Phase 2: Gathering your users for testing 🎣

Once you have your intentions documented, you can translate that information to recruit testers.

Make a list of possible outreach channels where your community gathers, such as: your email list, Twitter followers, bug reports, related communities on Reddit or Discord, your website, or your forum. You could also attend relevant conferences or events related to OSS or your tool and perform user testing during the event.

Craft a screener (a short outreach message) that includes:

  • Who you are looking for, what kinds of ‘behaviours’ do you want from testers e.g. ‘We want people who use mobile banking daily’
  • How much time they need to commit
  • How they can contact you
  • When you expect to conduct testing

Example #1

Do you have 15 minutes and use [software]?

We’d like your help!

We are about to release a new version of [our tool/software] and want to hear from you. To help us understand your needs and how to improve [our tool/software], we’d like to hear about your experiences with the tool (whether you’ve used it for a long time or just recently started using it!).

We’re booking 15 minute conversations to better understand how to improve [our tool/software] for everyone. If you’re able to participate, please fill out this simple form [add a link to a form].

Example #2

Are you familiar with [topic to test]?

We want to talk to you.

I’m [tool team member name], part of the team at [our tool/software]. We are working on a new feature and we’d like your help to test it out. We’d like to speak with you for 10-20min and have you try it. Thank you!

If you are interested and able to help, send me an email: [tool team member email address].

More info:

Who can be a tester? People who use [tool/software] and/or are familiar with [particular technology].

What is [tool/software]? [One sentence about your tool/software]

Do I need to prepare? Nope! Come as you are.

Is it private? Of course. We will not be recording voice or video. We will be taking brief notes about what works and what doesn’t in the design so that we can make improvements. We will not share your identity with anyone.

Example #3

Hello everybody! Have you ever [activity/feature you are targeting]? If you want to help improve [tool/software], read on!

My colleagues and I at [tool/project] want to speak for 30 minutes with a few people who have [experience you want to target].

If you’re interested please fill out this short form: [add a link to a form]

It’s a good idea to filter your participants. Don’t accept all interested participants (that’s too much work!) or just the first people to respond (they might not match who you’re looking for). Your time is precious, find a few users who match your target audience the closest and try to get as many different types of users as possible See “Phase 1 - Who”. This could mean different types of use cases, people who are (un)familiar with the software, or various frequencies of use.

Once you find a candidate that fits what you’re looking for, send them a Calendly link (or similar booking tool). This makes the process easy from their perspective.

Example #1:

Hi [participant name],

You filled out our interest form “[name of form]”. Thank you so much for your interest in speaking to us. Please choose a time here: [link to a time/date picker]…

If you have any questions, please let me know. Looking forward to speaking with you.

Best, [your name]

Example #2:

Hi [participant name],

I’m [your name] from [tool/project]. Thank you for your interest in being a tester for [tool/software].

Could you please choose a time for our chat here: [link to a time/date picker]…

(If none of the times work for you, please let me know)

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best, [your name]

Unfortunately, this does not guarantee no-shows - that will happen from time to time. It could be helpful to send a reminder email a day before that confirms where and when you’re meeting.

Did you use the framework and examples in this page? Tell us about it on our GitHub discussions!

Move on to “Conducting a user test”