Usability Vendor Checklist: 4 Essential Things to Ask Your Potential Vendor

  • 57% would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site.
  • 40% have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.
  • 23% of adults have cursed at their phone when a site doesn’t work

Let’s face it: finding a professional usability vendor can be confusing for companies that require usability services.

Most companies are quite good at other professional services, such as accounting and human resources consulting, but when it comes to usability, they are quite uncertain.

This is most likely because they have little or no experience on how to evaluate usability vendors.

Often, usability vendors provide varied generic information, reviews, and other related data about their services that does not seem to match the firm’s needs, making it extremely difficult to compare vendors.

So, what do companies looking for usability services do?

They ask other companies for referrals, or find usability “experts” themselves by looking for usability vendors that rank in the first page of search engines such as Google for keyword phrases such as “usability testing,” or “top 10 usability testing vendors.”


But there’s a huge FLAW to this approach!

Firstly, referrals and word-of-mouth references are difficult to come by from other companies, and even if referrals are given, there’s no guarantee that the usability services provided to the referring company would be the same for your company’s project requirements.

Secondly, choosing the usability vendor based on their rankings in search results cannot guarantee you’ll get the best usability services for your particular needs either.

Judging a vendor by referrals or word-of mouth and top rankings on search results is highly unreliable.

Because you can’t compare different usability vendors in a reasonable manner and whatever information is available may not address your firm’s unique requirements.

So, how do you, as a company looking for usability services, compare vendors in an impartial and fair basis?

And how can you conduct a reasonable comparison to accurately find the best usability vendor for your company’s unique needs?

This post is going to list usability vendor checklist that will help you find the ‘right’ usability vendor that will address the unique needs of your projects properly.

Usability vendor checklist that will help you find the ‘right’ usability vendor

Usability vendor checklist that will help you find the ‘right’ usability vendor

Top benefits of using a usability vendor checklist:

The best approach to accurately and fairly evaluate potential usability vendors for your unique projects goals is to incorporate a checklist of common usability practices in a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Information (RFI) that any genuine and qualified vendor can respond to.

By using a usability vendor checklist as a part of early information gathering process, and asking potential vendors to provide that information as part of RFP or RFI response, you’ll have all the information you need to compare usability vendors in a fair and impartial method.

In addition to using this checklist, you can also the vendor to provide a sample deliverable or report. We agree that it’s not always possible to compare apples to apples, but when the checklist is combined with the sample report, it will give you a better estimate of the capabilities or deliverables a usability vendor often delivers to their clients.

Top benefits of doing usability testing

Top benefits of doing usability testing

Usability Vendor Checklist to Make Apples to Apples Comparisons of Usability Vendors:

1. Usability Vendor’s Profile and History:

If you’re looking to hire a usability vendor, you must evaluate their business to make sure they’re in good economic condition and is reputable.

Ask yourself these questions to learn more about the vendor’s company and history:

Usability Vendor’s Profile and History
  • How long the usability vendor has been providing services?
  • Do they have a team? If they do, who are in the team, and do they have proper qualification?
  • If the company is a corporation, what their annual return on investments look like?


 Usability Vendors Profile and History Images

Usability Vendors Profile and History Images

2. References from Past Clients:

Another way to fairly and accurately evaluate a potential vendor is to ask for references from their past clients.

Can they provide you at least 3-4 references from their past clients?

If a vendor cannot produce at least 1 or 2 references, then understand that they’re not reliable.

When you receive at least few references, prepare a list of questions to ask each reference, like this:

References from Past Clients
  • How did the vendor performed for the reference?
  • What worked really well with the reference? What didn’t work?
  • What could have been improved?
Get references from vendors past clients

Get references from vendors past clients

Once you have these questions ready, call each reference and ask these questions to compare a potential usability vendor accurately and fairly.

3. Usability Project Review

As a firm, you should also evaluate the approach, time-line, and deliverables to compare how each vendor recommends proceeding with your usability project.

To evaluate a vendor’s usability testing method, you’ll have to provide detailed requirements about your usability project.

The more detailed your goals, the better a vendor’s responses would be.

With their high-level project recommendations, you’ll quickly find out:

Usability Project Review
  • What approach they will use for your project?
  • How long your project will take, who will perform it, and where it will be done?
  • What standards and practices will be used?
  • What metrics will be analyzed and captured?
  • What will be the cost of the project? What are the deliverables?
Usability project review

Usability project review

4. Usability Testing and / or Analysis:

Ask vendors to provide all the information you need to analyze the testing or analysis methods they’re recommending for your project.

The information should clearly and logically explain their reasons for developing Personas, and how to use those Personas to conduct testing with the usability participants.

It is also important to find how each vendor is going to make the usability data actionable for the firm.

Usability Testing and / or Analysis
  • What testing types are suggested by the vendors? What are the pros and cons of each testing practices?
  • How will the vendor determine what should be tested?
  • Can they explain how those testers are accurate representatives of your web site or application?
  • How will the results of the testing be actionable by you or your web team?
Ask vendors to provide all the information you need to analyze the testing or analysis methods

Ask vendors to provide all the information you need to analyze the testing or analysis methods

We hope you found this usability vendor selection process very helpful. If you have any ideas to share, please comment below!

We will be happy to see your thoughts

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