UX project logistics: choosing the right vendors for project success

June 25, 2018

When we start planning UX projects for our clients, one of the main things that we keep in mind is that one size does NOT fit all. Every client has different needs due to method, target user population, stimuli, or even personal preferences for where the research should take place. Because of these factors, we carefully think through the best logistical approach for every engagement.

Test lab flexibility

One thing we always keep in mind is to be flexible and think outside the box. While we prefer to use traditional labs that we’ve already vetted for UX research, we recently proposed a project in which a traditional UX studio might not be the ideal place to conduct the fieldwork. Instead, we decided to conduct fieldwork at a hotel because the room and amenities offered more closely aligned with the chosen methodology (the rates were also a better match for our client’s budget). Having tested in many hotels around the globe, we knew we could prepare for the challenges that may arise in that environment, so we were comfortable with that approach.

Responsive vendors

Another consideration is that the lowest-priced vendor is not always the preferred choice. We recently drafted an automotive project plan that required working with a vendor that rents out very specific vehicles with even more specific trim packages (not cars that you can easily find by calling up your local car rental agency). We contacted a few potential vendors – one of them called me immediately to discuss the details of what we needed… another didn’t reply to my email until a week later. At that point, we were ready to go with the vendor that was responsive and eager, even if they didn’t have the lowest bid. We were more comfortable knowing that this vendor was more likely to quickly resolve any potential issues to ensure a smooth project for our client.

Participant access

Finally, one of the most important vendor choices to make when setting up a UX study is who to trust to recruit study participants. The right choice of recruiter can be the difference between a successful and a not-so-successful study. Our team has years of experience working with several recruiters across the US and around the world, and in that time, we’ve come to learn that the best recruiter for finding Type 2 Diabetes patients may not be the best recruiter for finding consumers that use their mobile device to pay for gas at the pump (both of which are populations with whom I’ve done work).

In addition to relying on past experiences with recruiters, study parameters have to be considered, including time line (filling a recruit in one week vs. three weeks), sample size (n=12 is very different than n=72), and even client requirements (some clients have vendors they prefer we use). All of these factors are taken into consideration when we decide what recruiter we’re going to use for any given project.

With thousands of proposals under our belts, we always keep these things in mind (as well as some other project planning tips and tricks) to provide the best experience for our clients and participants. Just as the research stimuli and participant sample change from project to project, so should the logistical approach be flexible and adapt to fit the needs of the client. Knowing what to look for in a vendor is one way we deliver seamless, successful projects.