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The Marketing AIvolution Blog

Unlock business potential with research-driven insights

June 13th, 2021

10 Tips for Recruiting Usability Testers for Your App

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A bad user experience can cost you a fortune. We say this for a reason. According to Toptal, 88% of the users are less likely to return to any website after a bad user experience.

No wonder, product teams are giving utmost importance to usability testing as most issues can be identified and fixed before they turn into a hurricane of a problem. It is therefore imperative to thoroughly check the product before it gets shipped and dropped at the market. And this is supposed to be done from a user’s perspective’.

User testing is a core part of the UX design process. It gives designers the guidance and validation they need to create a product. User experience is of utmost importance for any product or service to achieve success. Every $1 invested in UX gives you a return of $100. That is 9,900% in ROI.

In usability testing, you observe end-users in real-time engaging with your products. You can then take notes of their actions and how they interact with the product. But you cannot just recruit anybody for user testing. You need to recruit users from different sources so that your user research may get your design somewhere.

It is important to recruit participants that are from your target group. Otherwise, there is no guarantee of the reliability of the results. Recruiting users also depends on different factors such as your criteria, cost, sources of recruitment, etc. This article will discuss the importance of user experience testing and how you can recruit usability testers easily and efficiently!


What is Usability Testing?


Usability Testing is the process of testing a product to know how easy-to-use and user-friendly it is.
It is to check if the product’s design is intuitive and simple for the end-user to navigate.

A group of end-users is selected for the test and exposes usability defects, if any, on the app by using it. The main objective of usability testing is to see the application’s ease of use, flexibility to handle controls, and application’s ability to meet its said objectives.

Usability testing is recommended in the initial phase of the product development. It is more visible how the users react to the app and what glitches need to be addressed.


Why is Usability Testing Important?


In August 2015, McDonald’s launched their official app – which is very recent. By then, Starbucks’ app was already booming and accounted for 20% of their total revenue. With this competition, McDonald’s had some good catching up to do to get in the race!

This was when McDonald’s hired SimpleUsability to conduct usability testing to identify any usability issues before releasing the app. The test plan had 20 simple usability tests, with interviewing 225 end-users.

Here’s what they found:

  1. Poor visibility of the call to action button.
  2. Communication problem between the restaurant and the app.
  3. Lack of customization can deplete the whole user experience.


Usability testing is important to identify the faults in the app during the initial phase and to make necessary corrections. Even if you are the best development team with years of experience, usability testing is still equally important.

Because the results tell you about the pain points in your product, which might become a major problem in the future.

To sum it up, usability testing is important because:

  1. Saves your money
  2. Discover pain points
  3. Ensures that you are working in the right direction
  4. You get the customer perspective on your website or app, which makes room for improvements


10 Tips for Recruiting Usability Testers for Your Application


If you are designing a new website or redesigning your old one to improve the conversion rate, you should first give your website usability testing. Although, honestly, it is not the easiest task to recruit usability testers.

You can always outsource your recruiting. But, according to the research conducted by Nielsen Norman Group, only 36% of companies outsource their recruitment. Of this 36%, only 9% outsource their recruiting!


But, if you are looking to recruit them yourself, you can start by making a list based on these questions:


  1. How many participants should I recruit?
  2. What type of individuals should I recruit?
  3. What type of individuals should I not recruit?
  4. How to get started with recruitment?
  5. Should I use it by myself or hire an agency?


With so many queries to answer, it gets very confusing where you should begin. Here, we have jotted down some tips for you to consult with while recruiting participants for your usability testing.


Be Clear on Whom Should You Recruit


If you want to have a meaningful result from this usability testing, you should recruit testers from your target group. Certain people are a strict no-no when it comes to user testing recruitment.

Like, be careful about recruiting from your internal environment, like your colleagues. They may be biased towards the product and you, which may hinder the research from yielding the desired results.

Another problem with recruiting colleagues is that they might judge the product based on their industry knowledge as a user. This might not align with what other users think about your target group and may provide a slanted view of its functionality.


Clarify Your Recruitment Criteria


Before diving into the recruitment process, make a recruitment criterion. In some cases, the recruitment criteria can be simple such as demographic location, age, gender, etc.

