What it is

Identifying and gathering people to interview or test your product.

Why it is important

Recruiting people who represent your core user group is a critical and oft-overlooked part of research. Time spent with the right people using the wrong methods is better than time spent with people who aren’t your core users while using the right methods.

Time required

1–2 weeks for 5–10 participants from mailing lists or community organizations

Seek out people who:

  • Are trying to use the thing you're working on right at that very moment
  • Recently tried to use the thing you're working on
  • Used the thing you're working on less recently
  • Have used something like what you're working on and are likely to use what you're working on

Reach them through:

  • Relevant community organizations
  • Impromptu requests in or near the relevant environment
  • Your personal and professional network
  • The new or existing website
  • Existing mailing lists

Applied in government research

Check with your agency's legal counsel (or privacy officer or OIRA desk officer) before collecting any personally identifiable information or receiving services from the general public. For more on this, see OMB guidance on the Paperwork Reduction Act and the Privacy Act.

Additional resources