Participant needs — Alpha design hypotheses

Ben Garvey-Cubbon
Jan 13, 2018 · 3 min read

Participant experience discovery

To understand the research participant experience, we:

  • Conducted 5 in-depth interviews with participants
  • Spent a day observing a participant recruitment team
  • Surveyed 903 research participants

This discovery was to help us understand how we might better design our user research.

Take part in a qualitative research interview task model

Good aspects of the participant experience we discovered

  1. Participants find taking part in research an interesting and rewarding experience
  2. Participants learn new things from taking part in research
  3. Participants are likely to want to take part in further research after their first session

Problems with the participant experience we discovered

  1. Potential participants aren’t aware of opportunities in a timely manner
  2. Participants have barriers/blockers to them taking part in research and researchers aren’t always aware of these
  3. Using one research format excludes participants from taking part
  4. Participants don’t really know what to expect from the research session. This impacts the wellbeing of the participants and inhibits their ability to fully take part
  5. Participants feel anxious before they go into a research session
  6. Participants think of things relevant to the research after the session and have nothing to do with these thoughts
  7. Participants don’t know what impact their involvement had

User needs we discovered

As a potential participant I need

  1. To understand what user research is
  2. To discover that there is a research opportunity that I’d be suitable for.

Factors of suitability:

  1. Time/Date
  2. Location
  3. Research format/method
  4. Data usage
  5. Purpose
  6. Impact results will have

As a participant I need

  1. To feel comfortable to participate in the environment set
  2. To know that my participation was worthwhile to the project/product
  3. To be able to provide insights after the session has finished

As a participant recruiter I need to be aware that

  1. Not everyone knows what user research is
  2. Participants may not respond to opportunities immediately
  3. The recruitment of the participant is part of the research
  4. Participants feel anxious about attending a research session

As a user researcher I need to be aware that

  1. Each research method will exclude some participants
  2. The research environment will exclude some participants
  3. A good experience in this round of research is likely to lead to the participant taking part in research again
  4. Participants will have thoughts/insights to provide after the research session that will be useful
  5. For the participant, the research started when they responded to the opportunity

Alpha design hypotheses to test

  1. If we describe what user research is, and what the different research formats are, to potential participants then more people are likely to take part in research and feel less anxious when they do
  2. If we provide a mechanism for participants and researchers to communicate after a research session has finished then better insights will be gathered by the research team, and participants will feel like their input has more value
  3. If we inform user researchers of the biases and limitations that a research format can place on a participant then user research will use multiple formats when conducting research which will increase the diversity of participants and improve the quality of the insights for a project

Participant needs

Designing user research that better meets participants…

Participant needs

Designing user research that better meets participants needs with Ben Cubbon, Nic Price and guests

Ben Garvey-Cubbon

Written by

User Research practice lead @Ovoenergy previously #ofthegovernment Northerner, Tin-Tin Look-a-like (so I’ve been told), views my own. #Participantneeds

Participant needs

Designing user research that better meets participants needs with Ben Cubbon, Nic Price and guests