In an article for Boxes and Arrows, Paul Nuschke lists five phases of a usability study:
Step 1: Sales & Kickoff
Step 2: Recruitment
Step 3: Preparation
Step 4: Testing
Step 5: Analysis & Reporting
This post is about that second step, where you’re recruiting users to participate in your study. Traditionally this has been done one of two ways: either hire a third-party recruiting agency to find users according to specific criteria, or do it with your company’s contacts, typically customer / member email lists. Thing is, recruiting agencies are quite expensive, typically running around $200 or more per recruit (not including participant incentives), and even though they’re usually quite professional in their screening practices, who knows where they’re getting their users from? On the other hand, using your own company’s contacts bears another set of issues: what if you don’t have a very big list? What if you want to do several studies–do you bombard everybody with emails repeatedly? And so on.
Now, one of the best parts about remote research is that there’s no reason you have to schedule users in advance; since you test your users while they’re at their computers anyway, you can begin a study right when they agree to participate. Here’s where live recruiting comes in: by intercepting visitors with pop-ups or forms, you can intercept them, screen them, and call them within minutes of their arrival. This is a big advantage for lots of reasons: you can bypass much of the sometimes-lengthy recruiting step, you can have greater control and transparency over the source of your users, and most importantly, you can talk to real users who came to your site because they wanted to, not because they’re getting paid to.
What does that leave? I am so glad you asked.
To illustrate, we have made a stop motion movie using felt. Please enjoy it with all your heart.
(Photo credit: bryanwright5 on flickr)