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How to motivate people to attend your research

Motivating people to participate in your study is one of the challenges you face when executing UX research. However, these participants have an important role - they provide you with data on which you make conclusions. This makes them an essential part of your research.

To motivate people to participate in your study, the key is to understand these people’s underlying context and biases. But how to actually recruit them? Why would they even want to take part in your study? What motivates them? 

In this article, we will discuss when to use specific types of motivation, what effect it might have on the results, and we’ll give you some tips on motivating participants to attend your study so that you will get maximum from your next user testing.

What is Intrinsic Motivation? 

According to verywellmind intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards, such as positive emotion or altruism. Many people like the idea of supporting other individuals and having a beneficial impact on scientific studies. The desire to contribute is the most reported reason for volunteering. In addition, intrinsic factors are believed to have stronger power in a volunteer’s decision than extrinsic aspects. And what’s more, the answers of intrinsically motivated individuals are usually considered to be of higher quality. That’s because these participants are more likely to adhere as they believe in the study’s value. 

What is Extrinsic Motivation?

As an opposite, extrinsic motivation refers to the tendency to engage in activities to gain some type of external reward. These rewards can be tangible (diplomas, trophies, etc.) or intangible (praise, recognition, etc.). 

What’s important to know for you as a UX researcher is that incentives increase response rates to surveys, including mailing, panel, and internet studies. Receiving a fixed amount of cash, discounts, or being entered into a lottery, make respondents more willing to participate in research. If you give someone incentive, they will feel obliged to do something in return. 

In general, monetary incentives tend to increase response rates more than gifts or lotteries. So to motivate more people to take your study is good to use prize draws or financial compensation. 

With UXtweak you have the possibility of importing the reward in the form of a coupon into the study, and it will be automatically given out to respondents after they complete the study. 

7 Tips to help you motivate (the right) people to participate in your studies:

1.Use the intrinsic motivation 

Show your participants the importance of their attendance. Help them see why their assistance is useful and what you will do with the information. Not only they will be more willing to help you, but you will also ensure the quality of their performance. However, be careful because you don´t want to give away too much info at the beginning of a session.

2.Offer reward 

Respondents are more likely to participate if they receive a fixed amount of cash or gift. Logically, increasing the amount of the incentive also increases participation rates. But be cautious – you want to provide an amount that compensates the value of their time appropriately, but doesn´t break your budget. 

3.Label your respondents 

Another step in how to motivate your participants is to “label” them. Several studies show that people like to belong to the groups and are likely to adopt behaviors based on the labels you give them. Simply said, if you tell them they’re in the group most likely to respond, there is a big chance they will.

4.Don’t make it evident 

If you want only a certain sample of people in your study with a specific trait or from a specific industry, do not ask for that directly. Instead, give them more options to choose from. For example, if you’d like to filter out people who don´t work in the finance sector, your question should be phrased “In which sector are you working? (choose one): Information, Financial, Health Care, …”. By this, you will avoid misleading answers, which often occur if you promise your participants a reward for taking part in your study.

5.Try to make tasks shorter

To avoid survey fatigue, keep the tasks small so your participants won’t get uninterested in your study. Rather cut the long task into shorter ones, so it won’t lead to a quality decrease in your collected data or to leaving participants from your research. 

6.Use the right channel to invite participants

There are more ways how to approach your target group:

  • Recruitment agencies – These agencies can help you out if time pressures you, or if you have a very broad target group. Just be aware that this might dig deeper into your pocket, or you might get “professional testers” who are used to test websites, and they might devalue your data.
  • Email lists – In this case, you can use a list of existing users in your CRM who already use your product. The advantage is that this list contains people just with the characteristics you’re looking for.
  • Pop-ups on your website – Good respondents are not easy to find, and recruiting widgets, as for example in UXtweak, makes it simple and effective. In most cases, these pop-ups are customizable, including their looks, content, and when and where on the website it appears. You decide if it shows up only on certain pages, whether it is immediately or with some time or scroll delay. 
  • Online ads and social media – Invite people via ads or social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Slack, etc.). You can target your key audience by sharing posts on your profile or posting in social groups with common interests. Whatsmore, there you can find more people willing to help you execute your study.

7.Respect their privacy

The privacy policy is a certainty, but people are still sensitive about giving away personal information. That’s why detailed participant information sheets are usually a legal issue. Let them know that you realize this is a big responsibility and that collected data will be used only for your professional purposes.

So how to get the most from your UX research?

Different types of users and incentives vary the amount and quality of participation. To motivate people to participate might be challenging, and sometimes you don’t succeed at the first try. If that’s your case, try to experiment with rewards or use different types of recruiting methods. With this knowledge, you have a bigger chance of succeeding in your user testing. If you want to know more tips, which might come in handy in your UX research, check out our blog.

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