're going to give this method a go for a while, but if the feedback is that customers would rather not go through this process (and would rather a traditional checkout system) we will look into doing that. At the moment Chargify don't support this sort of billing, so it'd mean we'd have to set up a new checkout. We'll see how we go.

Other things we've added in this update:

  • Tax Invoices/Receipts - Another down side of Chargify at the moment is that their invoice/receipt system is kinda non-existent. So we built our own! If you're a paying user, you can view and print your tax receipts from the Account section of the site. There is also a link under your account details on the dashboard.
  • Tour pages - We've updated our tour pages with some more information about how our tests work, what they're good for as well as a demo video of our to use each application. I hope this makes it a little clearer about how to make the most of our apps!
  • Private tests - Thanks to same great feedback, we've modified the way private tests are displayed. Basically we've cut way back on the "sharing" and "karma" type text and making it a lot more streamlined. This means you can send your users to do a test without worrying about them going off to do other tests or even worse, skipping the one you sent them to!
  • Forgot Password - We had quite a few people having problems with the Forgot Password function. We've rewritten it from scratch to ensure it works for everybody.

That's all for now, but don't think we're resting! We have a heap of other much-requested features in the works. Stay tuned!

Thanks to all of you for your support over the past couple of years, and particular in the last few months since we brought in our subscription system. The feedback has been fantastic!

What do you do when company X (or Z) copies your app?

It's the first question you'll be asked whenever you ask an investor for money, or if you're just doing SWOT analysis of your own product. It's also the first question you should ask yourself when you have that first great stroke of inspiration. The usual question is, "What would you do if Google copied your app?".

The answer is usually, "Panic!!". In the words of Douglas Adams, "Don't Panic". If you're building something cool, and someone copies you, it means you're on to a good thing. Stick with it!

We've had a lot of people ask us about Verify App and more specifically Clue app. They ask how cheesed we are that it looks to be a "direct copy of fivesecondtest.com". Plenty of people have even mentioned to us that their entire suite of "verify" apps are in one way or another "inspired" by our work. We've kept quiet about it for the past few months, because...well...frankly I don't care what they're doing. 

People keep asking me...so now I'm answering.

I wouldn't say they've stolen our apps. I don't believe it's possible to "steal" an idea, or a concept, or even an implementation. Sure their memory test runs exactly like our five second test, and sure they ask what 5 things you remember exactly like ours (and it's displayed the same way), and yes they display test results in exactly the same way with exactly the same bar chart with exactly the same grouping of keywords. The big difference is that their test is 5 and half seconds! Got to have something to differentiate I guess? Ideas are free, and they can take what they like and implement it how they like. I'm not going to get my nose out of joint about it (except when press call them innovative...that really pisses me off).

And about Verify App? Yes their label test works exactly like ours (which we ditched), and their click test works exactly like ours, and their preference test is exactly the same as our preference test (which we also ditched) and their multi-page click test is a (poor) copy of our Navflow app. I think they only app they've built that isn't like one we'd already built is the one that is based on their own Notable app (which is a great app I might add).  I've heard it all before, yes we know...yes it's annoying. But it's not like we invented any of those things. There are dozens of them around, and most of them in isolation are better than either Zurb's or ours, particularly those that do live web site testing.

Here's the thing though, none of it matters. Yes Zurb suck. Yes I hate them as much as I would hate anyone who sees something they like and pays wads of cash to get it. But it doesn't matter. They've already lost and they don't even know it. I laugh at them and their silly hats. I may sound like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but you can't say the guy didn't have balls.

The thing is, we've been in this space for well over 2 years now. We practically invented crowd sourced usability testing. We know this space better than anyone. We've spent 2 years learning the absolute best way to crowd source and deliver fast but useful usability testing. Zurb think they've got something over us, but in reality they don't. It amazes me the number of users on ClueApp that get ZERO responses. Yes, ZERO. And they want people to pay for that? Wow. The tests they've only just finished implementing, we've already ditched. They have a nicer interface than us, I'll give them that...but otherwise, they're way behind.

The real problem is that ClueApp.com is useless. Just as useless as our original five second test was. It's a gimmick, nothing more. Something you tweet about and people fill it in and you realise you've not learned a damned thing. We never intended it to be anything more, and I doubt Zurb do either. As a usability test, it's meaningless. We ditched our "label" test for the same reason. It was ineffective at communicating what could be done easier with Fivesecondtest or with our existing click test. We ditched the preference test because people invariably just clicked "the image on the left". We ditched the little bar chart in five second test results because it was hopeless at conveying widely varying responses. We ditched the simple "what do you remember" question because without context, any usability test is useless. If there is one thing you take away from this post, it's that you know your product better than anyone. Don't worry what the other guy is doing when you already know better.

Zurb don't even realise that before they've even started, half of their apps are completely and utterly worthless as real usability tests. (Sorry to break it to you guys!) I'm not saying that because I'm pissed that they "copied us". I'm saying that because we had these apps and made the decision to cull them from our tools. The ones that remained; we changed how they work over and over until we hit the magic spot. Zurb will do the same once they realise they got it wrong. Wait and see how long it takes them to move away from the bar graph to a tag cloud (thanks to DannyB for that suggestion).

