Why don't usability testing companies succeed?


There seems to be a big demand for website feedback, usability and review services. However, companies that offer these services are not making much profit?

For example, Concept Feedback stopped offering expert evaluations, due to:

After amassing nearly 10,000 members, we hadn't made much progress on
generating revenue.
Why don't these companies succeed?

Do customers feel that usability services should be free or very low cost?

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asked Dec 8 '12 at 17:12
11 points
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2 Answers


  1. Usability companies can and are succeeding. I know dozens. From consulting organisations to services like loop11. I run a business myself where a chunk of what we do is related to usability testing.
  2. Concept Feedback isn't a usability testing company. It's a company revolving around providing expert- and heuristic- reviews. In fact - they don't provide them. They act as a middlemen between the customer and a group of expert reviewers. I could give a whole bunch of reasons for why that isn't working terribly well - none of them have much to do with usability not being valued by organisations.

For example:

  • Judging by what I can see the "expert reviews" aren't very expert in many instances.
  • For various reasons expert reviews are, in my opinion, one of the least useful forms of feedback that an organisation can get on the usability front. Especially as, in these cases, it's done in an environment where you get very little context about the organisation and it's target users.
  • Price wise at $99 per expert - even if they got 100% of that money - that's going to buy way less than an hour of a real experts time. So you're either not getting experts, or you're getting very small chunks of time.

Basically the value proposition in this case seems poor rather than it being down to people thinking usability services should be free or cheap. Hell - at $99 per expert this is a cheap service. Just not a terribly useful one.

answered Dec 8 '12 at 20:57
Adrian Howard
2,357 points
  • Thanks for your reply! You are right, the written feedback provided by testers is not always very useful. Perhaps watching users use a website is more useful? E.g. http://www.usertesting.com/, also their price is lower. – Bonyhad 10 years ago


  1. The reviews/tests are made by peers, not target users. Less useful in my opinion. Another concern is not everybody want to expose his site to public peers in early stage.
  2. There is not too much quality control, because of the nature of community. Many reviews end with "nice!"
  3. There is no clear way to make money. A possible way is to sell points to clients who want to get reviews right away. The demand may not be that high.

Just my two cents.

answered Dec 8 '12 at 18:51
Billy Chan
1,179 points
  • Thanks for your reply! Good points. – Bonyhad 10 years ago

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