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Recruiting usability testing participants for free

Whether you‘ve already launched your product or not, user research is important at all stages. The real challenge starts when you have to find people to perform UX research on. Even though recruiting companies can find the perfect sample for you, it usually takes some time to deliver the results, and it might also be quite expensive.

In this article, we will show you ways to find participants for your user research and user testing for free.

Work with users throughout the whole process

You should try to investigate if there are any pain points when people use your product. The best way to find that out is to conduct user research and perform user tests throughout the whole designing process, but also after launching the product. This way, you can also validate if the decisions you are making are the right ones. The results will lead you to further improvement of your product. 

To run even a small, cheap, and quick research, you need to be careful of how and where you find these testers as it will significantly impact further development of your product. In one of our previous blogs, we’ve come up with 5 tips on how to find the right respondents for your user testing. In this article, you will find some useful tips on where to find those respondents for free.

Easy ways to find users for user testing

Carefully determine who you are looking for based on demographics, mentality, or any specific characteristics.

Let‘s say you are selling custom iPhone cases. What group of people will you want to run the tests on? The answer will be iPhone owners who use regular cases, custom cases, or those who don‘t use any yet.

Figure out where you are most likely to reach such people. Set your goals, prepare the questions, and start your recruitment.

If you prefer video-based learning more, then we recommend you to watch a video from our YouTube channel in which we share all possible ways to recruit usability testing participants for free.

Post in relevant social media groups

Become a member of relevant groups on social media, but don‘t ask for help immediately. If possible, start providing value before you ask for something in return. Give members advice or post useful articles to gain their trust. Or complete a study and share the results with them.   

Some of the relevant examples of platforms are

  • Facebook – find specific groups that relate closely to the topic you are researching and request to join them
  • Reddit – huge community network where people immerse themselves in their interests, hobbies, and passions
  • Quora – you can ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers
  • Twitter – people are discussing all kinds of hot topics here, and you are free to join any discussion

ux research participants for free

These platforms are just examples as they have a large number of users. Feel free to explore even more targeted groups and platforms if your product is focused on a niche market. Also, check out our guide where we analyze several usability testing examples of world-famous brands that we all love and follow.

Find participants through the Newsletter

Work with your existing users. If your website has already been launched, you can send out an email to all of your newsletter subscribers. You have to hook these subscribers with an eye-catching catchphrase such as: “Do you find our new feature useful?” or “Participate in our study and get a chance to win (something)!”. Explain shortly, what your study is about and provide a call to action button so they can sign up for it. Offer a small reward in return for help.

Send direct emails to chosen users

Another example of working with your already existing user base, but here you can choose people specifically based on their behavior on your website. The thing is, if you are using one of the email marketing platforms, it tends to track the users and group your subscribers into categories based on their behavior (those who left before checkout, those who unsubscribed, etc.). Depending on what you need to research or test, you can reach your users easily by the email they have provided.

Approach people in the streets

So-called guerilla testing occurs when you perform research and experiments with people you find in the streets. You will bring a prototype of your product outside and ask passers-by for feedback. For example, if you are looking to test your product on iPhone users, it is easy to determine and approach someone who is holding one in their hand. This is a low-cost, easy, quick, and valuable method for gathering answers from your target audience.

Ask people in your surroundings 

In some cases, you can do a quick usability test on your colleagues, friends, or family members. For basic insights – like if people understand your product and can complete tasks it makes sense to ask your friends and family as long as they have common characteristics with your target group. Run an idea by them, but don‘t fully rely on their opinions. If they find some error, continue testing on users that are not related to you. People in your surroundings can also be a good option for pilot study to help you catch any mistakes or get a better understanding  of feasibility and duration of the study.

Recruitment tool

There are online testing tools that are compatible with recruitment tools that do the recruiting work for you. This can not only save your time but will help you to find relevant users tailored to your project. First, you create your User Panel, where you will be asked to choose the topic (or topics) that best match your study. After that, you choose the desired demographics to target and set the time frame. Lastly, you calculate the price and place the order. 

It is not completely free – the price depends on the number of respondents. But we found it important to mention this tool as well, as it provides you with a perfectly tailored sample to test on.

UXtweak recruiting widget

Motivate and reward your participants

Don‘t forget to motivate your participants! What‘s in it for them to take part in your study? Even if you want to keep it on budget, they are there to help you, therefore they deserve a small gift for participation which can be in the form of a discount voucher, drink, snack, or even money.

ux research participants for free

For example, user testing platform UXtweak has an option to show appreciation and include a coupon (i.e. Amazon gift card, discount code) for respondents in exchange for their.

Do you need help with recruiting?

If you still struggle to find the perfect sample of users for your research, UXtweak already provides thousands of clients with a recruitment tool and a user panel. Create your free account to join our community and start your journey of providing a better user experience with one of our UX research tools. If you need help, don‘t hesitate to contact us and our team will get back to you shortly. 

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