Crafting great questions is the key to gathering useful insights.

Great questions will yield meaningful results. When participants do not receive proper guidance, we cannot expect them to innately know what your expectations are.

Here are a few tips:

Be concise

Long paragraphs of text can be distracting to the tester and there's a greater chance that they'll miss something. For reference, any task that's over 50 characters is most likely too long.

Be direct and don't assume

Clearly convey what you'd like participants to do. Don't assume that participants have any knowledge of the usability testing space. Unless you ask participants to provide feedback on specific things, don't assume that they'll inherently know what to do.

Remember: what you put in is what you'll get out. If you write great questions, you'll receive specific, actionable insights. However, if you write vague and poorly worded questions, you won't receive any meaningful insights.

Here's an example of a poorly written question and a well written question:

BAD: "Please review the website and provide feedback"

GOOD: "Please spend 3 minutes on the homepage, while speaking your thoughts aloud. What stands out to you? Does anything confuse you?"

If you ask them to 'generally explore' something, they may travel down the wrong flow. To avoid that, state the task at hand. For example, if you'd like to them to review a page, write "Please scroll up and down the page, comment on what you like, dislike or would improve. Don't click off the page just yet."

Use simple language

Instead of saying "Does this website feel cumbersome?" instead ask "Does this website feel difficult to use?".

Include one to two questions per prompt

It's important to break up questions. If you ask too many questions in one prompt, it may be hard for participants to answer all of them. It's likely that they'll end up answer in the last question only since it's fresh in their mind.

Remind participants of any context

If you've written any context, it's displayed just before the participant starts recording their screen. Writing a long context can be challenging for participants to digest and they may end up forgetting it. It's helpful to remind participants of any contextual information throughout the study.

For example, if your context is "You're going on a vacation with friends and family. You want to find an Airbnb to rent that has 2 beds, and 2 baths in Topeka, Kansas. You would like a dine in kitchen and a self serve check in." It will be hard to remember the specifics of that later in the study, so make sure to remind them of their goal throughout the study.

Tell participants 'how long'

Asking a participant to freely review your website is a great way to receive unsolicited feedback. However, make sure to tell them how long to review. For example, say "Please spend 5 minutes reviewing the app." This way, participants know how deep they should go into reviewing.

Don't forget to note any guidelines! When participants are freely reviewing your website, they may go down a rabbit hole. Adding "Don't click off the homepage" can save participants from spending too much time on an irrelevant part of your website. "Please spend 5 minutes reviewing the website. Don't click off the homepage just yet."

Add Line Breaks / Formatting

If you're outlining a step by step process, use formatting and line breaks instead of writing a large unformatted paragraph.

Focus on what's important

Participants are paid for 15 minutes of their time. Focus on one or two objectives at a time. For example, if you're looking to test your products onboarding, don't add questions about marketing messaging in the same study.

When it comes to testing mobile apps, make sure you're only testing one at a time. While we don't limit the number of urls that you can add to a study, asking participants to download three apps in a 15 minute period won't provide deep, thoughtful insights.

Run a pilot

To prevent confusing questions and bugs in your test asset, launch your study with one participant.

After receiving the first participant, assess the results. If you'd like to replace the link, or improve question quality, edit the questions. Once you've made changes, you can add more participants to the same study.

If you plan to ask for personal information, ask for consent. You can do that in the screener questions. For example, if you'd like participants to log into a software with their real email, ask them a screener question.

"During this study you will have to provide personal information. Do you consent?"

  1. Yes, I consent to providing personal information (Qualify)
  2. No, I do not consent to providing personal information (Disqualify)

15 minutes

Design your studies to take about 15 minutes. Some participants may take longer, other may be quicker but 15 minutes is the goal. Just under 20 questions should do the trick!

Note: Don't expect participants to take the full 15 minutes if there aren't enough questions. There's only so much participants can talk about per prompt so ask away!

Remember participants are people and understanding how to take a study is a skill. Speaking your thoughts out loud for 15 minutes doesn't come naturally to everyone! Writing concise, direct and clear questions can help you get the most our of your studies.

If you're not sure how to get started, review these templates or reach out to our support team. Our support team will share more information on PlaybookUX plans that include an internal researcher crafting the study based on your objectives.

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