Orly Sibony speaks to the impact of a small UX research team

Small UX team? Do more with less - streamline tasks with Ethnio. Helping researchers focus on their core work.

It's a well-known anecdote for small UX research teams; you want to conduct impactful research studies for your organization, but you’re being held back by administrative tasks like recruiting, scheduling and the coordination of said research.

We spoke with Orly Sibony, Senior UX Researcher at Square, to understand her experience working within a small UX research team (1-6 members) at various companies, and how she has leveraged technology to conduct research that makes her invaluable to the business.

Building a Continuous Discovery Program

In cases where small UX research teams lack a dedicated research operations role, finding the right tools can help offload some of those logistical tasks to help researchers, you know, actually do research.

Orly already knew from her past experience as a UX researcher that one of the most time consuming tasks was recruiting high-quality participants. Upon joining a four-man team at NerdWallet, she needed to create an automated, always-on system to recruit participants that meet a specific criteria depending on the study – she found her solution in Ethnio’s Intercepts and email blasts:

”Ethnio’s Intercepts work in conjunction with email blasts, so I can do both email-based and intercept-based recruiting in one tool, with as many participants as possible.

”With intercepts, we can easily find participants while they are in-the-moment, exploring our site or product. This means we’re capturing participants while they have an attachment.

“Alternatively, we can pull possible participants from our user base, add them to Pool, and invite them to our study directly through Pool. Ethnio lets us do both types of recruiting on their platform, even for the same study, and it helps me keep everything organized.”

Ethnio’s Intercepts work in conjunction with email blasts, so I can do both email-based and intercept-based recruiting in one tool, with as many participants as possible.Orly SibonySenior UX Researcher, Square

Join hundreds of other UX researchersResearch teams of every size care about details for screening, scheduling, incentives, consent, and panel management. Learn more about how Ethnio can help manage those details.

Staying in Control with Pool

With intercepts funnelling the right kind of participants into her pool, Orly has peace of mind to focus on more pressing UX research tasks.

“What happens to all those invites, and all those intercept responses? They go into my Pool, which reduces steps and stress in managing potential participants and communication. Sending email blasts directly from our Pool of potential participants saves time and extra steps. Just this feature alone has dramatically freed up my time for all my other research tasks.”

Orly was able to create her initial participant Pool in Ethnio by uploading an existing CSV list. From there, Ethnio intuitively processes the participant information so she can easily filter and organize her database as she wishes.

“I can filter both existing customers and users, and new potential participants that my intercepts have captured. From there, I can easily select all the people I want to email. Within the same tool, I can craft and send my email to those selected, and start seeing responses flow into the platform in real-time; so much faster, simpler, and makes my inbox less cluttered.”

We’ve had hundreds of conversations with UX researchers like Orly who cite participant management as a challenge. Typically, they rely on a hodgepodge of spreadsheet tabs, Microsoft Forms, Google sheets and Google docs to manage their different participant cohorts. There isn’t a single destination, or source of truth, to manage their participants easily and effectively.

Orly admits, “Before Ethnio, I used to copy and paste email addresses from our potential participant database into separate emails. Then I learned about mail merge! However, that was still a long process when compared to the ease of email blasts in Pool.Within the same tool, I can craft and send my email to those selected, and start seeing responses flow into the platform in real-time; so much faster, simpler, and makes my inbox less cluttered.Orly SibonySenior UX Researcher, Square

Measure Twice, Cut Once

If you belong to a small UX research team, you’ll know that prioritization is key. It can seem like you’re expected to do all the things, while still delivering on UX research studies that improve the business.

Speaking with Orly, she explained the importance of using data to be more efficient and save time. When time is of the essence, it’s important to make informed strategic decisions, rather than waste time on things that do not work.

“Ethnio’s email metrics and insights taught me how to improve my recruiting tactics. I used to wonder if people were even reading my recruiting emails, and would devote too much time to perfecting a catchy subject line and email content. With Ethnio’s metrics, I know if people are reading, unsubscribing, or not even getting my emails at all. Then I easily tweak subject lines or email content for my next batch of emails to see what elicits more responses.

“My team now devotes more time to perfecting our research questions rather than our recruiting emails, which has ultimately given us better and more relevant research.

“Additionally, the identify verification features save time getting the ‘right’ participants. UX researchers are often looking for a particular profile for each study and want to make sure the respondents are real people. Glancing through a potential participant’s online persona (e.g., social media accounts, articles, or even public comments left on forums) helps us feel more confident that the participants fit the profile we’re looking for. Ethnio saves us at least a couple of hours per study by automatically retrieving social contact information for my Responses.

Reduced Stress With Automated Scheduling and Reminders

A great automated scheduling tool not only saves time, but reduces the anxiety and mental load around a study. 

“Like everyone else, we’ve used various automated scheduling tools over the years. Ethnio’s tool is hassle free; it feels like “set it and forget it.” Once I define my study schedule, I can have several people choose their time slot and receive an automatic confirmation. I don’t even have to remind them beforehand, that’s done automatically too!

“Alternatively, if we need to be picky, I can add rules to my scheduling, and confirm participants manually. It’s nice to have so many options, while knowing I can keep things as simple and automated as I like. Ethnio gives us that choice.

The Wider Impact

Recruiting participants and managing all aspects of scheduling and communications can be an exhausting process. Using Ethnio means my small team has more time and energy to devote to producing and evangelizing more high-quality results in the long run. Additionally, I’ve also been able to use this time to train colleagues in other teams on user research methods, and they’ve been taking the initiative on smaller research projects—a win for all of us! 

Scale your small UX research team with Ethnio

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