12 Best Sites To Collect User Research For Your Startup
Collecting user research is essential for any startup. Whether you're just starting out or are looking to expand your user base, it pays off to know who your customers are and how they interact with your product. The Internet is full of resources designed to help you gather user research, but which ones should you use?
Luckily, we've compiled a list of the 12 of the best user research tools available to help you in your search. Our team here at Aloa is always on the lookout for the latest and greatest when it comes to user research, so you can rest assured that we've done the legwork for you.
We'll go through the notable features of each tool, their benefits to the user research process, and what you can expect in terms of pricing and outcome. By the end, you'll have a complete list of options based on your startup's needs.
Let's get started!
What is User Research, and Why is it Important?
User research is the process of gathering data to understand what your customer’s needs are and how they interact with your product. The data collected from user research then provides developers with the assets to create better customer user experiences (UX). Your UX is the foundation for your startup's success; it makes customers stay, come back, and tell their friends about you.
By gathering user research, you get an in-depth look into who your customers are and what they want from your product. This helps you to identify opportunities and make improvements to the customer experience. Additionally, you get great feedback regarding customer validation, which is a huge step towards successful product development.
Startups can conduct user research in various ways, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc. Each form of research results in a different data set, so it's essential to understand your objective before choosing which method to use. Let's go through the various methods of collecting user research based on the type of information they result in.
Quantitative and Qualitative User Research
Quantitative user research is about collecting data that can be measured in numerical values. It includes surveys, polls, and A/B testing. Quantitative research helps you to understand how customers interact with your product based on averages and trends l, such as which features they use the most or how often they visit your website.
Qualitative user research is about gathering information that can't be measured in numbers. It includes interviews, focus groups, and usability testing. Qualitative research helps uncover deeper insights into customer behavior, such as why they use your product and how it meets their needs.
Moderated and Unmoderated User Research
Moderated user research is when the person gathering the information is present during the process. This could be through interviews, focus groups, or face-to-face conversations. Moderated research helps you understand customer behavior in more detail as you can ask follow-up questions and probe for more information based on their responses.
Unmoderated user research is when the person gathering the information is not present during the process. This could be through surveys, polls, or online discussions. Unmoderated research helps you to collect data quickly and efficiently from a large group of people.
In collecting user research, it's important to understand your customers' needs, as it will help you create products that truly meet their expectations. The collected data can also give valuable insights into improving existing products or services.
12 Highly Recommended UX Research Tools For 2023
User research can be used to inform product design and marketing decisions, as well as identify opportunities for improvement. It's essential for startups because it allows you to build a better product that meets customer expectations and helps ensure long-term success. With that in mind, let's get to the 12 best user research tools for startups!
Best Overall Tools To Collect User Research
The best overall tools for collecting user research aggregates all types of research in one place. Startups and product developers can use these tools to conduct their research from start to finish while gathering all the essential data necessary to create a user-centric product that meets customer needs.
1. Maze - Best for conducting research from start to finish
Maze offers a comprehensive list of user research testing solutions that allows startups to customize their process based on specific testing needs. Startups and innovators can pick their method and style for gathering user research based on usage or feature. This makes it easier to collect the precise data your product needs to succeed.
Maze's ability to aggregate multiple tools and user research methods into one place makes it stand out from other tools in the market. This makes it highly convenient for startups to organize and streamline their user research collection process without worrying about jumping from platform to platform to get all the necessary information.
Maze also offers valuable product solutions for actionable user testing with card sorting, tree testing, and in-product prompts, to name a few. Combined, these UX research methods follow the best qualitative and quantitative research practices.
Benefits of Maze for Startups:
- Integrates with multiple design platforms: Maze integrates with popular design platforms like Figma, InVision, Adobe XD and Sketch.
- Get comprehensive reports and analytics: Startups can automate, filter, and collaborate on research projects to enhance data collection efforts towards actionable insights.
- Gather data based on the use case or feature: Maze's user research solutions let startups test their product against market viability or product usability, depending on what stage of development they aim to improve.
- Access to resource guides: Startups can access a handful of valuable resources like guides, case studies, and podcasts for more ideas on how to gather essential user research data.
- Connect with the innovator community: The innovator community on Maze makes it easy to bounce ideas off like-minded professionals to share and apply new user research methods, making it ideal for startups looking to build their processes.
