- Finding qualified participants is only half of the battle. Once you've found them you have to make sure they're motivated to show up for your study. Even with the best of intentions sometimes it's impossible for people to show up. So, although we said 5 people is enough per study, it's worth scheduling a few more in order to account for no-show's, or someone who's available at short notice to cover for any gaps in your schedule. There are 2 main things that you can do to help ensure that people show up. 1, is to schedule your sessions at a suitable time.
And the other is to reward people for showing up either with cash or with something else they may value. Think of the times that your participants are most likely to be able to come in for a usability session. For instance, evenings might be better for people who find it hard to take time off work. Daytime's may be better for parents because the kids will still be in school. Often, the nature of the participant profile you want to recruit will determine when you need to run your sessions. Also, be careful not to schedule sessions during national holidays, religious festivals, or school vacations.
People may forget about those dates when they initially agree to be a participant but when the date comes they'll realize they have much more important things to do than to sit in a room answering your questions. And they'll cancel, or worse, just not show up. People typically like giving feedback. But that's not a good enough reason for them to show up for your study. You'll need to offer participants an incentive as well. What's in it for them? Most frequently that incentive is money. The going rate will depend upon your location.
Recruiting people with no particular skills may require an incentive of around seventy-five dollars for one and a half hours. Recruiting skilled workers may cost you quite a bit more. At a certain point, people stop caring about the money and do it more because they're interested in giving their opinion. For instance, in the past Iv'e recruited executives based purely on their interest in the product we were testing. Sure, I paid them, but they really didn't care about the cash. It may be that you something else that you can give people instead of cash.
Something that costs you less but the people value more. For instance, a number of free downloads, a subscription to your product, or like Microsoft does for their user testing, a choice of gratuity from a list of software the company makes. If you work in a large organization and you're using internal staff members as your participants, you don't have to pay them. But it's still good to give them something to say thanks for their time. When I worked in a bank, we gave internal participants a coffee mug with the usability team's logo and phone number on it.
That way, the participant got a token gift and we got additional recruits when other people in their office saw the cool new mug and called to see how they could get one to. You should let potential participants know how long the sessions will take and what the incentive is during the initial recruiting call. Mention these points again when you send confirmation details. This is where you sell people on the concept of your study and also convince them that it's worth their while to attend.
- What is usability testing?
- Finding the right participants
- Making a screener
- Asking the right questions
- Avoiding bias
- Making a task list
- Creating the test environment
- Running a pilot study
- Moderating sessions
- Capturing real-time observations
- Analyzing and reporting your results