Some days ago we sent a short survey to everyone who already signed up for Userbrain. Here’s a quick review about what people really want to know about Userbrain.
What is Userbrain?
First and foremost Userbrain is a tool for us – Simplease. We are a design/usability agency based in Graz, Austria and help clients from all different sizes and industries developing easy to use software applications and web sites.
What’s special about us, is that we are not strictly interface designers and we are not strictly usability practitionars. We try to get the best of both worlds and combine it to something our clients often refer to as „usability design“.
The premise of „usability design“ is to deliver design solutions with good usability. This is only possible if we do a lot of user tests and, even more importantly, continually improve our designs after every test. Userbrain allows us to test early sketches of our designs and gather real user feedback fast enough to make this possible.
How does it work?
At the moment we’re running some of our own usability tests with Userbrain. We’re experimenting a lot with how the tests are set up, how users get the right information at the right time and how to receive actionable user feedback.
Since our goal is to test way more often, way faster, we focus on unmoderated remote usability tests of sketches, mockups and click prototypes. Current solutions like Usertesting.com work great for running software (e.g. web shops) but as mentioned before, we don’t want to wait with testing until our design has been implemented.
Userbrain helps us avoid the trap of confirmation bias during user tests. We build the most minimal thing we can think of (a single screenshot can be enough for testing), write a user’s scenario, give the user a task and let him or her use the design. That said, we’re constantly looking for usability issues to improve our design solutions.
And since we’re busy people, Userbrain is fully automated and results are coming in constantly without us doing anything more than setting up the tests.
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What’s the difference to other tools?
We’ll keep it short and tell you about the biggest difference right away. Userbrain lets you test mockups and prototypes remotely … without moderation. That’s the big difference to other tools on the market. You don’t have to be present at your tests.
While there are many great tools out there for building click prototypes none of them is able to produce something that you can just send to a user and let him or her perform a test. All these products miss the opportunity to really do a lot of iterations. They all require you to sit down with a user or start video conferences to observe them. In our opinion current tools are wasting too much of our time.
Remember, we want to do way more tests, way faster. This can’t work if someone of your team needs to be present at every single test. While this kind of testing is great for some occasions (especially later in your design process), it’s not viable for testing as early and often as you actually should.
When will Userbrain be available?
Well, we’re already using it but to be honest with you, we don’t know, when we’ll be able to officially release Userbrain to you guys.
Right now we’re busy designing interfaces for our clients and testing them with Userbrain, that we gather new insights every day. We are learning so much about combining interface design and usability tests that we’re constantly improving Userbrain.
Over the next months we have a lot of projects that will be real stress tests for Userbrain. During this time we’ll be optimizing our running version and start to invite some of you as alpha users.
There’s only one thing we can tell you for sure: we want to have our first paying customer in 2014 :)
How much will it cost?
Many people have asked us about the pricing for Userbrain. Right now we have a short answer for this: we don’t know.
We are blogging about it to find out if there are people out there who are actually interested in Userbrain. The good news is, people seem to be very interested. We’ll keep going this direction and find the perfect pricing for a tool like Userbrain.
You want to be informed about our progress? Sign up for Userbrain and we’ll keep you updated.