Where do you find suitable users for testing and research?

almost 4 years ago from , Digital Designer at Thin Martian

I would like to ask the DN community about a topic which I don't see that much coverage on and was wondering what other people's strategy for it was: Where do you find good users for testing and/or research purposes?

Both remotely via a survey/skype and in person. We work on a variety of projects from content sites for firms of Solicitors, to Insurance products aimed at brokers, to consumer facing retail pages for Microsoft as well as apps for B2B and B2C use. So I feel like it's particularly tricky to find one solid method for finding users to test on or do formative research, as a lot of these sectors have quite specific audiences. I'm aware of services such as UserTesting, which is integrated with invision, but again I feel those are more for specific usability tests on an existing prototype as opposed to gathering research for what to prototype in the first place and to test market validity.

Does anyone else have any other specific approaches to finding the right users? Or gaining access to a wide range of users for quantitative research purposes?


  • Steve Berry, almost 4 years ago

    If you are in NYC near Madison Square Park, there is the Shake Shack line that takes 40 minutes to and hour to get food. Everyone is standing there with nothing to do so I rock up with a phone or tablet and do user testing right there. If someone is super helpful buy them food!

    The other is going to retail stores on Monday and Tuesday mornings when nobody is shopping. Be nice, offer to buy coffee and see if you can get them to do some impromptu user testing. They love not being bored and you get valuable data.

    I live in LA now so I won't tell you my testing secrets here....yet :)

    1 point
    • oli ingram, almost 4 years ago

      That's a good shout, i'm based in London, but there are probably plenty busy food lines around here as well so will keep an eye out for them

      0 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 4 years ago

    What I came to learn is that there is no single go to method you can use. You are dealing with people so you will have to consider a ton of things: what sort of experience / requirements do they need to have / meet (different people will hang out in different places, for example if you need busy professionals, you won't find those hanging out on user research sites all day), what type of research do you need and how much time will it require (this is something you determine based on the project: is it something you think you could observe better in person, do you need to observe them live or is a recording fine, will a questionnaire suffice, etc.)

    Most people I spoke to said they decide based on the project, sometime they use testing websites, sometimes they invite their own users, sometimes they post ads on craigslist, sometimes they call their friends and relatives.

    The Designer Hangout slack group has a reasonably active channel called #user_research and people discuss tools and sources for finding users, as well as ways of going about research all the time. Here's a snapshot of what's currently being discussed:


    1 point
  • Russ BrownRuss Brown, almost 4 years ago

    I've had this site bookmarked for a while, might be worth checking out:


    1 point