How to Recruit Users for Usability Testing: Advice No One Will Give You

how to recruit users for usability testing

At some point in your work, you will feel the need for usability testing. This desire derives from the fact that you want to know if you are on the right path or not. Therefore, you will need to recruit users for testing. This may sound like a hard and complicated task, especially if you’ve never done it before. 

The fact that there are lots of platforms to help you out with this task is somehow relieving by itself. You can use these platforms to record your website’s visitors’ behavior and conduct a better test. 

So, here in this article, we will go through some facts and rules that you must know before starting your user testing recruitment. In addition to that, we will provide you with the best methods to recruit your sample.

Note: Is it challenging for you to find participants for your usability tests? Use a session recording software like WatchThemLive to record user behavior on your website or app to measure its usability.  Sign up now and start your testing process.


Why Is Participant Recruitment a Hard Task?

Finding participants for your usability testing can be a hard task in many cases. You need to have a specific plan, specific users, and a more specific place for that. However, it doesn’t end here. These are some reasons that usability testing can be  hard:

  • There are too many channels for finding your subjects and each one suits a special kind of test.
  • It’s hard to find the right person with suitable interests for your specific test criteria.
  • The process itself might take a long time to complete and consume lots of resources.
  • It’s difficult to manage the participants in iterative usability testings

Best Tool to Help with Usability Testing Recruitment

watchthemlive homepage

Not all businesses are able to recruit participants for their tests. Therefore, using a user tracking platform is an excellent solution. These platforms gather user data for later analyses. 

WatchThemLive is a user tracking platform that is super helpful in gathering user data. In this matter, you can use their session replay service to see how your users interact with your website and what their responses to specific designs are. You also can manage some specific tests about the latest changes on your website to see if they work properly or not.

In any of these cases, WatchThemLive will help you with its easy-to-use services and user-friendly dashboard. So, sign up here and make your product the best. 

Watch what one of WatchThemLive’s users has to say about this platform.

The Best Framework For User Testing Recruitment

If you want to have a decent usability testing process, you need to know every step before starting. However, being able to study and analyze usability testing best practices can be a huge help in understanding the core of the process. Here is what needs to be done step by step to achieve your goal:

1. Define Your Goals and Methods

It’s crucial that the main goal of any process be clear before starting it. Make sure to know what the purpose of your test is by the time you start recruiting. Another important matter that should be clear before the usability test, is the methods you choose to use. There are lots of usability testing methods and you can’t just choose them randomly. Research about them and see which one suits your case the best.

2. Decide Who to Recruit

It may sound like an easy task at first but the fact is that knowing exactly who your target is can be tricky. However, there are some general categories that can help you out with choosing your participant group:

  • Behaviors: You can choose your test group by knowing their habits and if they suit your niche or not.
  • Demographics: Things like age, education, gender, income, marital status, etc. can help you in your search.
  • Geographics: Consider their country, city, region, or specific area. 
  • Psychographics: These are personal features that can impact the test such as hobbies, activities, interests, and other personal things.

By using these categories, you will select your test subjects more easily.

3. Create Your Plan

When you are planning for your usability test, it’s essential to consider it to be done in an established time period. Moreover, by using an incentive plan, you are implying that you care about your testing group’s time. Having a plan also makes your sample perform in a more realistic situation and not just a fake testing process.

4. Find Your Participants

Now that you have categorized your users and know exactly what must be done, it’s time to find your test participants. Don’t worry, we will cover this matter in the following section and in a detailed way to help you out with your process. So, keep reading for the juicy part that comes next.

Article for the rescue: How to Run Usability Testing: 6 Steps to Follow

How to Recruit Users For Usability Testing?

Now is the time for introducing some of the methods to gather your test participants:

1. Guerrilla Testing

Theoretically, this is the easiest technique for user recruitment. It entails asking everyone who happens to be passing by to join in. This might be coworkers, friends, people from your local café, or anyone else. If you’re going to do this, your research should be brief and participants should be rewarded with a coffee or a little token for participating. But don’t force them to participate; if you do, they’re not going to be very helpful.

The problem with this strategy is that the users you recruit are unlikely to represent your user base, and you can only have some general data.

2. Existing Users

You can’t count on existing users to participate. You must request that they do so. You can do this by using any of the following methods:

  • Request them in your social media
  • Use pop-ups on your website
  • Ask them through E-mail
  • Ask your salespeople to reach out to specific customers

This method can be helpful most of the time and produce reliable usability feedback. However, it’s not always possible to persuade existing users to give their time to you and do the test.

user testing

3. Panel Agencies

These agencies have databases of people who want to participate in such tests. They have lots of demographic data and can help you concentrate your tests on extremely specific demographics. You should Google for an agency that best meets your requirements.

However, not every requested participant will react, and obtaining enough users may be difficult if you require a highly specialized audience.

4. Market Research Companies

Using a market research recruitment organization to perform the test for you is one of the best methods. However, the downside is the high price for each participant they gather for you. These companies can be found on Google, and the recruiter can assist you in creating a solid recruitment profile and then finding people to participate.


Usability testing is an essential part of every product or service production. You need to know if you are on the right path to prevent unnecessary expenses and improve your product. Therefore, gathering the best participants for your test is of so much value. Here, we mentioned some of the hard parts of this act and gave you the four best ways to gather them. These four methods are guerilla testing, Testing existing users, panel agencies, and market research companies. Also, Sign up now in WatchThemLive to use their special features for usability testing.

Cyrus Nambakhsh
Cyrus Nambakhsh
Cyrus is a serial entrepreneur, product-led-growth expert, a product visionary who launched 7 startups. He has built scalable platforms to help businesses and entrepreneurs. Visit my profile here: ==> Contact: [email protected]
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