You’ve created your user profiles, you’ve defined your hypotheses, and you’ve decided what research techniques you are going to use to gather the data you need to build a game-changing mobile product. Now it’s time to implement those techniques with real people. But how do you go about getting the right people to participate in your user research?
Getting the right people that fit your user profiles can be tricky but the following guideline will help to make it less complicated:
- Depending on the complexities of your market, you generally only need 5 or 6 people that resemble each user profile you created earlier.
- Create a list of screening questions. These are questions you will ask each potential candidate to determine they are a good fit and eliminates any outlying candidates. Make sure your screening questions are ambiguous and do not lead the candidate to the answers you are looking for.
- The fastest and easiest way to locate these people is to go through people you already know (they still must be screened). This could be colleagues that have nothing to do with your product, friends of friends, or acquaintances. It’s important that these individuals are unbiased toward your product. Therefor, it’s advisable that you refrain from involving family and close friends as they are likely to be favorable to everything you are doing and hesitant to give real criticism when it is needed most.
- Another effective method to recruit for user research is to use your social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can recruit through paid advertisements (ads), fan pages, personal messages, and post in groups.
- Unless your target market is software designers and developers, avoid these individuals in your user research. Even though they may have nothing to do with your product, they are too close to the industry and know too much. They will inevitably bring their own bias’s into the conversation skewing your data.
- Contact these people and let them know you’d like to have them help you understand what’s important to them as it relates to a new product you are developing. Don’t give them any information regarding the product other than a brief description. Let them know that no preparation is needed and give them a day and time to come in.
- It’s important to note that you may need to compensate them for their time. This is generally a small payment (i.e. $50 for an hour) or a gift like a $25 Starbucks gift card for a 1/2 hour session. If they are colleagues or friends of friends, this may not be necessary.
- Schedule them a day or two in advance leaving 15 minutes between user research interviews.
- NOTE: Every time you interview an individual add them to your database and over time you will build a solid database of user types that you can pull upon for future needs.
In-depth user research is vital to the UX Thinking process. By investing a little time into recruiting the right people you will dramatically improve the quality of your user research and resulting data. Once you have recruited the right people, you can focus on the fun part – talking to users and gathering data!