Feb 20, 2013

Recruiting Users for Testing with Ethnio

There are several ways we find people to help with usability tests or user interviews. We use social media networks, we respond to people who tweet about a MailChimp feature we’re currently studying, and we send campaigns to a mailing list of people who signed up to help with testing. (You can join that list, BTW: http://eepurl.com/Dw7D.)

When we have open criteria for user interviews, we get great results through those methods. But when we need to recruit for a very particular feature or criteria, it becomes difficult and time consuming. Getting specific usually increases the recruiting time by a couple days, which is a total drag when we’d rather actually be talking with our users.

Enter Ethnio, a nifty tool that allows you to create a popup screener, make a short survey for the screener, place the popup on your website or send out a direct link on social media, and easily recruit participants for your user interviews or usability tests.

Here at MailChimp, we’re a little wary of popups.  We don’t want to interrupt your workflow with usability testing recruiting, so we don’t want to put popups in the MailChimp interface. The best way we found to use Ethnio is to add recruiting popups in related help documents. That way we know our user is engaged, and we know they’re thinking about features or topics that are relevant to our test. They may even be struggling with the feature we’re studying, and can provide great feedback for us.

We recently talked with some users about subscriber activity, and we added the Ethnio screener to the following Knowledge Base articles while we were recruiting (the screener isn’t currently active):

Whenever someone would visit those articles during the recruiting phase, they’d get a note from us asking for their help.

Again, we know popups can be annoying, so we always offer a MailChimp hat or shirt on the first line of the screener.

Our Ethnio Screener


Ethnio has their cookies set so our users only ever see the popup once, even if we have the screener on multiple KB articles.

The longest we’ve kept a screener active was half a day, and that usually gets us about 8-10 test participants. At that level, we’re on Ethnio’s free plan. Free recruiting done in half a day? We love you, Ethnio.