Design & UX
By Lisa Herrod

Twitter Recruiting Members for User Testing

By Lisa Herrod

Like it or hate it, Twitter has caused a stir in the online social networking space.

In a nut shell, Twitter allows users to pump out infinite amounts of (usually) ego-driven noise to the intarweb with a multitude of widgets, mashups and plugins that make it even easier to do. Take a look at Twitterific for the Mac or Twitterlicious for Windows – two apps that do just that.

Now one of the things that intrigues me about the deluge of 2.0 apps and sites is the notion of the perpetual beta, “a term used to describe software or a system which never leaves the development stage of beta”. To me this is a perfect example of informal user testing, where the design team of an app are able to harvest the feedback of users directly from the app, or via feedback mechanisms on the site.


Interestingly, Twitter has just announced that they are recruiting users who have been a member for two months or more to participate in some user testing.

You can help us improve Twitter by participating in a user test. Your feedback will directly inform the design of future features.

But before you get too excited and fire off an email to participate (like I did :|), “you must be able to provide your own transportation to [their] offices in San Francisco, CA”. You must also:

  • have used Twitter for at least 2 months
  • be over 18 years old
  • have never worked for a competitor to Twitter

So if you’re interested in experiencing some user testing from a user perspective and live in San Francisco (or are prepared to fly yourself over there) you could well be 50 bucks richer by the end of the month!

  • haidoura

    you know this is a very great opportunity,
    but for us as a programmers we prefer if we can have multiple remote tasks that can be done from behind our pc.
    i hope in the coming future we can see some posts here for such links..

    good post Lisa .

  • Lisa Herrod

    thanks Haidoura ;)

    Yes I do agree with you, it would be great to be able to participate remotely in user testing sessions for apps that have such a strong global presence.

    Though having said that, as a usability consultant, I much prefer to work directly with the participants. I think you can get a much greater depth of understanding by actually talking to some one as opposed to studying statistical data. But again, these two methods provide very different information. And in all honesty, if I had the chance to fly about around the world conducting interviews, I’d choose that over sitting at a desk crunching analytics :)

  • I’d put it a little more strongly:

    For an application with global reach, is it not a little short-sighted to conduct user-testing only in one part of one country? Isn’t there inevitably going to be a huge interest bias in favour of the culture and useage patterns of participants who live in northern california?

  • @brothercake: Couldn’t that be said for any web application? To be fair, conducting face-to-face user testing in every country for which there are users is likely to be a little cost prohibitive, I would have thought …

  • I think brothercakes argument is for the remote testing, not on-site :)

  • Lisa Herrod

    Hey listen, let it be known, if any one wants to fly me around the world running user testing sessions, I’m sure I could find some time ;)

  • Anonymous

    The correct use of the Latin is e.g., (with the comma) not i.e.

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