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Recap of #UXChat with Jess Lewes: “talking to the users is a given!”

By Stacey Hirst

Digital Marketing Executive


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#UXChat is a weekly one-hour live discussion on Twitter hosted by Better UX, part of UserZoom. Each week the team behind #UXChat invites a different person from the world of user experience to co-host, and last week it was People for Research’s Business Development Director Jess Lewes. Of course, we took the opportunity to turn the discussion to the subject of participant recruitment.

In our experience user recruitment can still be a controversial subject as everyone has a different opinion and places a different value on the recruitment part of user research, we were excited to get feedback on the three questions we posed.

What value can user recruitment add to user research / UX design? And what are the most common misconceptions?

In our experience, a common misconception is that participant recruitment is easy, possibly because we make it seem the case, but refreshingly most people participating in the chat agreed that this is not the case.

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

Also, there was agreement that it is important to go beyond your existing users or, at the very least, go beyond research with people who are further than the other side of the office. 

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

There is evidence that there is still work to do to get everyone in a business to see the value of recruiting users – this is one of the key reasons why we see value in participating in discussions like #UXChat and keep working hard to promote user recruitment as a valuable and reliable part of the UX design process.  

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

Everyone agreed on the importance of getting the ‘right people’…  

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

However, it was harder getting a consensus on how to measure what ‘right’ means. Of course, this varies for most businesses depending on the project and what a typical user looks like for each company. 

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

What are your biggest challenges / pain points in user recruitment?

Most people would agree that user recruitment can be full of unexpected challenges as there are so many variables to manage. A common challenge we are faced with is working with clients who don’t have the time to fully brief us and discuss the research’s background – knowing what the research project is about is useful, it means we can get people interested in the topic and willing to participate for reasons beyond the cash incentive. This experience is amplified as we have some fantastic relationships with clients who invest time to discuss their requirements with us at the start of the project and see the added value in our recruitment process and the participants we recruit for them.

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

There was acknowledgement that not all people will want to take part in research, especially those in niche groups of society. This can include people in highly paid and highpressure jobs, or those who are potentially vulnerable.  

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

It was nice to see some recognition of professional recruiters during the #UXChat: companies like People for Research have momentum in the recruitment process, as we are consistently looking for people to take part in all kinds of research.  

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

Do you have any top tips for improving participant recruitment?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many revolutionary techniques that are guaranteed to make recruitment easier, but the discussion showed just how much potential there still is to improve UX research with more consistent participant recruitment. There are still so many companies who have yet to embrace research as a regular part of the design process and are, therefore, apprehensive about recruiting participants.

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

There are also some basics that are worth revisiting to help make participant recruitment more usercentred.  

uxchat participant recruitment ux research

Thank you to Better UX and UserZoom for the invite, we hope we get to host again. For the full Twitter recap, click here. 

Jess Lewes can next been seen talking about participant recruitment at the UXPA UK meetup about stories from the front line of UX research on Thursday 25th April in London. If you would like Jess to come and speak at your event or conference or deliver a user recruitment workshop to your team, then get in touch   

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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

About the author: Stacey Hirst is the Digital Marketing Executive at People for Research. She is our content expert and a bit of a geek! You can find her on Twitter or Instagram, engaging with participants and chatting with clients.

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 who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.

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