Recruiting the right user testers is often the biggest hurdle when testing a new security product. The core challenges are identifying who will represent your target users well and figuring out effective ways to find those people.
Start by creating one or more user personas. These are detailed profiles of your target users that have outlined information like:
Knowing your user personas inside and out will help you screen for the right participants.
Tip: You can create a persona in <10 minutes with our persona app (download it)
Recruit Matches to Your Personas
There are two primary ways to source quality user testers that match your target personas:
leverage personal connections
use screening surveys
1. Personal Connections
One of the most effective approaches is to have your team tap into their personal networks to find testing candidates. Friends from school or past colleagues often make great testers - they tend to be more willing to provide thoughtful insights and excited to give input on new product development.
One of our first steps with Hidden Layer was asking the product team for personal connections that fit the target audience. After sending one personalized email, we were conducting our first testing session.
2. Screening Surveys
If finding testers through existing connections is challenging, you can use screening surveys to identify good matches to your personas from a broader pool. These surveys assess potential testers by asking questions that gauge:
Their professional role and industry experience
Relevant tools and systems they currently use
Their level of expertise with products similar to yours
Focus on selecting people who align closely with your user personas in terms of job function, tech savviness, and workflows.
Leveraging both personal connections and screening surveys will help you recruit engaged testers that fit your target user profiles.
AutoAuth, a vehicle security client, had thousands of people logging into their product daily. We created a small survey, and were able to ask a selection of those respondents if they’d be willing to test new features.
Offer Incentives for Participation
Offering gift cards, donations, or other perks in exchange for people's time and insights can be a great way to say thank you. Just be sure to avoid overly influencing their behavior - keep incentives reasonable.
Tip: Our typical incentive is a $25-100 amazon gift card
Finding a good time to meet can be challenging when considering busy work schedules and time zone differences. We’ve found the easiest way to accommodate participants is to let them schedule a time on your calendar.
Tip: We use Calendly to schedule our meetings, but there are tons of alternatives.
Iterate on Recruiting
View each round of testing as an opportunity to improve your recruiting. Notice and fill any gaps in demographics, behaviors, or needs that emerge.
Continue updating your personas
With each test, you'll refine your personas and get better at finding your perfect users. Insights from your target audience are gold - so recruit thoughtfully!
It all comes down to this
While it takes effort to recruit thoughtfully, it gives your team super powers when you iterate and enhance your product for the people who matter most - your users. Taking the time to find the right participants will make your testing sessions a worthwhile investment that fuels product success.