Using the best research ops tools for small teams

For a small UX research team at a fast-paced company, what tools make the biggest difference?

When UX research teams are small enough to not have a dedicated research operations role, the researchers have to juggle recruiting, scheduling and coordinating all of the research. Finding the right tools can help offload some of those logistic to help researchers, you know, actually do research. Ethnio takes a lot of the operational aspects of UX research and turns them into a platform. For a small team at a fast-paced company, this makes a world of difference. What’s worked so well for my small team?

Double Trouble

Ethnio takes a lot of the operational aspects of UX research and turns them into a platform – great for a small team at a fast-paced company.Orly SibonySenior UX Researcher, SquareEthnio’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’re exploring our site and have 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 helps me keep everything organized.

They All Dive into the Pool

What happens to all those invites, and all those intercept responses? They go into Ethnio’s 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. Before Ethnio, I used to copy and paste email addresses from our potential participant database into separate emails. Then I learned about mail merge, don’t worry! However, that was still a long process when compared to the ease of email blasts in Pool.

Creating a database requires uploading a CSV of people into Pool that I want to reach out to. From there, I can filter and organize the database as I wish, and easily select all the people I want to email. Within the same tool, I can craft and send my email to everyone I selected, and start seeing responses flow into the platform; so much faster and less complicated, and makes my inbox less cluttered. 

The Outcome

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 perfecting the email itself, too). 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, identify verification features saves time getting the ‘right’ participants. I admit, I’ve gotten very good at online stalking. 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! 

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