When we last spoke about usability testing, we introduced the what, why and how of website quality assessment. Though many appreciate the need for usability testing, some may be skeptical about paying for tools. There are a handful of free tools available that can help users better understand how website elements can be improved and how analytic tools can improve the process.

This week we took a look at some of the free tools available and what they offer.

Why Free is Useful

Who doesn’t love free? Free tools are a great way to get your feet wet. They often provide just the basics needed to perform the task at hand. They are often user-friendly and simple to execute, making the process of testing easier for everyone involved.

Free is also a great psychological concept as well. Two years ago, Chris Anderson wrote about it in Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business and explained that:

Technology is giving companies greater flexibility in how broadly they can define their markets, allowing them more freedom to give away products or services to one set of customers while selling to another set.

For some companies offering a free version familiarizes consumers with enough of the product, so they’re hooked. For premium features, that can even further improve or streamline the process, users can upgrade at a cost.

The Limitations of Free

With free products, you get what you pay for. New users may want to gain experience using free services, but once they’ve continued along the learning curve, free may no longer be the best resource.

Online services that are free may lack the technical support, advanced workflows and in-depth analytics that advanced users may require. In addition, research shows that when you actively invest in something, like money, you tend to value it more than if you needn’t do anything at all to access it.

Three Free Tools


Currently in beta and only recently launched, UserPlus aims to share usability knowledge with web designers, web developers, usability specialists and all others interested in creating user friendly websites. 

In three easy steps, users can upload a screenshot, tag design elements for which you seek advice and find out the usability score.


Not only does UserPlus provide a platform for you to test your own designs, the site is full of great tips and best practices for improving your site’s usability. From writing articles for the web to password accessibility, UserPlus not only wants users to test their site, but understand the elements than can influence it.

With UserPlus Advisor, users can also discover the most important obstacles that may be having a negative impact on your revenue stream. Users can sign up to be invited to take part.


A usability startup located in Amsterdam, Usabilla aims to provide Transparent Usability to its clients. Having partnered with usability experts, user experience designers, marketeers, web developers and graphic designers from all over the world, they seem to have developed a streamlined approach for users to follow.