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How to define your target audience for your UX research


Zsolt is our design founder with a background in UX design & research. He's behind most of what happens at PingPong. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

When it comes to recruiting participants for your UX research project, often the very first step is defining your target audience. The easiest way to do this is usually starting from your UX personas. But what if you don’t have a persona yet? For example, when you are simply too early in the process and you are only in the discovery phase. You might not be able to specify your target audience clearly and you don't know where to start. So how do you get started?

I want to show you a very simple way to determine your target users: Looking at your product and figuring out who your users are: Businesses or Consumers. Or in other words, is it a Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumers (B2C) product. I got you two real life examples which I hope will give you a good idea and help you define your target audience.

UXR B2B target audience example

PingPong is a B2B software: only businesses and freelancers use our product. Their job titles are often described as "Product Designer", "UX Designer", "UX Researcher" and "Product Manager". 

Most of PingPong customers are in the UK and US and other parts of Europe, so my demographics settings will look like this:

Demographics settings for UXR projects

On top of these, my target users are not necessarily everyone with those job titles! When I’m running research in PingPong, I’d like to talk to people who run user interviews and user tests regularly. To make sure my audience matches this, I’ll create a screener survey that’ll only qualify people who regularly run user interviews and user tests:

B2B UX research screener

With the help of demographics filtering + screener survey, you can perfectly describe your target audience and you will be able to recruit people who perfectly matches your ideal target user.

B2C target audience example

Let’s look at a B2C example: In B2C your participant job title is irrelevant but you'll still use the demographic filters like employment status, age, country selection, etc much more. So the demographics for a research project targeting young students in the UK would look like this:

B2C UX research demographics

What matters more in B2C research are users' intention and behaviour: so we’ll use the screener even more here and ask relevant questions to my product.

B2C UX research screener

As you can see I have quite a few questions about the user's behaviour and intentions. You’ll have to create the screener survey to perfectly map the type of users you’re looking to recruit. We also collected a few important tips on creating UX research screeners with a few examples.

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Customer service is incredible, a five-star service/support - they are superstars! I was able to find participants all over the world that will definitely make an impact on our product.

Irene Cazaux

UX Designer