How do you recruit participants for usability tests?

almost 6 years ago from , Co-Founder at Compose Labs

I recently finished reading The Sprint Book by Jake Knapp, and have a quick question: the book recommends posting on Craigslist to look for usability test participants. I'm skeptical about this — is recruiting on Craigslist still a good approach today? Or are there services which connect companies to people willing to get recorded for a usability test in exchange for a gift card? Thanks!


  • Jenny G.Jenny G., almost 6 years ago

    Hey, it totally depends on your product. Are your customers easy to find? Can you maybe hang out at a coffee place all day and just randomly ask people for their time and feedback for a gift card or even just a free coffee? I am working for a company where we are creating products for very specific users so we hire an agency specialized in user research. They have a huge list of test participants where we can choose exactly the users we usually would also address with our product. But using an agency is for sure not only paid with gift cards... Hope this helps at least a bit. Cheers Jenny

    2 points
  • James FutheyJames Futhey, almost 6 years ago

    If your marketing team is already engaging with customers, go through them. It could be on social media or email, but I have had a lot of success with the following:

    1. Email blast to users (Help make x product better! Discount / offer for participating. Click here (typeform/google qualifying survey) to express interest.
    2. Qualifying survey (collect some demographic information as an added bonus)
    3. Reach out to your pool and cycle through them as participants. Can be an Excel spreadsheet. Note: Your pool will get stale over time.

    I've had colleagues successfully recruit w/ Craigslist, although I avoid it. It's a lot of work.

    There are recruitment"agencies" and services, but generally speaking, it drives your costs up. People who routinely do Usability Studies somewhat skew your data, and expect more and more compensation over time.

    Professionals usually budget about $250 per participant toward compensation. You can find better participants for less if you get your hands dirty, and know your users.

    Linkedin groups and in some cases facebook groups can be great places to advertise. If you're recruiting from the general public, try to match your potential user as much as possible (demographic > experience > product need).

    Then, just replace step one with "Post to a Linkedin group".

    1 point
    • , almost 6 years ago

      Thanks for your response James — all of these are very useful ideas, and I'll definitely look into them.

      0 points
  • Khurram Butt, almost 6 years ago

    We at Time Doctor use userbob for usability tests. https://userbob.com/

    1 point
  • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, almost 6 years ago

    Craiglist post and starbucks. Offer them a $25 gift card to something and/or the product your client is selling. The client usually fotos the bills for all of this.

    0 points