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5 best concept testing tools and more to bring your product ideas to life
Want to know if your latest idea will hit the mark with your users? Try concept testing—a research method that helps you gauge user reactions to new product or design ideas before they go live.
Concept testing tools come in many forms. So to help you avoid choice overload, we’ve created a shortlist of powerful, proven tools for concept testing every aspect of your product: development, branding, and marketing.
The previous chapters of this guide show how picking apart your ideas is important before going all out in production—it’s how you steer away from making poor decisions and wasting precious resources.
Once you reach the end of this chapter, you'll have identified the ideal tool (or tools!) to run your very own concept tests. These options enable you to execute various concept testing methods, from interviews to surveys to A/B testing.
Ready to jump in? Let’s begin.
Product feedback at your fingertips
Set your product up for success. Gather early insights from potential users before going big into its development.
Is it worth building? Use these concept testing tools to find out
Whether you’re building from scratch or updating your existing tech stack, you can’t go wrong with these top five concept testing tools for your surveys, interviews, and A/B testing needs:
What it is: Qualtrics is a platform focused on four core business experiences, including customer and product. Enterprises use its research tools to test their product’s features, branding, and messaging.
What’s in it for you: with a sizable market research and development (R&D) budget comes great responsibility. And this responsibility includes testing and refining a product concept—amplifying its strengths and addressing any underlying issues—prior to the market release.
This is where Qualtrics’ expertise in collecting and analyzing product sentiment comes in. It provides a simple, cost-effective means to test-and-learn execution.
How it works: discover patterns and trends in open text responses through Text iQ, which combines the power of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP). This solution automatically tags topics and spots trends.
If you deal with a ton of feedback, it means you don’t have to go through every response to find the most significant ones. You can start analyzing almost immediately, gaining insights to make the right decisions and support for the concept at an early stage.
2. Hotjar Surveys
What it is: going beyond traditional web and product analytics, Hotjar (yup, that’s us 👋) offers an intuitive, visual way to understand your users’ actual experience. Our platform comprises user behavior and voice-of-the-customer (VoC) feedback tools that let you access unbiased, in-context insights during concept testing.
What’s in it for you: get direct feedback from potential and existing users with concept testing surveys in the Hotjar Surveys tool. Our dedicated survey templates are quick to set up, making it easier than ever to validate your design concepts and ideas.
With Hotjar’s intuitive tool, you can also add images to your survey questions. This allows for more engaging and efficient polling while including much-needed qualitative data in your analysis and decision-making.
How it works: accomplish various objectives using concept testing surveys. Here are a couple of examples of what you can do:
No time to run an A/B test? Try the preference test
As part of your rebranding efforts, your design team has come up with two strong options for a new logo. With a relaunch imminent, you have no time to run a full-blown A/B test. So you launch a preference test instead. This survey type displays the two versions to your target audience and asks them to select their favorite.
It’s fast (you can create the test in as little as 5 minutes) and low risk. It also delivers relevant user insights, taking the guesswork out of the design process.
Build concept tests targeting specific audiences
Say your product team wants to update a popular feature’s user interface (UI). Our survey templates offer an effective way to assess your highest-paying users’ receptivity toward this change.
Customize the survey to target this specific group or another cohort with User Attributes in Hotjar, and include open and closed-ended questions at the end to reveal the reasoning behind their actions.
👉 Check out our Help Center for more information on using User Attributes with Surveys.
But wait, there’s more! Test your marketing assets or validate your feature naming ideas, and embed a popover survey on your high-traffic pages to instantly collect as many responses as possible.
An example of a feature naming test done in Surveys
3. Hotjar Engage
What it is: Engage empowers your team to conduct seamless, remote user interviews. It automates every aspect, from recruitment and scheduling to hosting and reporting.
What’s in it for you: you already know how crucial the sample quality is to concept testing. So ensure you reach the right people by recruiting from Hotjar’s pool of 175,000+ verified participants.
With a solid group of respondents, you gain reliable insights and make good use of your time, money, and effort to drastically improve your iteration and decision-making process.
How it works: once you find and start to connect with your target audience, you can show and get feedback for your design. Record your sessions to capture people’s thoughts and feelings about your product or service ideas. Then, watch the recordings later to pinpoint areas of confusion and moments of delight.
