Recruiting Users for User Testing

The article is concerned in recruiting users only. Usability methods are down to the needs of the researchers. For each type of usability study; you will need to determine the accurate sample to be recruited.

Recruiting the participants is crucial if the user is getting your design anywhere. Your research participants must able to represent the target group of end-users, or your results will not translate into something you can use. The level of difficulty when recruiting participants depends on the criteria. If the criteria are general, including age, group and location, hiring the participants is an easy matter if your criteria are specific, things can get more involved and time-consuming.

General Notes on Recruiting Usability Study Participants

  • Knowing what is a study in terms of usability and why.
  • You are having the determination of the methodology you will use to study.
  • Be able to describe the potential participants of the objectives of the study and how the study will be conducted.
  • To be able to provide an explanation to the users how to carry out their part into the study.
  • Be able to provide an to users how their data and any data generated in the study will and will not be used.
  • Know how many users you will need to recruit to give a representative sample.
  • To know what type of users is the best represent your user base.
  • Know what reward you will offer to the participants.

Recruitment Criteria

Before recruiting participants, you should consider what criteria you need to apply when recruiting so the participants can provide the relevant insights for your project. In some cases, the criteria are very general, such as age, location, and experience with a particular type of widely used product. In other cases, people who provide more specific insights into the project you are working. Deciding on the correct number and type of criteria for research participants is a balancing act.

For some instance, if the design for an app that anyone can use might be well and good in the long run, but need to tighten the scope as to identify the likely customers embodied in your research participants.

The more specific the criteria, the more effort you should put into the recruiting, you should carefully consider the necessity of each criterion.

How to Recruit:

There are different ways to recruit users. You may choose to use a recruitment agency that hires users for you based on the criteria that you have. Using an agency is usually an efficient way to recruit the participants, but it is expensive. If you don’t have the budget to use a recruitment agency, you should recruit users yourself. Also, the best way in recruiting users depends on your project. Using the network, or posting on social media can be efficient if the participants are people not too far from your own social circle.

If you need to recruit groups that are hard to reach, you can use the interest groups or internet forums where you think people from your target group will be active.

5 Methods for Recruiting Users

Hallway or Guerrilla Test

This is the simplest method of recruiting users. These could be people in the office, friends, folks in your local café, just about anyone. Don’t bully people into participating; they are not likely to be very helpful if you do.

It’s also important to remember that the participants aren’t your typical users; their feedback maybe 100% helpful or not but compared to the feedback of a more representative group.

Existing Users

For those carrying the usability testing of existing products or products that extend an existing portfolio; one of the easiest sources of participants is the currently-existing user base. Also, you can’t assume that existing users will take part. You need to ask them. You can do this by any of the following:

  • E-mail requests
  • Pop-ups on website
  • Requests in social media groups
  • Asking the salesperson to reach out the specific customers
  • Asking customer services to ask customers

This method often provides excellent and useful feedback. Moreover, in many cases, it’s not possible to get existing users to give up their time.

Online Service Recruitment

There are three primary online services that you can use to find participants for user studies:

  • Craigslist
  • Usertesting.com
  • Mechanical Turk

Craigslist allows you to post specific advertising to solicit participants in research. To get the best result, expect to spend between $25 and $300. Find specialists and high-income people in large quantities there. Most of the Craigslist users are looking to make a few bucks on the side.

Usertesting.com, it has a large panel of users, and you will pay the recruit from specific demographics or for users to answer a short survey to match specific criteria you require. Expected payment is about $50 per user for a 20-minute test.

Mechanical Turk is Amazon’s crowd-sourcing platform. You can recruit the users for almost any price you want to offer. It’s best used for a quick test. It is also worth noting that some users make use of bots to complete tests.

Panel Agencies

Maintaining the databases of thousands of users to take part in Unmoderated user testing. It’s not particularly costly to use these services; expect between $20 and $50 per response. However, not every requested participant will respond, and it may still be a struggle to get enough users if you require a very specialist audience.

Market Research Recruitment

The best and the most expensive way to recruit user research is to use a market research recruitment company to do it. You can find this on Google, and the recruiter can help you to have a good recruitment profile and then find people to take part. It’s important to note that it costs $250 for each person they recruit, and you will then need to compensate participants to the tune of $100-$400 per response. Because of the expenses involved; you’re going to be very careful about the research you conduct like this; it needs to be in-depth, involved research with apparent objectives that are likely to result in significant business benefits.

The Take-Away

Recruiting users for usability studies is relatively easy. However, it can be both expensive and time-consuming. The other forms of recruitment can take weeks or months to get right and can start to cost substantial amounts of money; the best to be very clear about what you want is to study and what the benefits before investing the time and money into these activities.

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