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Run your own basic usability study to find out just what your users need from your website, application, or device—and learn where to focus design improvements to have the biggest impact. Author Chris Nodder shows how to design a study so that it answers your questions, recruit the right participants, and set up the test environment. The course also teaches you how to moderate and observe a usability session, interact with participants and ask the right kind of questions, and then analyze the results and share them with your team in a meaningful way.
There are some other qualifying questions you'll want to ask each potential participant. Unless you're running remote usabilty studies, the participant will need to be in the same city as you, so they can easily show up for the study. They obviously also need to be available at the times you're running your study. It's good to check if people have any accessibility requirements like using a wheelchair or not being able to climb stairs so that you can accommodate them. If the person does qualify, you'll also need to make sure that you have a phone number and email address, so that you can send study details out, and so, that you can contact the person if there are any changes to your schedule.
It's also best to put the questions in the order that let's you disqualify the most people first. That means you'll waste less of your time and the potential participant's time going through a whole set of questions only to turn them down near the end. For instance, if you care about smartphone owning music lovers who've downloaded more than five apps in the last two months, ask the smartphone question first because all the rest hinge on that. If someone doesn't have a smart phone, they won't be downloading apps and it doesn't matter how much they like music.
And normally, you'll want to ask whether someone's available at the scheduled study times before you even go into the recruiting questions at all. Remember, that even if a participant doesn't have the right attributes for your current study, they may still be a great fit for a future one. If you have to decline a participant, tell them that they don't meet your criteria for your current study. But ask them if it's okay to keep their details on record for future studies. And remember, this is also an opportunity to find out if they know anyone else who might be a good participant for you.
Typically, someone who qualifies or nearly qualifies will know other people who meet the same criteria. We've put an example screener in the exercise files that go along with this course. It shows how a core might progress. The order in which you might want to ask questions to qualify participants. And the style of questions to keep participants from guessing the answer you want. It also contains post-qualification instructions. If you want, you can substitute your own questions and then use this as the basis for your own recruiting process.
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