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Knowledge, Good question Reading Time 4 min | 27.01.2020

Motivation: Good Preparation is Half the Battle

In the first part of our blog series, we asked ourselves why motivation is so important in UX testing. Today, we will identify the possibilities in the test preparation phase to lay a foundation for motivation.

by Usetree Redaktion

Knowledge of the following strategies help us to do this, they increase both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. It is precisely these strategies that we should use purposefully.

Strengthening Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation can be strengthened in various ways. We have compiled the most important means here:

Recruit Transparently and Create Trust

It is important to be transparent from the first moment of recruitment. In the recruitment advertisement specify the client, the aim and purpose of the study, as well as a rough outline of the schedule. Be transparent about how the data collected will be handled. Lastly, appoint a contact person for questions and queries.

Contributing to Something Larger

If participants feel that their work is contributing to something larger, they are more likely to make an effort. Therefore, you should make the benefits of the study as transparent as you can and address participants as individually as possible.

Testing Etiquette

Treat all participants with respect – like important, valued guests, not like anonymous test subjects. Emphasise the value and importance of each individual’s contribution. When participants feel their opinion has an impact, they are more likely to attend the test and work harder to answer the questions.

NDAs, Audio and Video

Communicate, in advance, what is required of the test persons. Give them enough time to read through all the documents. Communicate clearly why NDAs and any audio and video recordings are necessary, and their purpose. Sometimes, people feel uncomfortable when they know they are being recorded on video – this can also affect the participant´s motivation. Discomfort can be avoided by explaining exactly what the recordings will be used for.

Using Extrinsic Motivators

Source: Unsplash

Another factor that can be a strong influence is the extrinsic motivation of participants. One approach is the way you address your participants: by attributing positive labels you ascribe certain characteristics. Perhaps the most important instrument available is compensation for participation, usually in the form of incentives.

Award Positive Labels

By addressing people in a specific way, certain expectations you can be triggered. For example in recruitment, if you tell potential participants that they belong to a particularly reliable or conscientious group who are very likely to participate, it will increase the response rate. This is because people usually want to live up to the image you have of them. The underlying phenomenon is called cognitive dissonance: if you identify yourself with a particularly reliable group, you will fulfil this positive characteristic.


Incentives strengthen the social construct of the reciprocity principle, for example, if you give something to someone, the person feels obliged to give something back. The right measure is crucial here: incentives in form of money, non-cash prizes or vouchers should not be too high, otherwise, there is a risk that people will only participate because of the incentive and have no interest in the content of the study. If incentives, on the other hand, are set too low, they do not provide sufficient appreciation of the efforts made and consequently do not provide the motivation to encourage and maintain commitment.

Choosing the Right Recruitment Support

If you are working with an external partner for recruitment, pay attention to the quality and not exclusively the price. Some recruitment firms manage their participant pool poorly – of course, this quality management is associated with additional costs. Find out, for example, about the incentives that motivate participants to provide truthful information. After all, a fair incentive for participants provided by the recruitment firms is also important.

Staying on Top of Things

The organisation of a research project consists of 1001 small things, which in total, can have a considerable influence on participant´s willingness to contribute. There is a lot to organise in the run-up to a test. A clear plan, which contains buffer time for last minute changes, will help you to maintain an overview. Here are the essential organisational points for a smooth procedure with relaxed participants:

  • If possible, choose an easily accessible location, a date outside holiday times and a convenient time of day that would ideally allow your participants to attend outside their regular working hours.
  • Plan the daily slots with enough buffer time for possible delays on part of the participants.
  • Test environment: reserve a quiet room, provide drinks and, for longer tests, a small snack.
  • Obtain the necessary equipment and remember to have disinfectant on hand for helmet cameras or other devices.
  • If you are testing outside, be prepared for the weather and provide shelter and sufficient drinks.

So, what´s next? In the next post, we will introduce you to the motivational measures that will help during the test. Stay tuned!

Image source: Unsplash