Engage gives your concept testing sessions the kind of intimacy usually saved for user testing (which generally occurs when you already have an actual product, but it hasn't undergone a massive rollout yet).
By involving them in this process and incorporating their feedback into the final product offering, you’re showing your customers you value their opinion and are committed to giving them the best user experience.
What it is: landing page builder Unbounce lets you dry-run copy, design elements, and calls to action (CTA), so you can optimize your landing pages and transform your most viable ideas into full-fledged marketing campaigns.
What’s in it for you: conduct an A/B test or multivariate test in Unbounce if you have a couple (or more!) ideas for your landing pages. This method gives you a glimpse of the concept that will perform better when applied in the real world. As such, it helps you build confidence in your decisions and, ultimately, enhances the UX and your conversion.
How it works: A/B testing in Unbounce works by splitting traffic between two variations of the same landing page and seeing which version users prefer. Here, you get clues into how your users behave on the page and what motivates them to convert.
💡 Pro-tip: integrate Hotjar with Unbounce to deepen user insights and elevate landing page performance. The integration lets you view session recordings and heatmaps for A/B tests, as well as display surveys on different variants.
Easily compare user behavior across pages and uncover why certain variants are more successful than others. With this extra layer of insight, you’ll confidently select the most successful concepts and optimize them for maximum conversion.
Here’s how to filter recordings of your Unbounce test variants
What it is: as we mentioned, concept testing spans other product aspects, such as pricing, marketing, and—as far as Userpilot is concerned—messaging. This platform provides a way for you to test how users react to different messages.
What’s in it for you: Userpilot enables you to segment users based on their interactions with your product. This yields insights into how visitors receive your message depending on, say, their demographics (e.g. age, gender, and income) or subscription tier.
Use this data to enhance and tailor your message to each segment or your most important one. Remember: conveying your new product’s value clearly can boost your conversions, so it’s crucial to nail it at the conceptual stage.
How it works: test your messaging in Userpilot by creating copy and design for specific user segments. Then, look at the engagement rate and exit rate to see how people behave on your homepage, landing pages, and high-traffic pages.
Also, ask yourself while developing the test: is it clear to users what your product does? Do they resonate with your copy and click your CTAs? Or do they bounce off the page so quickly, you'd swear they made a terrible mistake?
5 more product concept testing and complementary tools
Supplement your concept testing method with any of these additional tools, software, or platforms:
UsabilityHub: this user testing platform offers tools for gathering quick feedback on a single concept or more, such as preference tests, surveys, and click tests. Here, you can glean insights into the user experience and preferences while saving time and money through efficient testing. To begin, upload the design ideas you want to present to users, and use their responses to make informed decisions about the design.
Optimal Workshop: gone are the days of setting up user testing and conducting focus groups in a lab. These days, the likes of Optimal Workshop help you facilitate remote usability testing and concept testing, too. Test your ideas with actual users through card sorting and tree testing, determining the ideal information architecture for your app or website. Or get a sneak peek into what people prioritize when navigating your pages through first-click testing.
Poll the People: not just another A/B testing tool, Poll the People integrates artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to unlock actionable insights. This especially benefits businesses wanting to bolster their marketing efforts while reducing costs and labor.
Figma: this design tool not only lets you create wireframes for concept testing; it also allows real-time collaboration and feedback gathering. This empowers both you and your users to build products together. It works hand-in-hand with VoC tools like Surveys to see why your target audience prefers something over another.
Adobe: last but not least, the maker of trusty design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and XD: Adobe enables professional-level design and provides a range of tools for concept testing and prototyping. Draft layouts using Adobe XD or create ad variants in Illustrator, and A/B test them to find out which performs better.
What should you consider when choosing a concept testing tool?
Now that you’ve looked at the top concept testing tools, concept testing software, and design testing tools, let’s briefly run over the core components. These criteria are key to picking the most suitable option for anyone testing a product design or concept.
Validate product and service ideas fast
While there’s no shortage of concept testing tools, you only need to combine a few to enhance your tech stack. The goal is to get a hold of valuable user insights ASAP—validating your ideas before putting time, effort, and money into their creation and execution. And the tools on our list are more than capable of fulfilling that purpose.
Some of them easily become crowd favorites, too. So, give them a try and achieve concrete results when you remove the guesswork from your product development and design.
Don't leave your launch to chance
Work with your target audience to refine your concept. Let them tell you directly what they like, hate, or love about your product!