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UserTesting.com Review: We Applied to 46 Tests and Got Approved for None

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UserTesting is a platform that connects companies with product testers who get paid for providing feedback on software, websites, apps, physical items and more.

It’s one of the most well-known companies in the space, and I set out to review the platform with an eye towards discovering how much work is available, how hard it is to get accepted into tests, and how much you can earn. 

Unfortunately, despite completing 46 “screeners” — short sets of questions that determine your potential eligibility for tests — I was offered zero testing opportunities over a seven-week period.

So in this review, I’ll tell you about my experience singing up and applying to tests, and I’ll offer some tips on how to pass the initial practice test (which I failed the first time).

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Pros:
  • Each screener clearly indicates the payment for the test.
  • The screeners were short, so I didn’t waste much time applying for tests.
  • I didn’t experience any glitches with the app while completing screeners.
Cons:
  • I was not selected to participate in any tests, despite trying 46 different screeners.
  • The screeners don’t tell you how long each test will take if approved.
  • The site application process was lengthy and it took me two tries to get approved.

UserTesting.com: The Basics

Similar to other product testing sites, companies searching for real-world opinions use UserTesting to get feedback on their products and services. 

After you’re onboarded, you’ll open UserTesting via a mobile app or website (tests are available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android users) to find screeners for open tests. Each screener will be clearly labeled with the amount you’ll earn for your participation if approved for the corresponding test.

The vast majority of the tests I screened for paid $10, although there were a few that only paid $4. Per UserTesting, payments are made within two weeks of test completion via PayPal, and every user must have a verified PayPal account. 

Here are a few key facts I noted during my research:

  • UserTesting focuses on testers’ experiences with websites, apps, prototypes and their real world experiences.
  • Feedback is gathered through a variety of test types, including (but not limited to) moderated and unmoderated studies, focus groups, and surveys. 
  • Every user needs to have a functional microphone to participate, and tests may require voice recording, video recordings, or both. 
  • UserTesting does have some tests available for people under 18, but a parent or legal guardian must consent, and the minor must complete the test through the adult’s account.

Now that you have a sense for what to expect, let’s dig into how to go about getting signed up.

Approval Process and Onboarding (I Had to Try Twice…)

Before you can participate in any tests on the UserTesting platform, you’ll need to create an account. To do so, you need to be at least 18 years old, confirm your email, have a verified PayPal account (the verification process could take a few days) and create a fairly detailed profile. 

You also have to take a practice test, which requires you to share your screen and have your voice recorded.

I spent 25 minutes signing up for an account and completing the test. The note I received after submitting my practice test indicated that it could take a few days for someone to review it and get back to me. 

I received an email two business days later stating: 

“The video you submitted wasn’t quite what we were hoping for and we’d like you to try again.” 

The additional tips provided were:

  1. Read each task carefully and explain your thoughts out loud before moving on to the next task.
  2. If you’re using a mobile device, temporarily disable notifications so you don’t get distracted.
  3. Find a quiet place to record. If you are interrupted during a recording, tap the “pause” button if you’re using a mobile device, or select “Quit test” if you’re on a computer. You can resume or restart whenever you like.

My house was surprisingly quiet on the day of my practice test, so I assumed I didn’t explain my thoughts well enough and decided to give it another try. 

The second time around I spent another 15 minutes on the test and really made an effort to think out loud about everything I was doing, like, “Now I am scrolling down the page” and “I wonder if I am supposed to click on every tab or just walk through the main tab.” 

That level of detail must be what UserTesting is looking for, because six business days after submitting the second test, I received a note indicating that I was officially approved.

Applying For Tests

After receiving my approval, I logged in on my laptop and was disappointed to see a message that said no tests were available for that device. I tried on my phone instead and got the same message. Womp womp womp.

