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A Silicon Valley Story: UserTesting has gone Google

Posted by Darrell Benatar, Founder and CEO of UserTesting

Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Darrell Benatar, founder and CEO of UserTesting. UserTesting provides fast and inexpensive website usability testing by giving website owners on-demand access to a large panel of users who will record their screen and voice as they use a specified website. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Everyone talks about how important usability testing is, but 99% of website owners have never done it. We started UserTesting three years ago to make it so fast and easy that no one would have an excuse not to do it. Traditional usability testing involves recruiting users, hiring a moderator, and renting a facility where users perform website tasks while being videotaped. Big companies can afford all this, but most small ones can’t. So at UserTesting, we assembled a nationwide base of articulate users who are available on-demand and who can quickly deliver valuable information and results.

We’ve seen amazing growth since 2008, and I consider Google’s technology an integral part of that success. We now have 15 employees, four of whom work offsite. IM, voice, and video chat, which are built right into Gmail, allow us to easily bridge that physical gap. I was an early adopter of Gmail and saw right away the benefits of cloud-based communication.

Throughout our business, we’ve made use of many of the other parts of Google Apps as well, including Google Docs and Google Tasks, which is also built into Gmail. Our intranet runs on Google Sites, and it allows us to embed Google Docs and Google Calendar items right into pages. Having everyone interact on a task spreadsheet streamlines the process and allows managers to keep track of projects. We even make use of canned responses to address standard emails from customers with questions. And now, we are actively using Google+ to share what’s going on in our office with each other.

I feel strongly that any business would benefit from cloud-based productivity tools. Since start-ups are inherently open to new ideas and don’t have to deal with legacy issues, it makes sense to hit the ground running with solutions that just make your business work and don’t require an IT department. Why Google Apps? Because I have confidence that Google will keep adding more and more features that will keep making our lives easier.