Sometimes, as website owners, developers, or even UX researchers, we have to understand that what matters to us, doesn‘t necessarily matter to users. Our preferences are our own, not those of the people that will be using our website or other designs. If we want our design to succeed, we should ask our users directly. One of the ways we can do that is through preference testing. In this article, we will show you the 5 best tools you can use for online preference testing.
Preference tests should ideally take place early in the design process to help uncover what the target audience actually needs and prefers. They are however usable at any time during the design process when you need feedback or to learn what users like better. Preference testing is similar to A/B testing but instead of focusing on how the variations of your designs perform you are focusing on what users prefer, or exploring the feelings your designs evoke and why.
Once you have come up with different variations of your designs, show them to your users. Let them choose which one they prefer. Understand what is important to them and why.
Table of contents
For each tool in this article, you will find:
- A short description
- What features for preference testing are available
- Recruitment options
If you want to learn more about when and how to conduct preference testing, check out the Guide to Preference Testing in UX.
UXtweak is an all-in-one UX research platform with all kinds of tools for online user research and user testing in one place. Preference Test Tool is one of them. UXtweak specializes in remote usability testing and it is a great option for unmoderated preference tests which allows you to run your studies quickly, effectively, and with real users, even when you are on a budget. The platform’s UI is very simple and intuitive, where all functions can be easily found in the menu.
With UXtweak you can:
- Use preference testing to test images, text, and audio
- Set up the tasks
- Write messages and instructions for participants
- Create pre-study and post-study questionnaires with any text, images, or links
- Customize the test and Use your own brand colors and logo
Try UXtweak user testing tools as a respondent in these demos ⬇️
When it comes to recruiting participants for your preference tests, UXtweak offers three primary options:
- Share a study link with your own participants.
- Recruit testers from our cost-effective User Panel of over 155 million users with 2000 profiling attributes.
- Use our handy Onsite Recruiting widget to turn your website visitors into participants i your preference test
There is a free forever plan for small-scale projects, and the Pro plan starts at 80€ / month, where you get unlimited tasks and participants, access to all tools, custom branding, and PDF reports. For more information see UXtweak pricing.
UsabilityHub is a remote user research platform with different testing tools to validate any design decision on videos, logos, packaging, or animations. Preference testing by UsabilityHub offers a simple interface with a few basic functions.
With UsabilityHub you can:
- Add welcome and final screen
- Add designs to be tested
- Write follow-up questions
It can also automatically calculate statistical significance when comparing two designs to let the tester know the relevance of the results.
UsabilityHub allows you to recruit respondents in two ways:
- Share a study link with your own testers (at no additional cost)
- Recruit participants from their 340K+ user panel
A free version is available only for testing that lasts a maximum of 2 minutes. and the Basic plan starts at 89$ / month, where you can test up to 5 minutes, and the Pro plan costs 199$ / month with multi-user plans, unlimited tests, and custom branding.
A user testing service that offers several tools for user testing, such as a preference test. With their tool, Useberry recommends testing microcopies, CTAs, variation performance, and design variations.
With their tool, you are able to:
- Select a preference type (image or text)
- Create a task
- Add follow-up questions
- Include intro and thank you screen
For testing in Useberry, you can either bring your own testers or recruit from Useberry’s 240K user panel.
With a free plan, you can collect up to 10 responses. The basic plan costs 28€ (33$) / month and allows 3 projects. Pro plan is 57€ (67$) / month, which contains an unlimited number of tests and responses.
SurveyMonkey is a survey platform that helps companies measure and understand feedback to drive their growth and innovation. It focuses specifically on collecting feedback from users, customers, or employees through surveys. Its interface is suitable for more advanced users.
They don’t offer a tool called a Preference test specifically, but by creating a survey, you are able to collect feedback and other data in a way that can substitute preference study. This platform may be better for someone who wants to send out simple questionnaires because only the Pro plan lets you have access to all features and analysis reports.
However, there is also a tool similar to Preference Study called Product Concept Analysis – “Get your product concepts, feature optimizations, and ideas validated by a trusted audience – in less than an hour.”
You can recruit from their 175M+ user panel, or bring your own testers.
There is a free version of SurveyMonkey, but the features available are very limited. Personal plan then starts at 43€ (50$) / month, and the team plan (minimum 3 users) starts at 34€ (40$) / month. All plans are paid annually, which might be a disadvantage for occasional users.
Maze is a remote user testing platform that allows you to test anything from prototypes through copy to conducting a preference test. It gathers user feedback in one place and collects actionable insights across the teams.
Maze allows you to:
- Build your test as you want block-by-block
- Choose from pre-made templates
- Include welcome and final screen
With Maze you get access to their 70K+ user panel where you can recruit targeted testers, or, alternatively, just bring your own testers at no additional cost.
Maze, like all the platforms above, has a free version, allowing up to 3 projects. The Pro plan starts at 75$ available for up to 10 projects.
Why is Preference Testing so helpful?
In a preference study, users are presented with different variations of the design and asked to choose the one that appeals to them the most. Preference tests are useful especially in the early stages of the designing process, as they help you understand what your users like to see before the final prototypes of the design are prepared for developers. This can save you a lot of time and create a better perception of the product right from the beginning.
Another popular use case is to use preference testing during re-designs as you can test multiple new variations of the design or even include the already existing – you might even learn that you should leave it as it is. You can also use it to polish up your finished designs by asking your users what kind of copy or shape of a button they like more.
In summary, preference tests will make you understand
- What elements are more important or more appealing to your users
- How users perceive your design and how they feel about it
What can be tested using preference testing?
It depends on which part of your design you want to test. Is it the logo? The color scheme? Style of the icons, text, or pictures used? Decide which element of the website you need to validate and create 2-3 versions of that element.
Participants will be then asked to choose their preference from these 2-3 design variations. Usually, the test is followed by a short survey (we highly recommend using questionnaires to ask follow-up questions) to identify the reasoning behind their choices. Remember that just 2 or 3 versions are enough for the test, as it will be much easier for the participants to decide.
We hope that this quick overview helped you compare these popular tools. The fact is that all of the tools above are intuitive and reliable. It is then up to you to decide which tool meets your needs the best. It is important that the tools you use always provide the right features for your case and can analyze collected data clearly.
If you are interested in learning more about usability testing, check out our guide on how to formulate questions for your research.