When conducting user research, your recruitment screener has a pivotal role to play.
In short, it’s your key to finding the best possible participants for your user research study. As such, you’ll need to make careful considerations around the questions you include in your survey design.
This way, you can be confident that you’ll have a full quota of relevant, high-quality, reliable participants taking part in your project on the day, and some fantastic insights to work with.
When writing a user research recruitment screener, be sure to include questions about:
1. The participants’ demographics
While it goes without saying for any market research project, questions around gender identity, age, the area your participants currently live in, as well as their ethnic background, job title, and other demographics make up an essential part of any recruitment screener; of course this holds true for user interviews.
In short, this information will help you to discern whether your potential participants for your UX study represent the target audience of your brand, or the product/service you are aiming to create/improve through the research (as such, it’s also important that this is the first question you ask).
As an example, if you are looking to test your Gen X fashion retail brand’s new website, you’ll need to be sure that your participants were born between 1965 and 1980. You should also ask about their ethnic background and gender identity to ensure you gather a fully representative sample.
2. What organisations or sectors the participants work in
This goes beyond the standard “advertising/marketing/market research” sectors you would typically include in a recruitment screener to include those who work with (or those who have friends or relatives who work with) similar technology, products or services to the one you’re getting them to test for this specific project.
For example, if your user research involves testing out a new app that your company is developing, participants who are also app developers, employees or associates of your brand (or know someone else who is) are best left excluded.
3. What participants know about your brand, or other similar brands/competitors
Gathering insight into the brands that your prospective participants currently engage in is another vital part of the screening process.
For example, if you’re looking to find out how you can get ahead of your competitors with the product or service you’re planning to test, you should ask survey questions designed to determine if participants use the products and services of those competitors.
4. The participants’ access to and confidence in using tech/devices
In short, if your participants don’t have access to the device(s) you need them to use as part of the research, or are not confident using the software you need them to engage with as part of the study, it will be difficult or impossible for them to answer questions and take part in the study.
So, ensure that you ask this as part of your user research recruitment screener to ensure that you do not have any dropouts on the day (this is where including an overrecruit can prove helpful).
5. Do you have any accessibility needs that impact your use of [insert relevant technology and devices]?
Accessibility and inclusivity are of growing significance in the market research sector, and play a key role in brand success.
You therefore need to ensure that you not only ask whether your participants have any accessibility needs so that you are able to support them to take part in the research comfortably on the day, but so that you have a truly representative and inclusive participant sample.
As an example, you will need to ask your participants if they have any accessibility needs around handheld device usage if your research requires the use of a mobile phone.
It’s also important to consider that some elements of the software are also restricted in terms of screen readers, and some website colours may not be seen by colour blind participants, and to keep this in mind. Eliminate barriers as you want respondents to answer your questions.
6. Explore the participants’ typical activity with products/services like your own
Alongside personal demographics, behavioural demographics are critical to establish, enabling you to select participants based on day-to-day activities, how they relate to your product, personal values and more.
If you’re looking to test a new fitness watch and accompanying app, for example, you could ask questions such as “how often do you check your fitness watch app?” with multiple choice answers to choose from such as:
- I use my fitness watch app frequently throughout the day
- I use my fitness watch app no more than once a day
- I use my fitness watch app between 1-3 times a week
- I don’t really use my fitness watch app
Then, depending on whether you want participants who use their fitness app frequently or infrequently for your user research, you can narrow down your selection accordingly.
7. Creative questions
Creative questions are a no-brainer for all market research screeners, but they have an especially big impact in creating survey related recruitment screeners.
This is because a participant who is able to approach a creative question with flare is more likely to be able to see the product or service you’re testing as part of the research from a perspective you might not have otherwise considered.
For example, if you were developing a new photo editing app, you could ask your participant something like “Imagine I put a mug of steaming coffee on the table in front of you, and I ask you to take and edit a photo of it… how would you do it, and why?”
A participant who then describes the angle they’d take a picture from, the colour tones and filters they’d use with the reasons behind their choices is likely to be a great candidate for your user research project.
By including all the above questions in your user research recruitment screener, you’ll be sure to end up with a fantastic pool of participants for your project.
If this is your first time writing a user testing recruitment screener however, or you’re not feeling 100% confident, you might benefit from teaming up with a dedicated user research recruitment agency, knowledgeable in UX research methods.
They will be able to combine their years of experience and up-to-date expertise behind with their knowledge and understanding of your research goals to ensure that your screener ticks all the boxes and gets you those all-important participants.
- “Different ways to identify user segments – roles, demographics, need states and personas.” – UX Collective: https://uxdesign.cc/different-ways-to-identify-user-segments-roles-demographics-need-states-and-personas-405e60d6c161
- “Bias in User Research: how to avoid that?” – UX Planet: https://uxplanet.org/bias-in-user-research-how-to-avoid-that-21586273c97b
- “Accessibility guidance for: User research” – NHS: https://service-manual.nhs.uk/accessibility/user-research