Reframer: Qualitative data analysis system

Reframer is a collaborative web app for collecting and analyzing qualitative data. You start by capturing data into the app—things like customer feedback, free text responses in surveys, emails, interviews, and usability test data. The system then uses the aggregated information and provides a view reframed with quantitative values based on a significance rating that team members apply. These values can also be used to prioritize issues to assess feasibility. The metadata additionally allows you to identify trends and themes, and show relationships in data based on correlated tags.

Looks like a fantastic way to get all of that data out of spreadsheets and into a living tool for both quick capture and simpler analysis. They offer tiered plans from free to $249. Paid plans come with 30 days free. More info here.

http://getreframer.com/

Sauce Labs: Cloud-Based Cross-Browser Testing

Sauce Labs provides browser testing services for front end development and quality assurance. Their Scout service lets you test your public or private web app in any browser via a VM that’s run in the cloud. Enter a URL to test, select an OS and browser, and a virtual machine runs in the web page so you can test in that configuration on demand. Scout can record and save screenshots and video of every session, and they can can be shared, embedded etc. with a dev team, which is nice for bug reporting. JIRA integration means those same videos and screenshots can be attached to JIRA incidents as well. They also let you run automated Selenium tests in the cloud with Sauce OnDemand, for those of you who work with QA automation tools.

I also liked what they describe in this blog entry discussing the security measures they take. Every session gets a fresh VM that’s never been used by anyone else, and at the end of your session, the VM and all its data is completely destroyed. Good for peace of mind if you're paranoid about such things.

Plans are tiered, starting with a free personal plan that gives you 45 minutes of testing per month. You can use it here.

http://saucelabs.com

Fine Res Tool

The folks at FINE Design created a browser-based tool for seeing how your web site measures up at different screen resolutions.

To use it, simply enter a full URL of your choosing. Up pops that location superimposed with a draggable set of rulers (x and y axis) configurable in center/left/and right alignment. These rulers allow you to view that site as it would be seen at different resolutions. So you can get a sense for what other eyeballs experience. A small dashboard at the bottom even gives you current stats on what resolutions most people use (hint: 1024 x 768).

Check it out.

http://myres.finedesigngroup.com/

Steedicons

The Steedicons set by Kyle Steed contains 300+ hand drawn icons available as a font or in vector format (.ai, .eps, .csh) for Illustrator, Photoshop, or the wireframing tool of your choice. The bold, sketchy icons would would work perfectly in Balsamiq Mockups or alongside the Konigi Sketch stencils.

Here’s a small sample of the icons available in this set.

Buy them here.

http://steedicons.com/

BrowserStack: Cross-Browser Testing Tool

Browserstack allows you to stop relying on screenshot web apps or using multiple virtual machines to do your testing. The service gives you remote, web-based, VNC screen sharing using the web browser you choose, so you can test your web sites and apps in real time rather than relying on static screen comparisons.

Enter a URL to test, and select a target browser in the version of your choosing and screen resolution. A VNC connection is opened inside the web app, giving you remote control of the target browser. You test your pages in real time via the VNC screen share, and each browser is configured with developer testing tools (Firebug, Chrome Developer Tools, IE Testing Tools, etc.). The service also allows you to set up a tunnel to test your local server or html pages in their remote browser.

Pre-paid, metered plans are available at 10 or 30 hours, or buy monthly or annual plans for unlimited, unmetered testing.

I’ve never been a fan of screen-capturing testing tools, except for single-use tests like the email newsletter testing. I use multiple VMs running IE browsers mainly. BrowserStack looks worth the money if you’re tired of constantly installing and switching VMs. I know I am. I’ve been doing a trial for the web app I’m working on and the time savings looks worth it to me.

http://browserstack.com