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In Asking “why?” with in-person sessions in Chapter 11, we'll discuss the option of testing some participants in person.

For these sessions, the main recruiting challenge is getting the right participant in the right room at the right time. Mostly that’s a matter of good recruiting, though life does happen – traffic is heavy, kids get sick, etc.

Here are a few tips that should help:

  • When we book someone for a session, we make it clear to them that it's a one-on-one study. People are less likely to no-show for these than they are for group sessions.

  • We tell them how much time we will need (20-30 minutes for the tree test and subsequent discussion, more if we’re doing additional activities with them).

  • We tell them that they’ll be reading text (from cards or a computer screen), so they should bring reading glasses if they need them.
  • We make sure we're clear about the time and place, of course, and we send a follow-up email with this info, directions and where to park, and our contact number.

  • We get their mobile number so we can contact them if something changes on short notice.

  • We contact them the day before the study to remind them of their upcoming participation. If they can't make it, we may be able to reschedule.

  • When they arrive, we make sure they know where to go. Instructions in the email are good, but signage (or meeting them in the lobby) is better.

  • If they haven't arrived by 5 minutes after the session's start time, we call them on their mobile phone to see if they're still coming and if they need help finding the venue.

  • If we are visiting them, we find out where to park, and we don’t go alone (for both our security and theirs). Oh, and we take slippers (in case we need to remove our shoes).

For more on planning and running in-person user research, we recommend the excellent and comprehensive Handbook of Usability Testing by Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell.


Next: Chapter 9 - key points


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