Trymyui – The next generation of mass usability testing?

Trymyui, a new service offering remote usability testing, just hit the scene this spring. TryMyUI is backed by Sani El-Fishawy who started Classifieds2000.com – back in 1997.  Classifields2000 was one of the internet startups back in the late 90′s – they powered the classifields section of many major portals of the day – Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, GeoCities and even Hotmail. In 1997 they raised their first round of $2.8M led by Polaris Venture Partners and then sold the company to Excite for $48M in 1998 — Ahah the good old days of the .COM boom!

What is TryMyUI?

Trymyui is a service that allows companies to understand their web users better. Any company that wants to understand not only what a user would do on their website, but also why they would do it should visit Trymyui to set up an account and receive a prompt reply. Trymyui assembles and trains testers who have to go through a rigorous qualification process (less than 10% actually make it). The testers are trained to articulate their thoughts while they browse a company’s website, performing various tasks. Trymyui records the tester’s screen and voice and delivers a video to the company as well as responses to a questionnaire that the company sets up within a matter of hours.

Why is it unique?

The Trymyui website is spiffy, the tone of their content is candid, and their service is incredibly useful. It was easy to find answers to my questions as well as understand those answers once I found them. But what makes me excited about Trymyui is that it encourages companies to go further with their user testing – any user testing firm that encourages deeper interaction with the user understands that traditional market research is no longer enough.

What is the business model – aka is this real?

TryMyUI is currently in beta, so its obviously free. They plan on charging anywhere between $10 to $25 per  test. Comparing this to a traditional in-person usability testing model, this is what we call in the business “a disruptive” model. The reason this can be provided at such low a price is that the testers are at their homes – so there are no capital costs involving setup of computers etc. – Anyone with a microphone and a decent ability to verbalize their thoughts as they are clicking through a site can be a tester.

Challenges / Naysayers?

Couple:

  1. The obvious security and confidentiality issue. If you are developing a super-secret application and you don’t want anyone to run though the app – well – we have a little issue here. I don’t see Microsoft using this to do usability testing on a brand new product line. Maybe a private version of TryMyUI with a controlled group would be an add-on in the future?
  2. Scale and Pricing – Can you really scale this business to something large at $20/Test – Maybe. I am not sure. Of course time will be the judge. This is very applicable to Web based applications – so thats a fairly large market – but still a finite market size. Furthermore, the mobile application market is growing and in theory taking away from the web-app development market.

Related posts:

  1. Statistical testing. It’s a good thing
  2. Social Media Research – WTF is it anyway? – Part 1
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About Vivek Bhaskaran

Vivek Bhaskaran is the President and CEO of Survey Analytics.