Recruiting Participants for your test can be daunting. Don't worry though; we're here to help!
This article aims to help you get the most from your recruitment with some considerations, and some top tips, based on years of experience in recruiting tailored audiences.
There are some areas to consider before getting started. Ask yourself the following;
Are we testing internally with stakeholders or looking for validation from people outside the studio?
If you're testing with people from your company, then simply set-up your test & share the invite link in whatever methods work best for you.
Anyone participating will be taking on a guided journey to contribute feedback.
If you're testing externally, then below are some of the key questions to consider.
Do we have a community we can contact?
Perhaps you have a Discord community or a mailing list of interested Participants?
This could potentially save you a lot of time in finding the right audience!
If you don't have an established community, do you have a method of advertising for playtesting?
How would we reach out to the community regarding our test?
Depending on the community setup, you could announce the test on Discord or through your mailing list.
Perhaps you have a community manager that could assist here?
How can we ensure good feedback from our Participants?
Our platform will guide the Participants through providing excellent feedback in general, but you may have specific requirements for how they provide their feedback.
For example, you may want them to focus on verbally commenting on a particular area or region in your game.
How will we reward the Participants for their time?
Usually, this takes the form of in-game currency or perhaps a key for a title.
Depending on your setup, you may want to consider a financial reward.
These factors, once addressed, should put you in a great position to start recruiting, potentially by creating advertisements or inviting your community into the playtest. Here are our top tips for getting the best Participants involved in your test!
With each playtest you will want to recruit Participants that fit the right profile for gathering the insight needed.
Some potential considerations here are the location of your Participants, their age, and the games or genres they may be interested in.
You may want to expand your core audience, so it's worth considering less stringent qualification characteristics; for example, instead of loving the genre, you may want to expand to liking/loving or increasing the age range you are targeting.
Think about what information you want to gain from the playtest and which demographic of Participants will be best to provide this information for you.
New vs Experienced Participants
Depending on the objective of your test, you may want to consider Participant experience level.
For example, a Usability test (the initial impression of your title) will produce a much more relevant dataset with an audience who have never played your title before (in any previous testing) and is typically used to assess the basic understanding of your title.
On the contrary, a Progression test (longer periods, multiple sessions) would benefit from Participants who have more experience with your title or the genre, as they'll have the insight required to give constructive feedback on the core loop and longer play of your game.
Consider the insight you want to gain from your playtest and which demographic of Participants will be best to provide this for you.
Communicating with your Participants
We recommend being as clear as possible with Participants about what is required of them and explaining everything step-by-step as needed. The clearer your instruction, the more successful the test will be.
Our Special instruction and Task facilities will help with this, so make good use of them!
Think about when you should let your Participants know about upcoming tests. Too soon and they will lose interest in the playtest; too late and you will likely encounter scheduling conflicts.
Be as clear as possible in your language, avoid technical terms or in-game language that they may not have encountered, and describe objectives, appearances and other areas as needed.
Third-party Recruitment of Participants
By relying on a Recruitment agency to gather your Participants, you can have a much more hands-off approach, as most will handle most if not all communications with Participants.
Most agencies have a specific setup for audience demographics, so we recommend conversing with them before diving in, this is to ensure your goals are aligned and you end up with the right audience.
They will also have their own timescales for recruitment, so forward-planning of tests is a must.
Consider what the Participant is giving you. They're dedicating time, effort and thought to your test. We recommend rewarding them appropriately for this.
Depending on the audience, the Participant's goodwill and excitement for your title can be crucial. If you're recruiting from your own community, there will already be a high level of investment, whereas an inexperienced audience won't have as much buy in. This can affect any compensation you provide them and in what format you do so.
Third Party recruitment agencies tend to take care of rewarding Participants themselves, taking another concern away entirely.
There we have it. Our best initial tips for recruiting. If you have any questions or would like to chat with someone, feel free to reach out to us via the chat function at the bottom right of this page or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Luck with finding your Participants!