Crafting a user research e-mail... what to say?

10 Jul 2007 - 4:06pm
7 years ago
6 replies
526 reads
tdellaringa
2006

Hey all,

I've pushed hard enough to be able to reach out to some users of our web
sites. We can blast out an e-mail to the students to grab user interview
candidates. I need to write the e-mail, but I wanted to first ask if anyone
had anything like this laying around I could use as a reference. Also, any
best practices? Particularly with the subject, I'm sure students deal as
much with spam as any of us, if not more.

We are offering gift cards most likely (I don't know for what) for one hour
interviews, done over the phone where they are.

I assume a decent subject might be something like:

Help out AIU and receive a FREE gift card for your time!

Any tips are appreciated,

Thanks

Tom

Comments

10 Jul 2007 - 5:21pm
Katie Albers
2005

Hi Tom,

Probably most importantly, lots of spam filters are
set up to recognize "free" as a spam signal...so you
shouldn't use it in your subject line.

Speaking as a human, it sounds like a come-on. This is
one of the problems with soliciting participants by
e-mail...the bar is set pretty high for identifying
"honest" e-mail.

You might try a subject such as "Your opinions on the
AIU Web-site" or whatever...leaving out all references
in the subject line to "study" and "survey" and the
like.

Or use a trigger other than e-mail...offer visitors
the option to complete the survey from within the
site.

One thing I'd say, no matter how you choose to go
about it, is that you should be sure to provide plenty
of opportunities for free-form responses. There is
nothing more frustrating than taking the time to
respond to such a study and then finding out that the
one thing that consistently drives you insane isn't
included, or that your reason for X falls completely
outside all the provided options.
--- Tom Dell'Aringa <pixelmech at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hey all,
>
> I've pushed hard enough to be able to reach out to
> some users of our web
> sites. We can blast out an e-mail to the students to
> grab user interview
> candidates. I need to write the e-mail, but I wanted
> to first ask if anyone
> had anything like this laying around I could use as
> a reference. Also, any
> best practices? Particularly with the subject, I'm
> sure students deal as
> much with spam as any of us, if not more.
>
> We are offering gift cards most likely (I don't know
> for what) for one hour
> interviews, done over the phone where they are.
>
> I assume a decent subject might be something like:
>
> Help out AIU and receive a FREE gift card for your
> time!
>
> Any tips are appreciated,
>
> Thanks
>
> Tom
>
________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association
> (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............
> http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help ..................
> http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................
> http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>
>

____________________________________________________________________________________
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10 Jul 2007 - 8:46pm
bminihan
2007

We have found that providing a REALLY easy way to respond helps tremendously
with email invites. We give them clear, obvious options and a link or
button to select the one they want. Since we're global, most folks
appreciate not having to synchronize calendars with UK or US practitioners -
just pick a spot and respond.

The note below is a general template we use (off the top of my head). The
language will vary for your needs, but we try to tell people exactly what
we're doing and what we want.

On principle and by HR policy, we don't/can't offer gift cards or rewards
for our studies (taxable income), but I'm not so sure we would mention it
here, even if we did. I would rather not interview someone whose only
incentive for responding was a gift card, and I wouldn't want to drive away
someone who would have responded, but didn't like the gift we chose. It's
your call, but I see gifts as "thank yous" and not necessarily "please help"
messages.

Subject: You can help: We are upgrading XYZ web site, but need your help
to make it better! (Please respond by dd mmm yy)

Body:
In the next [3 months], we plan to [upgrade/improve/update] XYZ web
site/system, but need your thoughts on how to make it easier to use. If you
are interested, over the next [2 weeks] we will schedule a brief (no more
than 1 hour) phone interview to learn how you use XYZ, if there are any
problems with the site, and how it can be improved. [This is the what and
why - direct and get to the point]

Who: If you have visited XYZ in the past [6 months] [lets people know why
you contacted them]
When: Between dd mmm yy and dd mmm yy
How: A one-hour telephone conversation with a usability expert

If you are interested, please click a button next to your desired slot, or
respond to this email with your availability. We will follow up to schedule
or confirm your session within [a few hours/one day].

Dd mmm yy - 8am-9am - [button or link]
Dd mmm yy - 8am-9am - [button or link]
Dd mmm yy - 8am-9am - [button or link]
...

If you have any questions or concerns about this invitation, or if you would
like to be removed from our list, please respond to this email or call Bryan
Minihan at XXX-XXX-XXXX. [provide an "out" and more than just email as a
contact option, as some folks prefer calling over emailing].

We look forward to learning more about you, and improving XYZ to better meet
your needs!

Sincerely,

Bryan Minihan

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Tom
Dell'Aringa
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 5:07 PM
To: IxDA Discuss
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Crafting a user research e-mail... what to say?

Hey all,

I've pushed hard enough to be able to reach out to some users of our web
sites. We can blast out an e-mail to the students to grab user interview
candidates. I need to write the e-mail, but I wanted to first ask if anyone
had anything like this laying around I could use as a reference. Also, any
best practices? Particularly with the subject, I'm sure students deal as
much with spam as any of us, if not more.

We are offering gift cards most likely (I don't know for what) for one hour
interviews, done over the phone where they are.

I assume a decent subject might be something like:

Help out AIU and receive a FREE gift card for your time!

Any tips are appreciated,

Thanks

Tom
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
Questions .................. list at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

10 Jul 2007 - 9:39pm
bminihan
2007

I forgot to mention...don't forget to BCC your recipients, by all
means =]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18129

11 Jul 2007 - 8:06am
Todd Warfel
2003

Or use Survey Monkey to send it out...

On Jul 10, 2007, at 10:39 PM, Bryan Minihan wrote:

> I forgot to mention...don't forget to BCC your recipients, by all
> means =]

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

11 Jul 2007 - 8:25am
tdellaringa
2006

On 7/10/07, Katie Albers <katie_albers at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Probably most importantly, lots of spam filters are
> set up to recognize "free" as a spam signal...so you
> shouldn't use it in your subject line.

Ah, that makes sense. I was wondering about that.

Speaking as a human, it sounds like a come-on. This is
> one of the problems with soliciting participants by
> e-mail...the bar is set pretty high for identifying
> "honest" e-mail.

Agreed, I really have no choice, this is the only way we can work it.

One thing I'd say, no matter how you choose to go
> about it, is that you should be sure to provide plenty
> of opportunities for free-form responses. There is
> nothing more frustrating than taking the time to
> respond to such a study and then finding out that the
> one thing that consistently drives you insane isn't
> included, or that your reason for X falls completely
> outside all the provided options.

We are getting them to do one on one interviews, which I will conduct and
they will be open ended as much as possible. I also have a white paper with
data we want to either validate or debunk, so I'll be seeing if the opinions
match up or not.

Thanks!

Tom

11 Jul 2007 - 9:03am
Becubed
2004

In my experience, the most effective strategy for recruiting participants
is:

Offer an opportunity, don't ask for help.

As soon as you ask for help, people's spam/advert/telemarketing filters kick
in and your work becomes much harder. Offer an opportunity, on the other
hand, and you'll get their attention.

What's the opportunity? "To have a real impact on the design of a product"
-- either a product they currently use, or might like to use because it's
intended for people just like them.

--
Robert Barlow-Busch
Terapath Inc.
bbb at terapath.net
www.chopsticker.com

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