6 Things to Consider When Choosing Participants for the UX Research Interviews

3 min readNov 18, 2022

Finding the right people is as important as asking the right questions. In our previous article we discussed the 10 things you should never do during a research interview, in this article our focus will be on choosing the right participants. Here are the 6 things to consider when you want to do that.

Define your recruitment criteria correctly.

It might be some general demographic characteristics or it might be something more specific as well. Sometimes you need feedback from people who are already using your product. And sometimes you will look for people who have never used it before but fit your potential users’ criteria. Getting insights from people unfamiliar with the topic will reflect the situation when new people come to your website or the ones who will just start using your product.

Include pre-screening.

Pre-screening will help filter people who are ‘professional respondents’ trying to fit in any study if you are using recruitment panels. The pre-screening survey contains 2–3 simple questions, and it is made in a way that respondents can’t guess what answers you are expecting or what is the exact topic of your project.

Think of where you will be recruiting depending on your study.

You can choose the recruitment panels where participants are picked for you or make an email newsletter for the existing customer base or even use Facebook groups/Reddit if that’s where people you need spend their time.

If you are recruiting existing users, keep in mind what kind of customers those are.

You can end up with very loyal and happy customers who might not share any negative moments during the interview. Or if you ask customer support to offer an interview at the end of a support request, you will most probably end with the most unhappy customers. It’s good to keep that in mind and either try to recruit a mix or be ready to receive as many insights as possible but know that it might be not like that for all the users.

Don`t forget the follow-up.

After you recruited, don’t forget to set up the automatic email reminders for the participants (Calendly or similar tools allow you to do it). It will increase your show-up rates later on.

Define the appropriate incentives based on your recruitment criteria.

For some people, it will be enough to offer gift certificates (like Amazon or similar), for others it can be a $25-$30 money incentive. But for the high-earning categories of people, this sum won’t be interesting at all. So you have to think of other factors that could be valuable to them (offer them some incentive with the option to donate it to the charity of their choice, to share the research results with them afterward if they work in the same professional field, ask people you know if they can introduce you to some of those people that fit your criteria so that it’s not a cold contact, etc). If you are using some recruitment panel (like User Interviews or Respondent.io) they have guides on how to choose the right sum of incentives based on what type of people you chose.

Following these simple tips will save you tons of resources. The right people will give you more in-depth answers, which will help you develop or prove hypotheses. Hence leading to a better product or service and more reviews.

Are you interested in learning even more?

How to Use Surveys for Your Business and Why They are Important?

Podcast Episode 2: What is UX research and why is it important for CRO?




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