The Task-Based UX Benchmark Study

UserZoom ran a quick competitive UX benchmark study between Turbo Tax and H&R Block, two well known tax service providers, to see how users experienced navigational and core tasks, as well as how they rate their overall experience on these websites.

  • We ran an unmoderated remote task-based benchmark study with 50 in-the-wild users on their own devices over the course of a single day
  • Participants were equally divided between the sites so that 25 went to each
  • They completed several tasks while on the site: a screenshot click test and a task-based test where we asked them to find and use the tax calculator
  • We also measured their brand perception and how they rated their overall experience

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First impressions are lasting impressions

We wanted to know what users’ first impressions were on both of the sites. We showed all participants images of Turbo Tax’s and H&R Blocks’ homepage and asked them to choose which site they associated with several UX attributes.

H&R Block was seen as being easier, more organized, welcoming and trustworthy based on the homepage alone. Turbo Tax was seen as being more lively, helpful and informational but also more overwhelming.

Screenshot Click Test

To understand if visitors were able to easily find important information, we split participants evenly and asked them to complete a simple task while looking at a static image of a homepage: “Where would you click first to check your refund status?”

Turbo Tax

There was no clear consensus from users on where to click to find their refund status. 12% correctly clicked on “Where’s My Refund” in the footer. 16% clicked on the hamburger icon in the top nav and another 12% clicked on Sign In, which could also lead them to check their return status.

H&R Block

There was a more concise grouping of clicks on H&R’s site from users. 48% clicked on E-File and Refund Status in the footer while 24% clicked on Tax Information & Tools in the top nav.

Online Task-Based Test

Let’s face it – tax time can be stressful, especially if you aren’t sure whether you’re getting a sweet, sweet refund or if you’ll be shelling out even more money from your pocket. This is why both of these brands provide a tax calculator to get a rough understanding of whether you owe or are owed. We gave users a list of information they could use to plug into the tax calculator to find out.

To evaluate the success of the task we used validation through a questionnaire – namely, based on the information we provided them, how much they would owe or be owed. Users who selected the correct amount were marked as Success.

A Non-Success result meant that the participant decided to either abandon the task, which was marked as an Abandon, or they selected the wrong amount on the validation questionnaire, which was marked as an Error.

So, how did the two challengers do?


We have a tax-tie ladies and gentlemen! Both sites saw 3/4 of their participants successfully complete the task at hand. The question, then, is how efficient were the participants on either site?

As you can see, overall participants were able to complete the task slightly quicker on Turbo Tax’s site than on H&R Block’s. This might be due to the fewer amount of pageviews participants had to go through to complete the task.

Turbo Tax user session
H&R Block user session
Non Success

Turbo Tax’s participants that weren’t successful at the task were split right down the middle between abandoning and erring. We asked the participants who abandoned why they did so, these were their responses:

  • “Was way too hard to find, too many things to click on for me.”
  • “I do not understand the process at all.”
  • “It took too long to fill out.”

H&R Block’s non successful participants were much more likely to err than to abandon. The participant that did abandon had a similar message to the participants from Turbo Tax:

  • “It was way too hard to find the information. The web page was too large and I had to scroll up and down and to the sides to be able to see all the information. There needs to be an easier option that has all the information on the top of the page.”

Ease of Use

After the tasks we asked all the users to rate how easy or difficult it was to accomplish, with 1 = Very Difficult, 4 = Neutral and 7 = Very Easy.

Problems & Frustrations

We asked the users which, if any, of the following problems they encountered while on the site.

Turbo Tax

If participants selected Other, we gave them an open ended comments box:

  • “The calculator was a little difficult to find”

H&R Block

If participants selected Other, we gave them an open ended comments box:

  • “The calculator froze on me.”

Brand Perception

We asked participants to rate their perception of the brand before and after their experience with the site.

For the rating scale: 1 = Very Negative, 4 = Neutral, and 7 = Very Positive. We also included the option for participants to say they weren’t familiar with the brand before the task.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

After participants interacted with the sites we asked them to rate how likely it was they would recommend them to friends, family or colleagues.

This week’s group of participants were more likely to recommend Turbo Tax’ site to friends, family and colleagues than H&R Block’s site.


It was a tax-services tussle of titanic proportions, but just like your federal return form, there can only be one final entry. The winner in this week’s UX Battle is H&R Block for having a higher success rate on the screenshot click test, fewer abandons on the task-based test, higher ease of use score and having fewer overall problems and frustrations reported.

Turbo Tax put up a good fight, though, with a faster overall time on task and for having more participants say they would recommend the brand to friends, family and colleagues.