RE: Payment for Testing for participants?

26 Oct 2004 - 3:18pm
9 years ago
8 replies
564 reads
Wendy Fischer
2004

How much would one expect to pay a user (it would be a developer) for a two hour usability test? I am thinking $75-$100 after looking at Craigslist.

-Wendy

Comments

26 Oct 2004 - 3:24pm
Ockler, Sarah
2004

We paid $75 for 1 hour - 2 seems like a long time for a usability test.
I've found that most focus groups pay in the $75-100 range for 1 hour.

-----Original Message-----
How much would one expect to pay a user (it would be a developer) for a
two hour usability test? I am thinking $75-$100 after looking at
Craigslist.

26 Oct 2004 - 3:34pm
Marko Hurst
2004

Wendy Asked...
How much would one expect to pay a user (it would be a developer) for a two hour usability test? I am thinking $75-$100 after looking at Craigslist.

For most agencies/companies that has always seemed to be the magic numbers. But, depending on your user group that may change. We recently tested medical software and paid $200 per participant, because they earned much more than the average and were a highly specialized group of people.

On the flip side when we've tested clients employees, internal users, and they received a week of free lunch at the cafeteria, Amazon gift certificate, company t-shirt & hat, etc.

The exception is US government employees. They can not receive any form of compensation for internal testing.

Ciou,

Marko

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26 Oct 2004 - 5:56pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 04:18 PM 10/26/2004, Wendy Fischer wrote:
>How much would one expect to pay a user (it would be a developer) for a
>two hour usability test? I am thinking $75-$100 after looking at Craigslist.

It's going to depend very much on the nature of the study. We just
conducted a study where we paid participants as much as $1,840 for 3 hours
to shop for electronics (including a laptop computer) which they got to
keep. The data we got on how people shop online was worth every penny. (For
those doing the math, the total project's remuneration budget was slight
more than $95,000.)

Of course, I don't think anyone else has had a project that has even come
close to the scale of that one. Yours probably isn't so intense.

Some things to think about:

1) What will get their attention? You need a number large enough that
potential candidates will take you seriously. (For some, $5 is enough. For
others, it needs to be in the hundreds. Microsoft gives away free software
-- no cash.)

2) How will you ensure they aren't coming *just* for the money. You don't
want people who sign up and tell you anything you want to hear, just so
they get paid. So, you need to balance the size of the remuneration (and
the methods for recruiting) to accomodate this.

3) What's your total budget? You don't want to limit your testing because
you've chosen a per-participant remuneration amount that's too high. You
also don't want to limit your analysis time this way.

Developers are hard, because they have to take time off of work or give up
their limited "free time" to take a test. You'll want enough money to
convince them you're very interested in them (and you're not going to try
to sell them a timeshare).

Hope this helps,

Jared

p.s. Funny story: in the study I mentioned above, we had a several
participants cancel at the last minute because someone (often a spouse)
convinced them that receiving $1,840 was too good to be true and it must
have been some sort of scam. Too much money has its downside.

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

26 Oct 2004 - 6:01pm
Daniel Harvey
2004

I wanna be one of Jared's test subjects. :)

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com]On Behalf Of Jared M. Spool
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 6:56 PM
To: Wendy Fischer;
discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] RE: Payment for Testing for participants?

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

At 04:18 PM 10/26/2004, Wendy Fischer wrote:
>How much would one expect to pay a user (it would be a developer) for a
>two hour usability test? I am thinking $75-$100 after looking at Craigslist.

It's going to depend very much on the nature of the study. We just
conducted a study where we paid participants as much as $1,840 for 3 hours
to shop for electronics (including a laptop computer) which they got to
keep. The data we got on how people shop online was worth every penny. (For
those doing the math, the total project's remuneration budget was slight
more than $95,000.)

26 Oct 2004 - 7:35pm
Wendy Fischer
2004

$95,000 is quite out of my budget range. I think that you are at the higher end of pricing in an ideal world.