In contrast, sometimes, a recruitment criterion may require a user to have some experience in the field or someone who has been through a specific treatment at a hospital.

Deciding how many participants you want and what the criteria should be is a balancing act. Keep it detailed. Because the more specific your criteria are, the more useful they will be for your end result.

The basic criteria in most projects are the age group of users, geographical location and if they should or should not possess any experience.


How to Recruit?


You can use a recruiting agency, and they will find participants for you based on your criteria. Recruiting agencies can prove to be cost-efficient, with an average fee of $107 per participant.

You can use social media also to search for participants if your target users are close by, and it would be best if they don’t know you personally.

If you want users who are relatively hard to reach, you can always use internet forums to be active. You should promise some form of incentive, be it monetary or non-monetary, to make the users agree to be your test subjects.


Pro-tip: Always recruit participants more than you require. It will help you tackle the situation in case some participants could not come at the end moment.



Test Screener for Picking Out Preferred Users


A test screener is built-in in customized questions, which helps identify the desired individuals you should recruit as a test user for your target audience. Questions in a screener can be as simple as age and gender and related to your target audience. You can mail the screener to all the users you have selected or agreed to get involved in the session. When you have all the answers, select those users who fit into the category of your criteria.


Cost of Recruitment


The same research conducted by Nielsen Norman group, based on geography, shows that the west coast of the US has the highest fees for participants. Here the average fee per participant was $125.

The participants are rewarded with some form of incentive for their involvement in research sessions. The compensation varies according to the time taken and the complexity of the task. If you have recruited participants from a skilled group, they may have to be compensated higher for their time and effort.


  1. Rewards may include money, gift vouchers, discount coupons and expenses such as food, travel. You can also entice users to participate by offering them a chance to win rather than directly rewarding.
  2. How much you should spend on incentives depends on your project and your geographic location. You can google search about the cost of a research session in your region.
  3. If you hire a recruitment agency, the incentives will be given by them to the users. You will pay the recruitment agency their fee at the end.


Categorize Moderated and Unmoderated Testers


After screening out the users, ask them how they want to test whether they will be able to come to the testing session or prefer it from their home or their desired location.

Then make a list of all those users who will perform the test moderated and who will do it unmoderated separately. Give them a scheduled time for the test and instruct them about all the steps they must follow.

You can have the test session for both categories in a single day or on different dates.

Make sure the testers are comfortable doing the moderated test. Do not interfere with them or judge them based on their actions and appreciate their efforts. For those who are doing it unmoderated, make sure they understand everything and are guided throughout.


Be Generous with Incentives


Providing incentives or promising incentives to testers is a definite way to lure them to the test sessions. Remember, no one will give their time and effort to your project without having anything to get something out of it. Especially if the test is complex and the tasks are complicated, all the test users should be rewarded for their work.

Incentives can be in the form of money or non-monetary incentives such as gift coupons, vouchers, free subscriptions, etc. Incentives depend on the time taken in the test, its complexity, and the users’ skill level. If you have a high-level technical project you are working on, you may require someone from the same background. In this case, the users generally have to be paid a bit higher.


Give Them a Reminder


Make sure you keep reminding the users about the test session. When you select the users for test and screen them out, take their calling details along with their email id. It is best to remind them of the test priorly to schedule their day’s activities according to it.


Keep in Touch


Do not let the contact details of the users slip out of your data after you are finished with the test. You never know when you would want to conduct another round of tests for your project. It is better if you have the contact details of the test users so that the next time you will at least have some of them already set for the test.


Show Your Gratitude


Thank and thank them immensely for their time and effort. You must express your gratitude in the beginning and during the test procedure also. It may seem that they are getting incentives for their effort and are the lucky ones; it is your responsibility to thank them for their effort and the time they have taken out for you.




So, here you have it. The crucial tips to follow to recruit the users who fit perfectly in your criteria for your usability test. Recruiting the perfect participants can be a bit challenging and time-consuming, but it is worth every effort.

Remember that these users will represent your target audience, so it is crucial to find the perfect ones. If you are persistent in your search and give your best, you will successfully find the perfect test users and bring the best out of your usability test. As ever, keep the accessibility issues and the users with disabilities in mind.

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