Diversity and Inclusion in screening

Learn about diversity and inclusion in screening. There is no perfect science to D&I, but by admitting we can do better and leaning into our strength of empathy, we have an opportunity to create for ourselves, our clients, and our respondents an experience that aligns with our highest principles and mirrors the world we want to live in.


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Why it matters

"If Diversity is being invited to the party and Inclusion is being asked to dance, then Belonging is being able to reveal that you can’t dance - and still be included." - Ludmila N. Praslova, Ph.D. SHRM-SCP

  • It matters now more than ever!
    • Consumers, especially those in marginalized communities, are aware and extremely motivated to support inclusive brands.
    • UX panels trend younger.
    • Millennials and Gen Z wield the power of social media and cancel culture.
  • Screening is where research engagement begins.
    • It gives the first impression of your brand/product.
    • Screening participants know if it is a “safe space” to present authentically.
  • Determining your sample and screening criteria:
    • Moderated: More strategic sampling to capitalize on time investment of each session
    • Unmoderated: Often, your sample should be broad, especially when the research objective is usability-centered as the gold standard for digital experiences should be usable for everyone.
  • Data supports the notion that customers who feel recognized and respected are more loyal and responsive to the brands that connect with them as a whole person.



How to do it

Expand race/ethnicity options allowing participants to find a place where they BELONG.

  • Smaller sample sizes in qualitative research won’t align with census data.
  • Recruit for a balanced mix of race/ethnicity to make sure all are represented.
  • When cultural elements are impactful, consider a sample size that allows for a true representation of each demographic.
    • Prioritize 2-3 quotas
    • A balanced mix does not require oversampling but should also not have one person representing an entire population, N = 10
      • 2 African American
      • 2 Hispanic/Latino
      • 2 Asian/Pacific Islander
      • 2 Caucasian
      • 2 Mixed or other ethnicities
Industry Standard for Race/Ethnicity Inclusive Approach for Race/Ethnicity
  • White
  • Black/African American
  • Asian
  • Hispanic/Latino or Spanish Origin
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Other
  • Asian/Indian/Indian American/Desi
  • Black/African/African American or Afro-Caribbean
  • Caucasian/White
  • Hispanic, Chicano, Latino, or Spanish Origin
  • Indigenous/Native American/Alaska Native
  • Middle Eastern or North African
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • Mixed Ethnicity
  • Another race, ethnicity, or Origin (Open-Ended Comment Box)
  • Prefer not to say



When to do it

  • African American hair care research.
  • Prioritize 2-3 criteria that directly impact research goals/objectives:
  • 1st: Ethnicity
  • 2nd: Region
  • 3rd: Price point


When not to do it

During checkout when purchasing from a website. Users experience checkout usability similarly.



When to consider skipping the race/ethnicity question

  • Identify when usage/purchase behaviors may be impacted by data points other than race/ethnicity.
  • If research doesn't call for segmentation and/or cultural perspectives that won’t impact the data, you can skip asking for this information.
  • Respondents notice and conclude when their race/ethnicity is not related to the study topic.
  • People of color are fatigued by the question. For example:
    • During checkout when purchasing from a website.
    • Users experience checkout usability similarly.
  • Since a small sample size (N=8) is sufficient for finding 80% of usability issues it doesn't meet equity needs to over-screen for demos.
  • For more information on Sample Size, check out the Recruit Your Participants: UserZoom course in the UserTesting University.



Things to remember

Humans are not easily categorized. Being forced to check a box from a list that doesn’t fully encompass their identity or include all demographics can feel like erasure. It's hard to get someone to open up, speak honestly, and help a company that doesn’t see them.

  • Our work is about people. We must lead by example and put humanity first.
  • Engagement begins with an acknowledgment of who they are and makes them feel seen and safe.
  • Our goal is to uncover motivations, delights, and the pain points that challenge them. To accomplish this discovery, begin with the participant at the center.
  • As the demographics of our nation continue to evolve, make a commitment to lead with inclusive practices and revisit those practices often.
  • Don't be afraid to expand your ethnic and gender lists (but execute them thoughtfully and sparingly)!
  • The worst that can happen is your participant will arrive for the research with a feeling that your company actually gets it and that they matter to you.


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