UPA 2003 -- Idea Market

How do you find participants for your studies?

Facilitator: Kimberly Oslob, Macromedia Inc.

 All of our participants were usability specialist or usability recruiters. The majority of the participants came from software based companies and web based companies, therefore most of their participant pool is with the technical populations, software consumer populations and general web user populations.

Several questions were posed to participants to elicit ideas and participatory conversations. The topic of recruiting was so exciting for participants that they not only answered the below questions but expanded to other much needed topics as related to recruiting. The following, starter questions, were posed to participants:

The feedback that was received is categorized below:

Obtaining participants for studies

Using agencies for recruiting

What type of incentives to offer

Handling the possibility of no-shows or cancellations

Should the specialist recruit or should there be a dedicated recruiter?

Screening participants

Incentive tax issues

Using internal or external participants for studies


In conclusion, the majority of participants used several different methods for recruiting but seemed to struggle with ways in which to obtain participant names. Several conversations focused around how to obtain names and how to entice participants to show up. There seemed to be a strong need for networking and passing along ideas that worked best. Most participants were looking for clear cut answers and all seemed to feel a void when it came to education on recruiting and locating participants.