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User Experience Design: How to Recruit Users for User Testing

This video gives a brief look into Codal’s recruitment techniques. While we touch on a range of our approaches, the ones detailed here vary for projects of differing scopes and budgets. Still, the best user testing is the one you don’t have to do at all. If you’re thinking about refreshing your website or app, or want to know what your users really think of it, consider enlisting the services of a UX design agency.

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User Experience Design: How to Recruit Users for User Testing

  1. 1. How to Recruit Users for User Testing
  2. 2. At Codal, we take user testing seriously—it’s diffused within our UX design process, regularly occurring at nearly every phase. We recognize it as the only way to truly validate the choices a designer makes, and we recognize it can be a serious headache, especially within the time constraints of some Agile design cycles. Identifying, locating, and convincing a representative sample of potentially several different user bases is no easy task. But we’ve been doing this for close to a decade at Codal, so we thought we’d offer a few of our own tools, tricks, and strategies for expediting the recruitment process. This isn’t high-level advice; rather, we’re providing a more in-the-weeds perspective from our UX researchers.
  3. 3. Guerilla & Hallway Testing While some applications have highly specialized user types, others are defined with much broader brushstrokes—middle-aged women, maybe, or millennials. For cases such as these, often times UX design agencies will employ guerilla or hallway testing. Guerilla testing simply consists of approaching potential users, usually in a public setting like a busy street or coffee shop, and conducting the testing on the spot. It’s useful for when your user type is something that can be easily eyeballed, or simple enough that it can be discerned with a brief requisite question e.g. ‘are you bilingual?’. In a similar vein, hallway testing is conducted on-site, and subjects are recruited simply by asking around the office. Like guerilla testing, it only works if the user type is a broad category—if it’s too specialized, it’s unlikely you’ll get a large enough sample. Designers utilizing these types of recruitment enjoy the benefit of relatively low costs. All subjects need to be incentivized in some way, and typically those recruited via guerilla testing are satisfied with a $5-$10 gift card.
  4. 4. Task Rabbit TaskRabbit is a popular mobile app designed to connect freelance labor with local demand, particularly for everyday tasks such as cleaning, assembling, or moving. Despite it’s errand- centric design, TaskRabbit can also serve as a reliable source for usability test subjects. Like guerilla testing, it’s best for less specialized user types, but it can often provide a more representative sample than the local Starbucks. You pay for the improved subjects as well: “Taskers” can typically charge $30 at the minimum for their participation in your UX studies. That works out to about $300 per user type, which could potentially hurt the budget if the platform you’re testing has a particularly diverse user base. Still, it can be a cost-effective option compared to some other user recruitment services.
  5. 5. UserBob UserBob is a user testing service that performs just about all of the heavy lifting of usability testing. You simply provide the app, website, or even scenario you’re investigating, and provide a list of tasks you’d like the user to complete. UserBob does the rest: assembling a representative sample, providing the subjects with access to the platform, tasking them with the prompt, and recording their screen and voice as they talk through their experience. All the UX designer has to do is review the videos. UserBob charges $2 per user, plus $1 per requested minute of testing. So depending on the test you’ve designed, this could be reasonable pricing or something way out of your budget. On average, Codal finds that our testing sessions typically fall around $100 per user type.
  6. 6. Userlytics Finally, Codal will sometimes turn to Userlytics, the heavy artillery of test subject recruitment. Like UserBob, Userlytics offers testing services, but at a much more comprehensive level. Leveraging a combination of social media and contextually and behaviorally optimized ad networks, Userlytics can assemble highly representative samples of just about any demographic you can think of. These are high quality samples, and the Userlytics engine can build them in a matter of hours.It’s a massive time saver, but its efficiency comes with a hefty price tag: the service charges about $90 per user, so you’re getting close to dropping a grand for every user type.
  7. 7. Have questions? Email us at go@codal.com for help with user testing.