We first saw VerifyApp a few months ago when Navflow.com was coming out of beta. I haven't looked at it since. I know Zurb are watching us. While they're watching, they're not innovating. As a startup, that's the thing you always need to keep in mind. The only interest we show in what they're doing is in the Press.We do what we can to hitch a ride on their press dollars. We got a good mentioned in a New York Times article about ClueApp without us spending a cent on marketing. They're doing it for us. That netted us a big bag of new customers. Whenever their marketing hounds push their way into TechCrunch or any other site we make sure we're there. Whenever one of their customers complain on Twitter about having no results, we're there to offer them an alternative. Best of all, we have our fans out their telling their stories and how they've enjoyed our apps, and to them we owe a great many thanks.

Yes, Zurb have got a bigger marketing team than us (we don't have one), they have more developers (we only have me), they have more designers (we just have Matt) and THAT is precisely the main reason they'll fail long before us. We know the market, and we know we can support a small team on what UsabilityHub and Fivesecondtest.com bring in. We're not making truckloads of cash, but we don't need to make truckloads. Zurb...well...they have to. We're in a highly competitive, low-priced, throw-away testing market. If they invested as much as it look like they invested....well...ouch! I'd hate to be at that meeting....

Matt and I both do consulting work as our main vocation, and run UsabilityHub because it's something we're passionate about. Zurb, on the other hand, are doing it to make money. Our knowledge of the market, and our knowledge of our users tells us where we need to be, and that is the only competitive edge we need over Zurb or anyone else.

So the moral of this story is, if you have a good idea someone will copy it, it's just a matter of when. If you're small, like us, you can listen to your users and change direction, you can spin on a dime, provide 1 on 1 service, and use your knowledge of your market to beat all newcomers. Be small, be fast, keep your product focused and most of all concentrate on what you're doing and not what your competitors are doing. 

UsabilityHub update: 6 Features in 6 Days

We've just updated UsabilityHub. We're calling this "your version". We've spent the last 6 days doing a heap of changes that have been requested by you, our users. There is pretty much nothing in here that didn't come from either an email, a tweet or from User Voice. Of course, we haven't gotten everything into this release. There are some more updates coming but, for now, this one is big enough! So we wanted to achieve two main goals with this update. Firstly, we wanted to start providing better value to our paying customers. So far you guys and girls have been paying us just for "responses", but now we want you to start getting some extra benefits for being in our elite little club of subscribers. Secondly, we wanted to start working towards creating better workflows for test owners. What you see here is really only phase 1, we have a lot more planned.  So here is a quick list of what's in this update for you!

  • Deleting Five second test responses - This is version 1 of deleting responses. This hides the response from your list, but you won't get a credit for the response. We hope to do something about that soon! For now, this will help tidy up your reports. The results will still appear in your export should you need them and are just appended with a bar | so you can filter them out manually.
  • Split Tests/Iterations - You can now create variations of tests. You can either use this as a means to do A/B testing where you just want to compare the performance of two different UIs at the same time. Or, you can use it to iterate and make changes one after the other over a period of time. Either way, the important thing is that any user will only be able to do ONE of the tests in the group. This not only means you get a wider group of testers, it also means you want get users feeling like they're doing duplicate tests.
  • Private tests  - Private tests now give you the option to have your referrals only do YOUR test (i.e. not be asked to go on to do another). This means they will be shown your test, and then a thank you page, and that's all. As we don't get the benefit of getting this user to go on to do more tests, these testers will count towards your requested responses, so make sure you allow for this when you send out your link. Of course, you can still get results for free by letting users do another test after yours!
  • Export! - You can now export your five second test results as a CSV to do with as you please. Huzzah!

Other updates:

  • Deleting half-finished tests - when you delete a half finished test, you will be refunded the unused responses.
  • Better cross-site integration - All tests are now managed from the one screen, and we're now making better use of projects to help you organise them. The new interface is a lot nicer, and hopefully will help get around your tests more quickly.
  • Loads of bug fixes...yes...we all have them.

We have another fairly major update coming in a few weeks time which will feature a load of other requests.  Among other things, this will include annotations and demographics (at last!). Any problems or feedback, please feel free to drop us a line at support@usabilityhub.com

The Click Test is back!

Due to overwhelming demand, the Click Test is back. When we launched the new version of Fivesecondtest.com, we did the one thing that you're always told never to do; "never remove a feature". We did that, and we're sorry. I hope today that we've rectified that mistake! The main reason the Click Test was was removed from Fivesecondtest.com was that we wanted to streamline the test creation and management process. By having multiple versions of the same test we were really restricting what we could do and where we could go with EITHER test. By splitting them out into two distinct applications, we can take the Click Test into an entirely new direction. What we have up right now is really version 0.5. It's really a bare bones version, without much in the way of additional features. This was intentional. As it was our users that demanded the return of the Click Test, we want our users to take part in shaping how it evolves from here.
  • Do you want keyword tagging like the old test?
  • Do you want to split results into Fast and Slow clicks, or who clicked where first?
  • Do you want a time limit on the test?
  • Do you want to restrict the number of times a user can click?
We want you, the user, to decide where it goes, and what features to include.

