Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings


The more I read about Amazon, the less I want to have anything to do with them, whether it is the working conditions of their staff or the selling government agencies AI solutions that are not proven to be fulling working yet.

This means that I have not used their site for the last three months and meant that I bought christmas presents from a variety of places, spreading the wealth about.

Fine for me to take a stand but receiving an Amazon gift card for Christmas got me thinking - when offering incentives for participants attending research - is a gift card really the best solution?

At Wiggle we offered Wiggle gift cards because we wanted to test with people who were interested in sports equipment and clothing so they would hopefully find a use for a gift card on our site. But I wonder if we ended up with participants who were fans and so maybe confirmed some peoples ideas of the expertise our customers had?

At Experience UX when we test with people we give them cash, they can then at least spend it on what they want, and means we do not have to find an incentive that is somehow related to the study we are running.

But I have read about quite a lot of people who offer an Amazon gift card as an incentive, which sounds good and at least gives the participant a massive range to spend it on, but does that then limit who we can test with?

Maybe they are like me and do not want to shop with Amazon any more. Maybe the cash would be more useful to them. Maybe they do not really shop online - that is not to say they should not be testing for you. There are still many important services online that they might need to use without having to shop there.

And maybe we need a few of these low tech users to test with. After all if they can get through the flow then users with more experience should have no problem.

The real question is: Are we creating barriers to designing the very best solutions without even realising it just because of the incentives we are offering? I think it is something we should all consider even if we decide we are happy how we are.

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