Product Insight: Find the Right Participants

Panel Overview

The UserTesting panel is a diverse and global on-demand group of people who take tests. The panel is made up of real people, carefully selected after a thorough application process, who are continually rated by our customers, assuring the highest quality results. There are several ways to find the right participants to answer your Quick Answer test or join a Live Conversation.

Select the Number of Participants

This is set to five unless you’ve purchased the Participant Pack, in which case you can choose between 5 and 15 participants for each Quick Answer. If you’ve purchased the Participant Pack, we also recommend the number of participants for each Quick Answer. For “Discover needs and frustrations” we recommend five participants as the default.


Device Selection

You also need to decide which device you want the participants to use:

  • Computer
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet

Unless you need participants to use a specific device, select Computer. The larger screen makes taking the test easier for participants.

If you want to test an app, or how easy it is to use your site on a mobile device, then select smartphone or tablet.

Demographic Filters

Demographic filters let you narrow the list of potential participants by selecting characteristics and behaviors such as age, location, and gender. Only people who match all of the requirements you set can provide feedback.

Each requirement reduces the number of available panelists, so only use filters that are important for your test. For example, if gender doesn’t impact your test, don’t use it as a filter.

To see how this works, let’s use the Age filter to narrow the list of potential participants.

Drag the slider to set the age range for participants. For example, as of 2020:

  • Millennials are roughly age 25-40
  • Gen X is roughly 40-55
  • Boomers are roughly 55+


If you want to target generation boundaries exactly, use a screener to ask the tester’s specific birth year.


Because demographic filters are used to pre-screen participants, they’re the fastest and most convenient way to target a potential participant. If you need tighter control, or if you have a requirement that’s more specific than filters allow, use screener questions.


Using Screener Questions

Screener questions are multiple-choice questions participants must answer correctly before they can take the test.



This is an optional feature you can select if the demographic filters above do not cover your requirements. To refine participant selection with screener questions, do any of the following:

    • To add a screener question you saved from a previous test, click Saved Screener Questions on the right. If you haven’t saved any screener questions yet, this is empty.
    • To create a screener question, click the Screener Question button on the right.
    • To add more screener questions, click the Screener Question button or the “Add another screener question” link below the last screener question. The number of screener questions you can use is determined by the UserTesting plan you purchased.

      Note: After you create a screener question, you can click the “Add to saved screener,” “Duplicate,” or “Delete” links. To reorder screener questions, drag the question to where you want it.
    • To preview any screener questions, click Preview Screener.


Click Done at the bottom right of the screen to move to the next step.


A common type of screener question to narrow the list of potential participants focuses on expertise or experience. It's important to be clear what you mean with experienced users: domain knowledge, product knowledge, recency, and technical knowledge.


Domain  Knowledge

Are you looking for subject matter experts or people who do an activity frequently? People who have been in a field for a while have specific education or experience. This type of knowledge is important when evaluating content.



When you travel, who typically books the flights?

  • I book the flights
  • Someone else books the flights for me
  • I book the flights with help from someone else
  • None of the above

How often do you typically buy something online?

  • Once a week
  • One to three times a month
  • Once or twice a year
  • Less than once a year
  • I don't shop online
  • I don't know


Product Knowledge

Are you looking for new or returning users to your site or app? Customers who use your product spend time learning where to find things and how to use the interface. This can positively or negatively impact test results. Recruiting people with prior knowledge is important when evaluating current systems and making sure new design changes don't negatively affect current users. It’s just as important to recruit people who have never used your product when testing the first-time user experience (FTUE).



Which of these store apps have you used in the past week?

  • Target
  • Sears
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Amazon
  • None of the above

Which brand of dish soap do you use?

  • Dawn
  • Ivory
  • Method
  • Mrs. Meyers
  • I don’t know
  • None of the above



Sometimes you’re not looking for experts in an activity, but you do want people who recently experienced that activity, such as “buying tickets online.” This is especially helpful when you’re trying to learn what is and isn’t working well for them or if you have a new solution for that activity.



Which of the following situations most closely matches your current status?

  • I am actively searching for a university to which to apply.
  • I have thought about attending a university, but I have not started to search.
  • I have finished searching for universities, and I know which one I want to apply to or have already applied to.
  • I am not planning to enroll in a university right now.
  • Other

Which of the following activities have you done in the past month? Select all that apply.

  • Signed up for direct deposit
  • Ordered groceries online
  • Watched a movie on Netflix
  • Roasted my own coffee beans
  • None of the above


Technical Knowledge

Experience with technology in general affects how people use your product. Whether or not you want to include tech-savvy participants depends on your product and target customers.

You can specify how tech-savvy someone is using demographic filters. You can also include the following recommended screener question if this information is important.




When you have a technical computer question, how do you ask for help?

  • I ask a friend or relative
  • I search online
  • I have an online forum or website where I ask questions
  • I call a local computer store (such as Best Buy)
  • None of the above


For more help creating screener questions, see:
Using Screener Questions to find your ideal participants
Managing screeners
Screener question best practices


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