Maze Pricing Plans
Maze offers users three pricing plans: Free, Professional, and Organization.
- Free: Ideal for individuals and research teams looking for light research to support product development.
- Professional ($99 month): Ideal for startup product development teams who want to increase their user research capabilities.
- Organization (Custom pricing): Best for enterprise-level teams who require a large amount of user research data on multiple projects.
2. Optimal Workshop - Best for analyzing user research data
Optimal Workshop carries a suite of products and solutions for startups and innovators looking to expand their user research capabilities and bring them into the modern-day market. Optimal Workshop was built with digital product designers and developers in mind, giving them the power to analyze data from user research across multiple stages of development.
As a user research collection tool, it stands out as being able to provide users with add-on products to their solutions. Users can easily choose which products to apply to their research without being bogged down by unnecessary features. While the base solution gives users enough tools to work with, the additional products supplement specified research for those looking to collect a certain data set.
Optimal Workshop Benefits For Startups:
- Choose from 5 user research methods: Each method allows users to gather the right set of qualitative or quantitative information.
- Easily find participants with the in-app recruitment panel: The in-app recruitment panel streamlines the participant screening and pooling process.
- Automatically organize research data: Optimal workshop includes automated analytics, aggregating and organizing data based on participant feedback.
- Apply additional products to your user research: Users can easily add or omit products of their choice to customize their user research study to git specific requirements.
- Access valuable resources: Optimal workshop includes blog guides and case studies that users can browse to get insights and ideas.
Optimal Workshop Pricing Plans
Optimal Workshop offers up four pricing tiers based on the scale and potential scope of your user research requirements:
- Free: Ideal for individuals and solo entrepreneurs looking to jumpstart their user research process.
- Pro ($249/month): Best for freelance and small development teams looking for a more comprehensive user research tool set.
- Team ($249/month): Ideal for small research teams handling multiple projects simultaneously.
- Enterprise (Custom pricing): Best for scaling teams looking to quickly grow their capabilities in releasing new products.
3. Userlytics - Best for collecting qualitative and quantitative data
Userlytics is a user research platform designed for startups and innovators who need to collect qualitative and quantitative data on their products. As one of the most comprehensive solutions available, it provides users with everything they need to understand customer needs and behaviors.
It's safe to say that Userlytics offers another comprehensive solution for startups and product developers looking to diversify or build their processes in collecting user research. With an all-around tool like Userlytics, developers can focus on applying their research results more quickly rather than spending valuable time on analysis and organization.
Benefits of Userlytics For Startups:
- Multiple capabilities: Userlytics provides a comprehensive list of capabilities developers can apply to their user research collection process.
- Touches on all research types: Userlytics provides solutions for moderated, unmoderated, qualitative, and quantitative research.
- Mixed method research: Take advantage of Userlytics mixed method research. You'll be able to apply multiple research styles that have already been proven effective.
- Participant pooling: Users can save time targeting participants by gathering the right group on the platform. Userlytics has over 1.5 million viable participants to filter through and engage with.
Userlytics Price Plans:
Compared to Maze and Optimal Workshop, Userlyrics does come at a hefty price point; their starting price is $499/month, billed annually for 2 account seats and unlimited participants. Though a high price point, it does serve as an all-encompassing user research collection platform that medium to large startups or businesses can take advantage of. Here is a quick breakdown of the price options:
- Premium ($499/month billed annually): Ideal for small research teams with around 5-10 people.
- Advanced ($999/month billed annually): Ideal for research teams of 10-15 people looking to gather in-depth user research for multiple product development projects.
- Enterprise (starts at $3,450/year): Best for large product development teams who require user research often and consistently.
- Custom: Ideal for user research teams with varying needs.
4. Respondent.io - Best for finding research participants
Respondent.io is the ideal user research solution for startups looking to engage verified participants to test their products. Every startup founder or product developer can attest to the importance of a high-level participant pool when testing market and product usability for a specific segment. With Respondent.io, you can target users based on the metrics you're after. It's a streamlined process compared to vetting and pooling participants manually through sites like Linkedin.
