Having worked in web design and development for more years than I care to remember, I knew how important getting real user feedback was.
The difficulty was finding a way to get it without breaking the bank.
Everyone I spoke to agreed that user testing was a great idea, but actually organising and running
in-house studies was time-consuming and difficult to organise. Not only was it tricky to find willing participants, you then had to
find dates that worked for everybody, not to mention fighting the bureaucracy to book a room and equipment with
which to run the study. It was a thankless task, and so it was pretty clear to me that, for an easier life, it was getting skipped.
I'd had some good results with dedicated expert usability reviews but they were expensive and they didn't really reflect the
mindset or experience of ordinary users. What really mattered was what the target users thought, but getting that feedback was
I'd created a framework using screencasting tools and focus groups, but it still took a lot of time and I decided that it was time for
something with a bit more power and requiring a bit less effort. That's why I started work on Kupima...
In case you wondered (and you'd be forgiven if you did), Kupima is the Swahili word for 'testing'. It had a nice ring to it,
and so the Kupima brand was born. I wanted to create an easy-to-use service that allowed anyone to have their website tested by
real people who match your own typical user profiles, and crucially it had to provide some way of organising those results over time.
Kupima was originally a commercial service, but despite being perhaps the most fully featured user testing site, I kept wondering whether
user testing should perhaps be free to all, at least in its basic form. I wanted to help the little guy who might struggle to justify the
modest cost of user testing, and started to look at how I might offer the service for free.
What marks Kupima out from its competitors is its flexibility - you can define your own
bespoke questionnaires or base your test on a template, view summarised charts of the tester responses you receive and even have it
create summary reports for each test in PDF format. You also get a powerful management interface which allows you to organise, edit
and review as many tests as you like from a single place. Best of all, it's free. No cost. The only compromise is that you need to
bring your own users, because independent testers (which we originally had) expect to be paid, and for this to be sustainable it needs
to operate with the lowest overheads possible.
Now, I know I'm biased, but I do believe that we've a great service here and because Kupima is a smaller company than some of its
competitors, it means that should you ever need to talk to us, we're always available and happy to help.
Since Kupima is now a free service, we can't guarantee support but we'll help where we can. If you like what we do, all we
ask is that you help us to spread the word - and we've built a referral system for our customers to help.
Kupima removes the traditional barriers to getting proper user feedback - and with it now being a free service, you have absolutely no
excuse not to try it. Go on, take it for a spin and see how powerful it is.
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