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7 things to consider when recruiting users for AR and VR research

By Jess Lewes

Business Development Director


As expected, the rise in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology outside the gaming industry has caused in rise in user research and testing related to this technology. As with any other forms of research and testing, it requires a considered approach when finding, screening, and recruiting people to participate.

If you are looking to run research or usability testing for VR or AR tech and don’t have the budget to use an external specialist recruitment company like People for Research, then here are some things to consider to ensure you get the best possible results.

7 top tips to recruit users for AR and VR research / testing

1. Don’t get caught up in whether participants are current users of AR or VR. These technologies are still emerging and many potential future users are yet to adopt this technology. Instead, focus on whether the participant is a likely user and build your target user group based on other behaviours.

2. Do your user researchers know the technology and are they best placed to advise on how to screen participants? If not, is it possible to include a developer or designer in the recruitment process to make sure you are testing with relevant participants?

3. As more companies adopt VR and AR, will participants always know the difference when being asked what they are familiar with? Many people have not heard the term AR and just assume all this technology belongs to the virtual reality world. We will need new language to cut through the technical linguistic jungle to make sure participants have relevant experience when being screened to participate.

4. As this blog highlights, VR is a first person experience and people are “seeking out experiences, not technologies”. Our past experience shows that accurately recruiting people who have had a certain experience has some constraints, as an ‘experience’ is open to interpretation.

5. This is a new area of technology, so there are benefits in having help when building the right screener and appropriately identifying suitable participants. If you don’t have the budget to work with a professional recruiter, who will write the screener for you, take a look at this blog with some tips for writing a recruitment screener. A professional user recruiter should be able to help you identify non-users if you are struggling to target and recruit from the small pool of existing users of certain products and services.

6. When recruiting people to test something that has a physical experience as well as a non-physical experience, it is important to be clear with users about what you are actually testing. For example, is it their experience of actually choosing and setting up the physical device (e.g. Oculus Rift) or are you testing the in-game experience? From our 25 years of experience, we can guarantee it is easy for users to make an assumption about the purpose of the research based on their limited experience of UX.

7. This area is continually innovating and the ground is constantly shifting. If setting up ongoing research, the recruitment and screening process may need to adapt over time to react to new products, services, and experiences. The recruitment process is an excellent opportunity to gather information on changing attitudes to technology to help prepare for usability testing sessions and user research.

It is surely only a matter of time before the next Pokemon Go! As this Guardian article shows, game developers have loads of ideas for what else augmented reality can be used for. It is an exciting time for all of us, watching what other applications AR and VR have outside of the gaming industry, and being involved in the discovery phases of some very talented and innovative companies.

Look out for future blogs, sharing tips on recruiting for artificial intelligence and voice user interface user experience research. Get in touch today to find out how we can make your research more user-centred.

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If you would like to find out more about our in-house participant recruitment service for user testing or market research get in touch on 0117 921 0008 or

jess lewesAbout the author: Jess Lewes is passionate about making research user-centred, and she is a source of knowledge for how to approach the recruitment process to get the best results for your UX research and testing. Jess is available to speak at your event, conference or company workshop.

About People for Research: We recruit participants for UX and usability testing and market research. We work with award winning UX agencies across the UK and partner with a number of end clients leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.

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