Product developers can use Respondent.io's capabilities to find and reach out to verified participants in a safe, secure, and reliable environment. The platform is built on an algorithm that filters potential research participants based on specific criteria like demographics and industry knowledge. This makes sure startups get nothing but the best quality feedback from experts within the industry.
Respondent.io Benefits For Startups:
- Managed participant pooling: Users can access managed services in connecting with their ideal pool of participants.
- High-level targeting: Specified criteria and filtering make it easy to gather the ideal pool of participants based on your product's target audience.
- Streamlines engagement: Users can connect and engage with participants on the platform.
- Principal and global participants: Respondent.io offers a wide range of participants to choose from locally and globally.
- Multiple research methods: Users can choose the research method they want to use with their participants, whether moderated or unmoderated user research testing.
Respondent.io Pricing Plans:
Respondent.io does not have contracts or subscription fees. Instead, users pay per project based on the incentives you want to provide your participants. There is also an option to use a credit bundle, which allows you to purchase and consume your credits at a discounted rate.
5. Ethnio.io - Best for participant management
Ethnio makes it to the top 5 best tools for collecting user research for its focus on generating highly organized and accurate participant feedback data. Ethnio lets product developers gain insight into their participants' user behaviors, personas, and attitudinal patterns. From there, Ethnio can generate qualitative reports that give users an overview of testing results.
Though Ethnio's main benefit focuses on participant feedback reporting, the tool can quickly generate and organize large amounts of participant data. In turn, developers can act on the results quickly and make necessary adjustments within a short amount of time. Ethnio succeeds in speeding up the user research process and making it easier for developers to maintain.
Benefits of Ethnio for Startups:
- Participant pooling: Take advantage of Ethnio's pool of vetted participants to ensure you have the right people testing your product.
- Participant CRM: Ethnio is built as a CRM, so it's easier to track, engage, and update participants throughout product testing.
- Report generation: Users can generate reports and analytics based on participant feedback, eliminating manual processes in data aggregation.
- Global incentives: Pay or incentives participants based on their currency, ideal for global products that require a wider audience testing base.
Ethnio Price Plans:
Ethnio offers new users a 14-day free trial to test the platform. Aside from that, here are Ethnio's price tiers for consideration:
- Starter ($79/month): Great for product user research teams of up to 10 people.
- Plus ($179/month): Great for product research teams who want a high level of collaboration among team members.
- Pro ($349/month): Ideal for product research teams needing robust user testing capabilities.
- Enterprise (Custom price): Suitable for large scale business releasing new products frequently.
Best User Research Tools For Gathering Survey Feedback
One of the most significant elements of user research is gathering feedback about the performance and usability of your product. With that, most user research tools will have a solution catering to gathering insights on user behaviors and attitudinal patterns. However, if you are looking for a more specialized tool that focuses on gathering feedback using qualitative research methods above all else, then these options are worth checking out.
6. Sprig - Best for participant feedback analysis and report generation
Sprig is a highly organized platform that enables you to organize and aggregate participants in an easy-to-understand manner. With Sprig, developers can conduct product surveys to collect data as participants use the product. Additionally, developers can test their initial concept and MVP with participants to see its market viability.
Startups and product developers looking to aggregate and organize all participant feedback will find the service features highly intuitive and applicable to user research collection. The products also make it easy to decide on the study type to get the precise information needed to optimize product development or launch.
Benefits of Sprig for Startups:
- Targeted solutions: Each solution is catered for specific roles such as product managers, designers, or UX researchers, making it easier to choose which
- Ready-made templates: Users can choose from 75+ templates for surveys and usability testing or create their own based on ideal needs.
- AI analysis: Sprig's AI eliminates hours of manual analysis by grouping voice and text responses using an AI algorithm.
- Integrations: Integrate Sprig with essential product development tools like Figma, Adobe XD, InVision, and more for seamless user research data collection.
Sprig Price Plans:
Sprig offers three pricing plans for startups to choose from:
- Free: Ideal for gathering base user research data to jumpstart your data collection initiative.
- Starter ($199/month): Ideal for small base user research needs.
- Enterprise (Custom pricing): Suitable for large scale user research needs and business releasing new products frequently.
