How to find user testing participants

Jonathan Widawski

May 30, 2018

User testing is an important step in the design process, but one of the main constraints is the lack of testers for doing your research, especially without a customer base. Here's a starting guide to help you find testing candidates and kickstart your user testing process.

👫 Personal Network

If you’re building a product that has a broad target audience, the easiest way to find people to participate in your testing session is to leverage your personal network.

Your friends, colleagues, and family members are great candidates for your user testing sessions without a specified demographic. Even more, ask them if they know someone who might want to do the same: you may be surprised how many people are willing to give a helping hand.

💬 Social and Online Communities

Social media presents immense opportunities for finding users willing to take a quick test. The great benefit is that you can do as little or as much as you need to get the desired results.

For instance, post on your personal social media channels and spread the word around. Depending on the number of followers and level of engagement you usually get, you could gather a substantial number of testers.

Alternatively, go a step further and leverage online communities such as the ones on Reddit or Slack, share your test in relevant LinkedIn or Facebook groups, and even target specific audiences with Facebook ads. Let’s look at these latter strategies in detail.

Reddit

💸 Cost to 100 testers: Free

Reddit is an online platform where users share interesting content such as news, videos, images, and more. The website is organized into subreddits, which are boards that cover specific topics for people with a common interest (e.g. /r/design for designers or /r/cars for car enthusiasts).

With over 800,000 subreddits and more than 542 million monthly viewers (as of February 2018), there's a good chance you might reach your target customer there. Simply share a message detailing what you’ve been working on and the link to your test in the subreddit(s) relevant to your product. Most users on Reddit will happily give you their thoughts and opinions as long as you don't try to sell or promote anything.

Pros
✔ Free
✔ Massive pool of users
✔ Targeted audience
✔ Friendly and open community (as long as you respect the reddiquette)

Cons
👎 Majority of users are US-based
👎 Most of the subreddits are inactive

Slack Communities

💸 Cost to 100 testers: Free

Whether or not you use Slack as a messaging app at your place of work, there’s something else valuable that Slack offers: online communities open for anyone to join.

Similar to the concept of forums or Facebook groups, there are now Slack communities for a variety of interesting topics. From design and content to coffee and gaming, you can definitely find a Slack channel with people willing to give you some feedback on your prototype.

Slofile is an online database of Slack communities: use their search to find a relevant community for you.

Pros
✔ Free and open for anyone to join
✔ Targeted groups of people

Cons
👎 Finding a relevant Slack community takes time
👎 Joining may be restrictive and proof-based (e.g. a Slack community on design may be open only to designers)

Facebook & LinkedIn Groups

💸 Cost to 100 testers: Free

Both Facebook and LinkedIn have a variety of groups that you can join to find testers. Say you’re building an online application to help HR professionals keep track of employee documentation, you could share the link to your test in the Human Resources (HR) Professionals Group on LinkedIn that is visited by many HR practitioners on a daily basis.

Nowadays, there are groups for everything from hobby-related topics to professional discussions. Just be mindful of any rules, as most groups don’t allow spamming or sharing promotional content.

Pros
✔ Free
✔ Access to large online communities
✔ Highly targeted groups

Cons
👎 Finding and joining the right group can be quite time-consuming
👎 Engagement may be low in certain groups

Facebook Ads

💸 Cost to 100 testers: $100-$300

With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook dominates the social media industry. This impressive user count coupled with its advertising feature is valuable to promote your test to a large audience.

In order to be able to create Facebook ads, you’ll have to set up a Facebook page if you don’t already have one. You can read more about Facebook for Business and go through this tutorial on how to create your first ad.

Pros
✔ Highly targeted
✔ Pay per click
✔ Fast results

Cons
👎 Only available with a budget and may become pricey
👎 Ineffective if audiences aren't correctly set

🙌 Tester Hiring with Maze

Last but not least, you can hire testers for your maze using our Testers Panel. Pricing for hiring testers starts at $3 per tester and decreases with volume. You can place an order in batches of 5, 20, 50, or 100. Read more about this feature in our blog post.

Join the conversation on Twitter @mazedesignHQ or follow us on Facebook for future Maze updates. 🎉