I have a confession to make. I spend more time on r/CrappyDesign than I care to admit. It’s amazing what people can do if they really, really don’t try. Here’s one of my all-time favourites. The reason why posts like this never cease to amuse me is that, from a usability testing perspective, the only thing the builder of this home should have done is run the idea by someone who has experience using a bathroom or can access people who have. In other words, literally anyone. Including, I assume, themselves. But no. Antebathroom it is.
Then of course, there are cases where only people with specific background or experience can give valuable feedback on your design direction. Let’s say you’ve developed a sales management solution to speed up the sales process and boost sales teams’ productivity. Beta-testing it with people who have used CRMs before might work just fine. But if you’re looking to find out what features sales reps use the most often to contact or follow up on leads, you must go straight to the source.
Meaning that recruiting testers can get a tad more complicated than what I described above. Below I’ve rounded up a few ideas where to look for starters. Have your own go-to source? Share with us on LinkedIn!
With over 430 million monthly users across 138,000 active communities, Reddit is a goldmine of users with opinions on everything from Breaking Bad to, apparently, bathroom design. It’s also a place that draws people from all walks of professional life.
For example, these are the most popular subreddits for physicians and clinicians to discuss work and play, including legislative changes, medical breakthroughs and ways to unwind. Here you can find a roundup of subreddits dedicated to the world of money, covering taxation, investments, financial reporting, retirement and more. Or browse the top forty subs for artists, photographers, designers and illustrators.
Plus, r/SampleSize is a 171,000-strong community of people who respond to surveys for the fun of it. A word to the wise: dedicate ample time to finding the right communities and always check and observe subreddit rules before you post.
The world’s largest professional network, with more than 774 million members in over 200 countries, is a no-brainer. However, finding the right outreach approach is key to harnessing its potential.
If you’re going the LinkedIn group route, it’s important to remember that joining LinkedIn groups just to push your own agenda will probably get you nowhere. Except flagged as spam or even banned. Here are some rules of thumb for becoming a valued group member, courtesy of LinkedIn. Or you can screen for promising candidates based on job title (and any other relevant criteria) and cold connect with them via LinkedIn message. Either way, you can use the search bar as ground zero.
Added bonus: a great selection of filters for combing through potential participants, including connection level, shared connections, industry, current and past workplaces and so on. Side note: you must have a premium plan to message people outside your network.
Slack isn’t just for channelling all your team communication into a single platform instead of mile-long email threads. Used by FTSE 100 companies, corner shops and everything in between, it’s also home to thousands of communities where users with all kinds of backgrounds come together to share ideas, discoveries and best practices.
There’s a Slack chat group and community for pretty much any interest and dilemma, whether you’re an entrepreneur in France, a bitcoin enthusiast in Africa, a VR specialist in Milwaukee or an Android developer in Bangalore. Click here for a sorted collection of 2,000 of them, or go to Slofile to browse public Slack groups and channels to join.
4. User testing platforms
If prompt, precise and painless is how you prefer to go about usability tester recruitment, testing platforms like PingPong are hard to beat. In fact, our platform grew out of the frustration we felt juggling hundreds of spreadsheets, messages, invitations, interviews, pie charts, PowerPoints and the like that are all part of life when you’re in the market for high-quality testers and test outcomes. Even more so, if you need them fast.
The main reason why testing platforms like ours are a hit with product designers and researchers is that they take the guesswork out of not only the design process but also out of recruitment. Through PingPong, for example, you get instant access to 150,000 candidates, along with smart-screening algorithms to make sure that whatever your question is, you’ll ask it from the right people. Once you’ve found your candidates, scheduling an interview with the selected ones takes only a few minutes.
Besides demographic criteria, you can use filters and screener questions to pinpoint potential testers down to job title, company size, experience and tools used in their day-to-day work. Going back to my previous example, you can target some 2,000 candidates with “sales” in their job title, from reps to coaches, to map out their exact needs when it comes to sales software tools. Or narrow down your search to managers to get insight from the decision-makers you’ll be marketing your solution to.