7. Survey Monkey - Best for streamlined survey creation
Survey Monkey is known for being the go-to user feedback form creator. The platform provides an easy-to-use survey builder that can be used to create surveys with various types of questions such as multiple choice, rating scales and open-ended. Survey Monkey also allows users to share the surveys on social media channels or via email.
Startups and product developers looking to streamline the product development process through a templated online survey will save a lot of time by using Survey Money. With that, teams can focus on using survey feedback to improve design decisions.
Benefits of SurveyMonkey for Startups:
- Template library: Choose from over 1,000 pre-made survey templates with editable fields to streamline participant questionnaires.
- Cross industry: Surveys are usable for all types of industries and target markets.
- Specialized products: Users can browse a variety of products and choose the ones that best suit your research goals.
- Solutions for every type of team: Survey Monkey
SurveyMonkey Pricing Plans:
Survey Money offers 3 price groups based on the type of team using the platform:
- Team Plans: Team plans start at $25/user/month and are ideal for teams working together to collect user research data.
- Individual Plans: Starts at $22/month billed annually and is great for individuals and freelancers who work solo in collecting user research data.
- Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing and best for large research projects who require data often.
8. Google Forms - Best for being cost effective
Google Forms offers startups and independent developers an affordable option for gathering qualitative user research data. The platform is free to use and comes with features that allow you to create comprehensive survey forms to gather participant feedback. While it is limited to sending out your surveys separate from product testing, it's a great way to save on financial resources and still get the essential user research information required to move forward with product development.
Benefits of Google Forms for Startups:
- Easily accessible: Accessing the platform is simple and no additional software installation is required.
- Cost-effective: Google Forms is completely free to use and does not require a subscription. However, teams needing more robust features can opt for a pair tier for additional solutions.
- Integrate with Google Sheets: Integrates with Google Sheets for easy data sharing and collaboration.
- Simple customization: Customize questions, formats, and other elements to make your surveys more precise.
Google Form Price Plans:
- Free: Ideal for user research teams looking to jumpstart their user research creation process.
- Standard Business ($12/month/user): Great for user research teams who require a larger storage space for gathered data.
Best For Prototype Testing
Prototype testing is a form of user research that gauges the functionality of your product in terms of your user's experience in interacting with the various components of your product. Usually, prototype testing occurs during the product conceptualization phase once you want to fine-tune the potential features and user experience of your product before launching it.
The best user research collection tools for prototype testing focus more on quantitative data that supports better design decisions. Additionally, great tools will help you address user pain points.
9. Feedback Loop - Best for gathering actionable prototype feedback
Feedback Loop is a user research tool that is especially well-suited for prototype testing. It's an online user research platform that allows developers to test out different product ideas and feedback on how they experience the product. Feedback Loop offers qualitative data-gathering solutions such as:
- Early-stage discovery
- Roadmap prioritization
- Concept testing
- Message testing
Startups and product developers looking to create an innovative product that also ensures market fit should consider using Feedback Loop for prototype testing. Not only will you get valuable feedback from users, but the survey data can also help you make design decisions that are more user-friendly and efficient.
Benefits of Feedback Loop for Startups:
- Collect user feedback on prototypes: Easily collect qualitative data on prototype ideas and design solutions.
- Analyze results quickly: Visualize the data in real-time with easy to interpret graphs and charts.
- Secure cloud storage: All your survey data is securely stored in the Feedback Loop cloud, so you can access it anytime, anywhere.
Feedback Loop Pricing Plan:
Feedback Loop does come at a hefty price point past the free trial. However, the comprehensive solutions and products do make the investment well worth it provided you have the funds and will make good use of it to scale your current products and drive new product development.
- Essential (Starts at $20K/year): Great for teams who need constant feedback and user insight on their products and future products.
- Most Popular (Starts at $44K/year): Ideal for large teams running multiple product development projects simultaneously.
- Enterprise (Starts at $70K/year): Ideal for large teams who require a high level of flexibility and support in user research.
10. Loop 11 - Best for identifying prototype marketability
Loop 11 draws its benefits from offering startups data-driven insights towards addressing pain points in design decisions. With Loop 11, developers can determine where their product can make the biggest impact in the market. Loop 11's user research tool is designed to test out product concepts and gather quantitative data like pageviews or conversions. In addition, users can answer qualitative questions about the product experience.