However, for most of us, reality rears its ugly head. It reared its ugly head this afternoon.

I was trying to keep the budget around $5000-$10,000 and then just got told my budget's about $0 but we might be able to swing $50 for 6 people. An SVP was offering to recruit people because he knows a lot of people in the Valley. I think I have some rubber balls with a company logo that light up and make noise from the last usability test.......:P

Hmm.....next I hire a 7 year old to create 100+ icons for a major product release......can anybody loan me some crayons and paper?

-Wendy Fischer

"Jared M. Spool" <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
At 04:18 PM 10/26/2004, Wendy Fischer wrote:
>How much would one expect to pay a user (it would be a developer) for a
>two hour usability test? I am thinking $75-$100 after looking at Craigslist.

It's going to depend very much on the nature of the study. We just
conducted a study where we paid participants as much as $1,840 for 3 hours
to shop for electronics (including a laptop computer) which they got to
keep. The data we got on how people shop online was worth every penny. (For
those doing the math, the total project's remuneration budget was slight
more than $95,000.)

Of course, I don't think anyone else has had a project that has even come
close to the scale of that one. Yours probably isn't so intense.

Some things to think about:

1) What will get their attention? You need a number large enough that
potential candidates will take you seriously. (For some, $5 is enough. For
others, it needs to be in the hundreds. Microsoft gives away free software
-- no cash.)

2) How will you ensure they aren't coming *just* for the money. You don't
want people who sign up and tell you anything you want to hear, just so
they get paid. So, you need to balance the size of the remuneration (and
the methods for recruiting) to accomodate this.

3) What's your total budget? You don't want to limit your testing because
you've chosen a per-participant remuneration amount that's too high. You
also don't want to limit your analysis time this way.

Developers are hard, because they have to take time off of work or give up
their limited "free time" to take a test. You'll want enough money to
convince them you're very interested in them (and you're not going to try
to sell them a timeshare).

Hope this helps,

Jared

p.s. Funny story: in the study I mentioned above, we had a several
participants cancel at the last minute because someone (often a spouse)
convinced them that receiving $1,840 was too good to be true and it must
have been some sort of scam. Too much money has its downside.

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

26 Oct 2004 - 7:41pm
Listera
2004

Wendy Fischer:

> Hmm.....next I hire a 7 year old to create 100+ icons for a major product
> release......can anybody loan me some crayons and paper?

<http://www.cs.washington.edu/ai/supple/>

Ziya
Nullius in Verba

26 Oct 2004 - 9:38pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 07:01 PM 10/26/2004, Daniel Harvey wrote:
>I wanna be one of Jared's test subjects. :)

http://www.uie.com/user.htm

(When we're giving away laptops, we make lots of friends. :) )

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

27 Oct 2004 - 8:53am
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 08:35 PM 10/26/2004, Wendy Fischer wrote:
>I was trying to keep the budget around $5000-$10,000 and then just got
>told my budget's about $0 but we might be able to swing $50 for 6 people.

(I'm assuming by "$50 for 6" you meant $50 for each of the 6, a total
budget of $300.)

This is a fine budget. If I understand who you're targeting, it will just
mean that your recruiter will need to work a little harder on "selling" the
test to your participants. What's in it for them? Do they get to see new
technology that could, someday, make their life easier? Do they get to give
input on solving a problem that frustrates them? Will they get to learn
something about developing usable apps by watching you do this? (We've used
this as a benefit often to developers and it works.) Like everything else
in the usability process, we've found we're most successful when we
understand the real benefits to each of the players.

While we do have these wacky tests where we pay outrageous amounts of
money, most of the testing we've done over the years hasn't focused on the
money. It's focused on the other less-tangible reasons that people might
want to give us a few hours of their time.

Remember, usability testing can be fun for participants. We always try to
play that up with candidates.

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal
User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d
Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123
jspool at uie.com
http://www.uie.com

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