In other news:

This update also includes some other important changes. The most important of which is prioritising tests based on subscription. What this means is that users on the Team, Studio and Agency plans will get their results before other users. It's worth noting that Solo plan subscribers will also be prioritised over free users, but not nearly to the degree of the other plans. This is the first of many additions to give more value to our subscription plans. Keep an eye on this page for details on some of our upcoming features.

Day 2 update

So we've had a heap of great feedback from the community. I'm thrilled that we have so many passionate users!

We've made a few changes today in response to feedback, and we have a lot more changes coming. Nothing incredibly huge at the moment, but I just want to show that we're listening, and that we WANT your feedback, your praise and your hate mail.

Here is a short list of some of some of things we did today:

- Result sharing  - You can now share your test results with others. In your test results page you'll see a new special link which you can safely share with others.

- Print friendly results - We've updated the CSS on the results page (and the new share page) to be printer friendly.

- Test sharing - We noticed that not many users are sharing their test links. This is the fastest way to get results, and also means you can target your own audience. This is especially true if you're conducting a test in your native language. To get people involved in doing this, we've added a prompt to get people sharing their tests.

- Random tests - We've added a new "random test" function in the dashboard to allow users to do ANY random test rather than just doing 5st or Navflow tests. This is heaps of fun!

- We've updated a lot of the links and redirects to stop users being taken back to the home page when they're logged in. Hopefully that alleviates some of the frustrations there!

- We fixed a heap of issues with IE7 that were preventing some users creating tests (sorry folks!)

- We've added "requested responses" to your test results page, so you can see how many responses you have remaining for your tests. e.g 3 of 20 responses.

We're still working hard on a lot of the other things that have been requested, and whilst we can't (or won't) make all the requested changes, it is important that you know that we are listening and we are actively creating solutions to problems you guys are having. I know we're not perfect, and I know we can't please everyone, but a lot of the requests we're getting are actually quite reasonable. Rest assure that we're doing everything we can do make this app what you want it to be. Please give us your feedback, we love hearing from you!

Stay tuned for more!

New Fivesecondtest.com and Navflow.com

Well it took us a while, but we've finally launched. For the most part we actually finished these apps about 2 months ago. But we've spent the last 8-9 weeks messing around with merchant accounts and payment gateways. A lesson for all startups out there, sort your merchant account EARLY.

So we're up and running now, and everything seems to be running ok. A fairly major part of the installation was migrating users, their karma and their credit across to the new system from Fivesecondtest.com. Basically we have an entirely new system, with an entirely new way of managing credit, and so it took a little shoe-horning to get that in to place.

Migration

For those who aren't aware, all existing Karma has been migrated across to the new system.  On the new site 1 Karma point is worth 1 result.  You won't be able to make tests without karma, so

On the old site, when you spent $5 you got an additional 15 results. We've doubled that. Every token (or $5 credit) has been converted to 30 results on the new site.  This has been given out in the form of Karma.

Unfortunately, all the Beta data for Navflow was deleted. This includes logins. About a third of our Navflow users are actually 5st users, which meant a whole heap of account duplications if we migrated everyone across. The remaining users signed up and didn't create any tests. So it made sense to just migrate 5st users across. I'm sorry to those who were having fun with Navflow, but unfortunately we had no choice.

New Features

The first MAJOR change in the new system is to Fivesecondtest.com. The click test is gone. Navflow is now the place to do click tests. We found that clicks were not an accurate way to gauge first impressions. Without context, and with a time limit, the click test was a little shaky. We think that navflow gives test authors far more flexibility to find out what they need to know without putting undue cognitive load on the end user.

Through a lot of feedback, and a lot of study, we've also changed the fivesecondtest memory to be a much more traditional and more flexible test. Rather than having unfocussed "what do you think?" type testing, we've now included the ability to ask up to 5 questions about the test image. The user is shown the image, and then you can test their recall about the image. The result is a significantly more targeted and quantifiable result. In time we will add additional tools to assist in benchmarking and iteration.

Subscriptions

Navflow and Fivesecondtest are the first two apps in our suite of tools called Usability Hub. When you sign up to one or the other, you're actually signing up to UsabilityHub. One subscription fee will give you access to all of our apps now and in the future.  Your subscription entitles you to a certain number of results per month, usable across any of the applications for as many tests as you want. Subscriptions start off from as low as $19 a month, and  can be upgraded or cancelled at any time. No lock in.

As always, our apps are available for free to anyone who wants to help give feedback on other users' tests. Earn karma to create tests. One major change however, is that we no longer offer anonymous test creation. If you want to create tests, you'll need to sign up, participate in tests and earn the right to create your own tests. To make up for this, we give all new users 20 Karma to get started.

Well that's about it for now. I need a rest!

If you have any queries, shoot us an email at support@usabilityhub.com

Thanks for all support till now, and welcome to UsabilityHub!