When logging in from my laptop, I noticed a link to a page offering the following additional information about test availability:

  • You can set your preferences to notify you when a new test is available. Although I was set up for notifications, I only received two email notifications during my seven-week testing period. I found that odd given there were numerous screeners that ultimately showed as available for me in the app.
  • The UserTesting quality team will review your first paid test. While that review is in progress, you won’t be able to take any additional tests.
  • The number of tests available to you will depend on how your demographic profile aligns with UserTesting’s customers’ needs.

Applying for tests was simple. After opening the App on my phone I could clearly see whether there were any available screeners. Each screener asked between one and five questions. None of the screeners took more than one minute. My only complaint is that I didn’t actually qualify for any tests! 

My UserTesting.com Experience

My experience with UserTesting’s iOS app was great, other than the lack of test qualifications. I logged in a few times from my laptop and didn’t have any issues taking screeners that way either.

What It’s Like Participating In Tests

Unfortunately, despite completing 46 screeners, I was not selected for any tests. That’s a shockingly high disqualification rate. If you’re reading this and have had better luck (or just as bad of luck as me), please share your experience for the benefit of other readers in the comments sections at the end of this article.

Who Is Most Likely to Qualify?

The screeners seemed to cover a wide range of topics. I was asked about my shopping habits, family composition, pets, hobbies, household income, mobile apps and more. I wasn’t accepted into any tests so it’s hard for me to say what groups of people are most likely to qualify.

How Much I Earned

I earned no money during my testing period. Although I had originally planned to test the site for a month, the one month mark came and went and I still hadn’t been accepted for any tests, so I gave it nearly three more weeks before calling it quits. 

Here’s how I fared during my research.

Total number of studies applied for:46
Testing period:7 weeks
Qualification rate0%
Completion rate:0%
Total earnings$0
Time spent signing up and completing the required onboarding:40 minutes total over two attempts
Time participating in studies0 minutes
Time applying for studies35 minutes
Earnings per hour$0 per hour

Over my seven-week testing period, I checked the UserTesting app on my iPhone an average of once a day (two or three times on some days, and I forgot a day or two here and there). Some days there were a few screeners available and other days there weren’t any. I never had more than three screeners waiting for me.

I completed every screener available to me. I tried 46 in total; 42 were for tests that paid $10 and four were for a test that paid $4.

UserTesting.com vs. Alternatives

The screeners I responded to were for tests that paid either $4 or $10. It’s hard to say whether that pay was appropriate without knowing the testing commitments. I typically like to figure out an hourly rate for platforms such as this, but the UserTesting screeners didn’t include an approximate time for completion for each test. 

If you’re interested in other online testing options, there are other sites worth checking out where I’ve had some success.

  • User Interviews: As noted in my User Interviews review, I made $55 per hour while testing User Interviews. The pay per interview and my qualification rate were both significantly higher than on similar platforms. 
  • Respondent: I earned $31 per hour when testing Respondent. I only had the opportunity to participate in one study but it paid pretty well, hence the fairly high hourly rate. Check out my Respondent review for more information.
  • Survey sites: Typical paid survey sites have average pay rates of about $2 to $5 per hour. While that’s quite a bit lower than User Interviews or Respondent, TWTW’s testers have been able to earn a bit of money with these sites over the years, and they take less commitment than platforms that require you to apply for studies and focus groups.
  • Product testing sites: If you’re interested in giving your feedback on physical products, check out our list of the best product testing sites for good options in a range of categories.

Summary and Final Verdict

The UserTesting signup process seemed aligned with a legit testing website. I love that the site pays cash instead of with gift cards. But because I wasn’t accepted into any tests, I can’t comment on the testing or cash-out experience — which are, unfortunately, the two key components of this type of platform. 

I’ll probably give UserTesting a few more tries here and there. But if I don’t get matched with a test soon, I’ll likely delete the app and move on to a site where I am a better demographic match.

Vanessa Zeigler
Vanessa Zeigler is a freelance writer and editor focused on personal finance and time management. She has an MBA from Duke University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). She writes about frugal-living techniques, side hustles, product testing, selling on Etsy and eBay, and using money-making apps. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Upwork and Etsy.

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