How to recruit?

– A Mozilla Recruiting Guide

When doing research with users, firstly consider WHO you need. Is your question related to the target audience you are looking at? Or is it just a general question?

If general, all you need is a objective warm body (not your mum). You can grab anyone from the street or local wanted ads. If related to a specific user or target audience, recruitment may take a bit longer, so plan for it.

Feel free to ask us questions through our contact form.

The lead time on research is always recruitment – get started early, even before your designs or prototypes are done.

Once you’ve defined who you need, you can now begin recruiting:

General recruiting (warm body):
Coffee shops, streets, local car licensing office are all great places. Just get out of the building and look for people who fit your target market.

How to recruit from local wanted ads:

  1. Advertise
    Write a brief ad to recruit users from your social media, a local wanted ad listing or other online resource. The ad should include; a catchy title for the short research project; who you’re looking for (behaviour, age, interests); the minimum usage/tech they need to have (smartphone, computer literacy, email/text, etc); the requested commitment you are asking for (interview or diary study?) and when (dates, time commitment?) and the incentive level if you are offering payment for their time.
  2. Survey
    Link the ad to a survey they can take (use survey monkey or google forms). You’re looking for a objective warm body with basic requirements so the survey should be short 10-20 questions max. Ask for general info first demographic, geographic etc. and then move into your eliminating questions; like ‘must own phone’.
  3. Screen
    This is the hard part. Get your phone out and call people. No one likes this, but it is important to do to get the right participants. You want to talk to them to see if they are 1) fit the criteria and 2) articulate and 3) can be available for the times you need. It is good to ask the eliminating questions first to confirm they fit, then ask them a question to test for their articulateness like “tell me about the last vacation you had”. Look for descriptive language and avoid people who answer in short sentences. Ensure they can do your time and get more contact details (phone number etc) so you can follow up with them.  If you want more ideas to how to do this UX matters have a great overview.
  4. Schedule
    If they fit your criteria and seem a good fit, ask for availability and schedule. You can use powwow to make your life easier and schedule.
  5. Preparation
    Get things ready. Have your prototype/designs/product prepared and have established plans and goals.
  6. Reminder
    Send email reminders 1 week before, call to remind and confirm 2 days before and SMS reminder on the day with instructions.
  7. Consent
    Bring your release forms and money release forms. Always have participants sign  release form and a money release form when interviewing.

Target Audience recruiting:

  1. Screener
    Write a screener. Create a survey to filter your participants to your needs. You are looking for people with the problem you are trying to solve, so describing behaviors are better than just demographics. Your screener’s goal is to find people who fit your target audience, that are available, and are articulate. More info here: UXmatters.com and UserFocus.co.uk
  2. Distribute
    Get your screener out where your audience is. If you don’t know local wanted ads and social media is a good source, but if you are looking for (i.e. mums, go to mums blogs and forums). Facebook ads can be a cheap way to easily target as well.
  3. Incentives
    Decide on how you will incentivise the participants.
  4. Screen
    This is the hard part. Get your phone out and call people. No one likes this, but it is important for getting the right participants. You want to talk to them to see if they are 1) fit the criteria and 2) articulate and 3) can be available for the times you need. It is good to ask the eliminating questions first to confirm they fit, then ask them a question to test for their articulateness like “tell me about the last vacation you had”. Look for descriptive language and avoid people who answer in short sentences. Ensure they can do your time and get more contact details (phone number etc) so you can follow up with them.  If you want more ideas to how to do this UX matters have a great overview.
  5. Schedule
    If they fit your criteria and seem a good fit, ask for availability and schedule. You can use powwow to make your life easier and schedule.
  6. Preparation
    Get things ready. Have your prototype/designs/product prepared, have an established plan and goals.
  7. Remind
    Send email reminders 1 week before, call to remind and confirm 2 days before and SMS reminder on the day with instructions.
  8. Consent
    Conduct (release forms and money release forms): Always have participants sign a Mozilla release form and a money release form when receiving the incentives.

How many people?

The answer is always “it depends”, and do read the forming article from NNgroup. If in doubt, ask and expert. But below a few guidelines:

One-on-one interviews If you know your target audience: 6-8 people

If you can’t define it: 20-30 people

Contextual Inquiry 6-8 participants
Usability studies 6-8 participants
Mobile moments / Journaling 12-15 participants (over time users will drop off, so you want to recruit for a certain amount of non-completes)

FORMS TO HAVE READY

Note: If you need to conduct research with minors (under 18 year olds) you need to reach out to a professional user researcher.

Before you commence, check out the Gov.uk research brief guide and GV’s article.

Research Methods Overview

What Objective When Effort # of people Time
One-on-one interview Allows you to understand the problem you are trying to solve from the perspective of the user. Understanding the problem

Finding the right solution

High 2+ 15-25 days
Guerrilla Research This method is best for quickly querying a set of users who are actively engaged with a particular topic or product. Finding the right solution Med 2 10-20 days
Mobile moments / Journaling (dscout) Understand behaviour over time. What people say they do and what they do are often different things. Understanding the problem Med 2 15 days
Contextual inquiry / immersions Understand behaviors in the context of where people actually perform the activities you want to solve for. Understanding the problem

Finding the right solution

High 2 20 days
User experience testing Topics that are suitable for usability testing are questions such as: can my target user use my product? can users navigate it successfully? Does my experience make sense/is it a good experience? are there any big usability blockers? Finding the right solution Med 2 5-8 days
Usability Heuristic testing Quick test to show if we’ve designed something well enough and up to standard (does not replace usability testing). Finding the right solution Low 3-4 0.5 day
Quick competitive review Understand the competitive landscape and how our solution competes. Understanding the problem

Finding the right solution

Low 1 1 day
Quick Market Research Understand the vertical/industry(ies); its prospects and growth, to gain understanding of the future industry situation for the market. Understanding the problem Low 1 1/2 day
Prototype testing Prototypes are not just good because they make you visualise and make what you are thinking, but also because they give you something to test and get feedback on, early. Understanding the problem

Finding the right solution

Med 2 varied