The Task-Based UX Benchmark Study

UserZoom ran a quick task-based UX benchmark study between TaxAct and TaxSlayer, two well-known online tax solutions, to compare the experience of finding information online as well as using tax calculators to estimate tax returns.

  • We ran the unmoderated remote task-based benchmark study with 60 in-the-wild users on their own devices over the course of a single day
  • We split participants equally between each website so that 30 went to TaxAct and 30 went to TaxSlayer
  • The Online Task: Find the tax calculator and calculate your tax return based on the provided information
  • We validated the task by asking the participants how much they would owe based on the persona information we provided

Reader Opinion Poll: Who Will Win?

Last week we asked our readers who they felt would win this UX Battle of the Week.

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer reader opinion poll

Did our readers get it right? Read on to see which tax solution ended up this week’s winner.

conclusion anchor button

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

We showed all 60 participants an image of TaxAct’s and TaxSlayer’s homepage and asked them to choose which site they associated with several UX attributes.

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v Taxslayer

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer

This week’s participants felt that TaxAct was more Organized, Trustworthy, Informational, and Helpful but was also seen as being more Overwhelming. TaxSlayer’s slightly less condensed homepage was seen more Easy and Welcoming. Both sites were split almost evenly in regards to being seen as Lively.

Screenshot Click Test

We split the participants evenly and asked where they would click if they wanted to check the status of their refund.


UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct heatmap

84% of TaxAct’s participants correctly selected an area that would allow them to check their filing status. Of the 84%, a majority of users selected Return Status at the top of the page while 17% selected Check E-File Status in the footer.


UX Battle of the Week - TaxSlayer heatmap

A majority of participants felt that they would have to sign-in before being able to check their return status. While not incorrect, they would have to click on Tax Tools after signing in to be able to check their status. 10% of participants clicked here instead of sign-in.

Tree Test

We asked participants where they felt they would be able to find information about any changes in tax law they should be aware of while filing.


UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct tree test

87% of TaxAct’s participants were able to quickly and correctly find the Tax Law Changes section. All were successful on their first attempt.


UX Battle of the Week - TaxSlayer tree test

67% of TaxSlayer’s participants were successful in finding the area, with a majority of them successfully selecting the area after multiple attempts.

Online Task Outcomes

In order to validate whether users were successful at using the tax calculator we asked participants a validation question after they finished the task. If users selected the correct amount due, they were labeled as Success.

Non Success meant that a user either Abandoned the task due to difficulties with the website or chose an incorrect amount, which we labeled as Error.

UX Battle of the Week = TaxAct v TaxSlayer success rates


Users were 20% more successful on TaxSlayer’s site than on TaxAct’s.

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer efficiency

On average, TaxSlayer’s participants were not only more likely to successfully complete the task but they were also able to do so in less time. TaxAct’s successful participants were able to complete the task with less overall page views, however. Both sites had similar average amounts of clicks required.

TaxAct user session

TaxSlayer user session

Non Success

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer non-success rates

TaxAct’s non successful participants were split evenly between choosing an incorrect answer, based on how they input the fictitious tax information we gave them, and abandoning the task altogether when they were not able to find the tax calculator.

TaxSlayer’s participants that erred also incorrectly placed the information, such as putting federal withholdings into state withholdings, but what was interesting is the participant who abandoned after accidentally clicking past the amount due screen. They were unable to figure out how to get back to the information and ended up getting lost in the sign-up forms before abandoning.

TaxAct user session

TaxSlayer user session

Brand Perception

We split the participants equally between brands and asked them 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’re not familiar with the brand.

Brand Perception Pre-Task

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer brand perception pre task

Both brands had a fairly large portion of their users start off saying they were unfamiliar with the brands. TaxAct’s average brand perception before the task was 5.1 out of 7, while TaxSlayer’s was slightly under that with 4.9 out of 7.

Brand Perception Post-Task

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer brand perception post task

After participants interacted with their sites both brands saw a change in their brand perception needle. TaxAct’s dropped slightly to 4.5 out 7 while TaxSlayer’s rose to 5.1 out of 7.

Ease of Use

After the task 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.

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer ease of use

TaxAct’s users opinion of how easy it was to complete the task ranged fairly evenly across the scale, accounting for their neutral average ease of use score of 4.4 out of 7.

TaxSlayer, while also seeing a few negative ratings, ended with a slightly more positive rating of 5.5 out of 7.

Problems & Frustrations

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


UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct problems

If users chose Other they were given an open-ended question to describe their problem or frustration. The users who chose this for TaxAct said:

  • “The website wouldn’t load for me.”
  • “Tax Refund section was confusing.”


UX Battle of the Week - TaxSlayer problems

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.

UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer NPS

TaxSlayer’s users were 13% more likely to recommend the site to their friends, family and colleagues than TaxAct’s users.


UX Battle of the Week - TaxAct v TaxSlayer winner

The winner this week between the battle of online tax solutions is TaxSlayer for having a higher percentage of users successfully complete the task, fewer problems reported, and for having higher brand perception, ease of use, and NPS ratings.

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