Optimal workshop vs UserQ

If you’ve been building impactful products for an online world, you’re no stranger to the invaluable role of user experience research in your success strategy. A tried and tested truth is: the more your analysis focuses on narrowed-down, local insights; the more razor-sharp your product will turn out to be. While there’s a multitude of user experience research tools to help you crack the code to customer delight, finding one that suits your business can be daunting. 

For this article, we’ll be giving you a play-by-play comparison as to why UserQ – the newest UX research tool – is an excellent Optimal Workshop alternative. We’ll cover functionality, value for money, customer support and, most importantly, a rich participant panel. Ready?

What makes Optimal Workshop a popular choice for UX testing?

Optimal Workshop is a New Zealand-based company that offers a subscription model to access various unmoderated testing methodologies such as:

  • OptimalSort
    Optimal Workshop’s card sort functionality – discovering the user’s mind frame to develop an actionable information architecture.

  • Treejack
    Optimal Workshop’s tree testing feature for analysing where and how people get lost on your website.

  • Reframer
    Qualitative research tool that’ll slice and dice data to uncover critical insights.

  • Chalkmark
    First-click testing model that measures the usability of your interface based on the actions people reach for first. 

As well as these, Optimal Workshop offers online surveys and participant recruitment too. At $249 per month per seat, the tool is an all-rounder that helps global businesses understand their users and ship better products.


Limitations and the need for an Optimal Workshop alternative

Though the Optimal Workshop platform has a simple user interface that’s easy for most people to use, there are three areas that make it worth considering an alternative: customer service, platform integrations, and the quality of participants.

Mixed customer service experience
Users have shared mixed reviews, over the time taken to receive responses, follow-up and documentation. On the flip side, customers have shared positive comments on how they enjoyed the variety of help on running tests – plus the educational information on which tests to run for their use case. While it seems to be a person-to-person experience, it ultimately boils down to how skilled your UX research staff is and their ability to independently problem-solve.

The need for more platform integrations
The data received from Optimal Workshop doesn’t easily tie into other systems. For example, it doesn’t integrate with design tools – making it hard to validate designs early on.

A participant panel that is inconsistent
The tool gives you access to a recruitment panel of 50+ million participants across 80 languages. Though this works as a massive plus in terms of quantity, User reviews have noted that Optimal Workshop’s participant panel struggles with unmotivated testers – often in a hurry to respond without complete understanding – leaving you to sift through a lot of unusable data. 

A UX research platform that captures regional and cultural behavioural insights is the difference between launching a site and achieving success or failure.

Why product and design teams, looking to capture the MENA market, are switching to UserQ

What's UserQ?

Most global UX research tools have a minimal database of participants from MENA, some as small as 50. UserQ was designed to address the growing demand for authentic research in the MENA region – making up a diverse mix of customers with high purchasing power and a booming business economy. 

UserQ is MENA’s first remote user research platform that provides in-depth qualitative feedback analysis. It’s a power-packed performer with 10+ demographic options and targeting in over 100 countries. It allows you to conduct tests in English or Arabic – ensuring you capture potent insights from the most thriving business landscapes in the region. Plus, its scalable model and pay-as-you-go plan make it a challenging competitor to Optimal Workshop’s pricing.

Why is UserQ a great Optimal Workshop alternative?


Panel pool size


10,000+ panel participants 

10+ demographic options


50+ million participants

Diverse testing capabilities

1. Card sorting
2. Tree testing
3. Preference test
4. Survey
5. Five-second test
6. First-click testing
7. Prototype test

1. OptimalSort – Optimal Workshop card sort functionality
Treejack – Optimal Workshop tree testing functionality
3. Qualitative research
4. First-click testing
5. Survey

User interface and ease of use

Easy to use and highly responsive. It comes packed with helpful tutorials and tooltips for new users to navigate. Plus, if the platform is set to Arabic when testing, the experience is translated fully into Arabic.

Easy to use, but Optimal Workshop card sort and tree testing can be hard to navigate. And the platform isn’t adapted to Arabic.

Customer support and resources

Prompt and effective support from the team, along with comprehensive resource guides.

Mixed user reviews about customer support responses deem it hard to rely on.

Pricing model

Pay as you go: $10 per test

Recruitment: from $2 per participant

Optimal Workshop pricing is broken down into the following plans…

Monthly :
• Free – $0
• Pro – $249
• Team – $249

Enterprise – Custom annually:
• Free – $0
• Pro – $208
• Team – $191
• Enterprise – Custom


– Superior local insights from the MENA market
Reliable customer support
– Pay-as-you-go pricing model
– Native Arabic testing experience
– Credit system and bulk discount

– Large global presence and participant recruitment
Diverse testing capabilities for large enterprises


– Small/limited panel of participants subject to the MENA region
Limited integrations

– Low quality of participants
Inability to split audiences in one test
– Limited integrations
– Steep subscription fees and extra charges for recruitment every month
– Mixed experiences with customer support 
– Almost absent presence in MENA

To sum up

If you’re looking to partner with a dedicated UX research tool that’s cost-effective and has zeroed in on MENA regional insights, UserQ is a market disruptor that’s certainly worth considering. 

Learn more about UserQ for your business today.

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