How to Recruit Users for Usability Testing

How to recruit users for usability testing is a process by which an organization or a firm or an individual comes up with people to use in exploring what is expected from a user of a product or a service to be launched. This may also be done on existing products and services. There are a number of methods which can be used and all these are determined by the scope of testing whether it is on a large scale or a small scale. Recruiting methods may include the following:-

Use of existing users

This is sometimes referred to as automatic invite of users. These are people that an organization has used in the past to test on a particular product or service. When launching a new product or service in the market, this forms an important group for this function. The advantage with this method is that it is less costly and you will be dealing with a people that you are familiar with. You can contact them by sending them emails or pop ups unlike if you were to recruit new users all together. However, this method has a number of disadvantages which may include uncertainties as the organization may not be able to focus on the number of responses given.

Recruit from a panel

This is one of the common ways that organization use in coming up with users for usability testing. This can be achieved by purchasing a number of responses from respondents of a specific service provider. This method of recruiting users is preferred when an organization is interested in conducting bench marking studies, testing on the usability of prototypes or testing architectural information. This method is advantageous as it is less costly and it is easier in implementation as opposed to other methods.

Use of a research agency

Users may be recruited by use of research agencies. This is mostly preferred when organizations are doing a complex research and involves a specific target of people. The target group may be professionals such as medical doctors, lawyers, nutritionists, teachers among others. The only disadvantage with this method is a little expensive. The organizations ensure that the information that they get from the participants is accurate. This method allows that the respondents can be asked questions when need arises in the future or if some clarity is required from the previous interview. Usually this method gives detailed data as compared to other methods as you are supposed to get what you pay for.

Personal recruitment

This method of recruiting users for usability testing is mostly applied by those who have been engaged in research agencies who happen to have been conducting surveys and tests. With the experience from research agencies, it will be worth to have a respondent’s database of your own. It helps in testing an idea before putting the same on a wider audience. This method is advantageous as it does not cost much to get users to use in usability testing. But also it must be remembered that you must also incur some costs in coming up with the database. How to recruit users for usability testing may also involve use of mechanical Turk among other methods.


Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.