Loop 11 offers a wealth of data that helps product development teams focus on what matters most in their design decisions. The research allows development teams to target areas where they can make an impact most effectively, saving time and money while also ensuring marketability for their product concepts.
Benefits of Loop 11 for Startups:
- A/B user testing: Test out user experiences with multiple pages quickly and easily.
- Multiple screen tests: Test out your product or website's usability on various screens such as desktop, tablet, laptop, or mobile.
- Analytics reports: Generate easy-to-read analytics reports that let you track user engagement and
- Search engine find-ability: Find out how to optimize your product's marketing strategy for search engines.
Loop 11 Pricing Plans:
Loop 11 has three price tiers to select from, all of which you can easily upgrade, downgrade, or expand on based on your user research needs. The flexibility makes Loop 11 ideal for startups scaling their capabilities.
- Rapid Insights ($199/month): Best for user research teams looking to focus on prototype testing in terms of product usability and functionality.
- Pro ($399/month): Best for teams who want to dive into market research with additional solutions like heatmap and clickstreams.
- Enterprise ($599/month): Ideal for user research teams looking to gather and compile comprehensive user research data at large scale.
11. Ribbon - Best for team collaboration
Ribbon's goal in collecting user research is to provide development teams with actionable qualitative data through applicable research questions. Similar to Lookback, their solutions center on user interviews. The differentiating factor compared to Lookback is their in-product survey solution. User interviews act as a moderated form of user experience research. While interviews act as the unmoderated research choice.
Benefits of Ribbon for Startups:
- Combine research methods: Versatile research capabilities through combined methods, making your user research more specific and targeted.
- Apply feedback instantly: Create and aggregate participant feedback quickly so you can apply necessary changes as soon as possible for fast turnaround times.
- Collaborative options: Teams can collaborate through shared dashboards, allowing teams to effectively communicate and manage tasks.
- Schedule and engage on the platform: Hassle-free scheduling and engagement options to easily organize user interviews and surveys.
Ribbon Pricing Plans:
Ribbon comes with a handful of great solutions for startups to take advantage of. However, paid plans come in at a relatively high price point. Even so the solutions have great benefit for those looking to invest in a robust user research tool.
12. Lookback - Best for capturing participant session recordings
Lookback focuses on allowing users to collect moderated and unmoderated user research data through two main product offerings: usability testing and user interviews. With usability testing, development teams can create step-by-step processes for participants to follow for moderated testing methods. On the other hand, interviews allow user research teams to set up video calls with timestamped notes.
Aggregating both usability testing and interview tools, startups gain the advantage of gathering moderated and qualitative user data. While Lookback's user feedback does focus on attitudinal research, developers can use the data to improve their MVP towards better A/B testing and canary testing against real-world user needs.
Benefits of Lookback for Startups:
- Participant screen recordings: Get insight into your user's reactions and insights in real-time as they use your product.
- Session feed: Allow your team to input instructions or explanations during user sessions to moderate product use.
- Session transcription: Transcribe sessions into easy-to-understand scripts, making it easy to identify key parts for actionable insights.
- Highlight reels: Create highlight reels that aggregate important segments and omit unnecessary parts for streamlined review.
- Export necessary data: Export all your transcriptions, notes, and videos for offline team collaboration.
Lookback Pricing Plans:
Lookback does not offer a free plan for testing, but users can sign-up for a free trial and demo, which includes 5 free sessions. Apart from that, Lookback's paid tiers are:
- Freelance ($25/month): Ideal as a cost-effective choice for solo entrepreneurs and freelancers not expecting more than 10 participant testing sessions within a year.
- Team ($149/month): Ideal for startups and small product development teams looking to use 100 or less sessions a year
- Insights Hub ($344/month): Ideal for startups and product development teams who plan on scaling their product development and require more testing sessions.
- Enterprise (Custom price): Best for large businesses who require frequent participant testing sessions to improve or release new products.
Collecting user research data when designing a new product gives developer teams valuable insight on how to go about creating the best user experience. With that designs will have real world applications that address user pain points. Through investing in and using the right tools, generative research can be streamlined towards a user-centric design approach.
Aloa is always on the lookout for the latest and greatest tools that make running a successful startup easier and more efficient. Make sure to check out our list of start-up resources for recommendations and discounts!