a man recruiting people for user testing

5 quickfire ways to recruit high-quality people for user testing

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. When it comes to conducting user testing, the quality of your participants can make or break a project.

After all, if your participants aren’t representative of your target audience, you won’t be able to gather the insights you need in order to improve your products or services.

Yep, the recruitment process is one of the most important steps in your user testing timeline - but when you are up against deadlines and pushed for time, how can you make sure you recruit the right people, fast?

We’re glad you asked! Read on to discover five ways to ensure you always recruit high-quality participants for your user testing…

5 ways to recruit high-quality people for user testing

1. Assess feasibility

First things first, before starting any user testing study, you should always think about your target audience and assess the feasibility of the study.

A thorough feasibility test will enable you to drill down into your target demographic so you can determine just how viable your study is before you start the recruitment process, so you can identify any problems and make any changes before you start.

Although it might be tempting to skip this step, especially if you are facing significant time pressures, a feasibility test will actually save you time in the long run by enabling you to determine whether or not your research is achievable.

Who is your target audience? What are they like? What are their likes, dislikes, and behaviours? By identifying the type of people you want to interview for your user testing, you can figure out the criteria needed and strike a balance between crucial inclusion criteria and ‘nice to have’ criteria, giving you the solid foundations you need to find the right people and ultimately build a successful project.

Need a bit more help? Discover our top tips on feasibility testing for qualitative market research in this blog.

2. Get help with your screener

Once you’ve identified your criteria, you need to ensure the users you find fit the necessary criteria - which is where a screener questionnaire comes in.

By asking the right screener questions, you can ensure that only the best quality participants who meet all criteria and quota splits are put forward - in fact, an effective screener could be the difference between success and failure when it comes to recruiting users for your study.

But screeners are about much more than just the actual criteria. Someone might hit the right demographics for your study on paper (for example, they could be a social grade C1 female with no children living in Bristol), but when it comes down to it, they might not be the right person to provide the insights you need.

For example, they might not have the right level of tech knowledge, they may not be able to commit to the tasks and timelines involved, or it could be that they aren’t a suitable fit for the methodology.

If you’re struggling with your screener, it’s always worth enlisting the help of a specialist fieldwork agency and utilising their expert screener writing services to ensure you only take the best people forward.

3. Fully brief your fieldwork agency

This leads us nicely onto our next point! Without a doubt, one of the best ways to ensure your recruit high-quality people for your user testing is to work with a fieldwork agency.

A dedicated fieldwork agency will leave no stone unturned in the search for participants, and will use a variety of different methods to ensure they source the best people for your user testing.

However, if your agency is going to be able to do their job properly, you need to make sure they are fully briefed on the project requirements and objectives to check that everyone is on the same page from the very beginning and ensure the extra layer of understanding is there.

In fact, a good fieldwork agency will request a briefing call and/or detailed documentation that identifies the necessary project requirements. Plus, they will be able to offer advice throughout the briefing process, identify any challenges, and use their expertise to ensure a smooth recruitment process for your clients.

Fully briefing your agency also provides a chance to define key dates and milestones, enabling you to identify any challenges and iron out any potential difficulties further down the line.

Although it might take more time upfront, trust us when we say the additional probing, problem-solving and expertise a fieldwork agency can bring to the table when they are properly briefed is more than worth it in the long run.

4. Always think about accessibility

Making research accessible is more important than ever before - and if you want to ensure your research is a success, you need to be sure that your project is accessible to everyone.

There are more than one billion people in the world with disabilities. In fact, the online spending power of disabled people in the UK alone is thought to be £16 billion - so think of the number of high-quality participants you could be losing out on if your research isn’t accessible!

When it comes to recruiting people to take part in your user testing, then, you need to make sure your methods are inclusive and can be easily received and understood by all.

Important things to consider include:

  • Allowing zoom up to 200%
  • Contrasting colours for text and non-text
  • Alt text
  • Text transcripts for audio and video
  • Audio descriptions for media content
  • The ability to adjust time limits on time sensitive tasks

Discover more top tips on how to make sure your research is accessible here.

5. Make sure you validate

Finally, it’s important to make sure you validate your respondents to build a rapport, double check that all criteria are met, and obtain informed consent.

Again, although you might think validating your participants will be time consuming, it will actually save you time in the long run by ensuring that you have the very best people for your research who are truly representative of your customers.

Here at Angelfish, we always recommend validating participants via phone. After all, there’s only so much that a tick box or written answer on a form can tell you about a person. However, by chatting to them on the phone, you can really get to know them and dig much deeper to ensure they're the best person to take part in your user testing.

Plus, talking to your participants on the phone also gives you a chance to make sure that your users know exactly what is expected of them, so you can prevent running into problems further down the line.

Telephone validation also enables you to ask some creative questions to weed out dishonest participants and ensure your users can think on their feet.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that quality comes in many forms - and sometimes your target audience might not be the most creative or chatty, could be a bit shy, and might be less confident with tech - however, their feedback could still be very relevant.

Bonus tip!

One more thing that we’ve always found to be super important here at Angelfish: make sure you have a solid confirmation and reminder process to maximise completion and attendance. Oh, and it’s also always worth over-recruiting too, to make sure you’re totally prepared for any unseen hiccups on the day.

How Angelfish can help you recruit the best possible participants

For further help and advice on how to recruit the perfect people for your user research, get in touch with Angelfish today. Our lovely team have all the experience, knowledge, and tools needed to ensure you find the right participants for your user research project.

Alternatively, don’t miss our ultimate guide to recruitment in qualitative market research for even more recruitment tips.

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