New Program Recruiting Volunteers for Usability Activities

University IT recently launched a Usability Recruitment Program to help developers quickly and effectively recruit participants for usability test sessions.

honeycomb of 7 facets of user experience
Seven facets of user experience
(Image credit: Peter Morville / Semantic Studios)

Usability testing measures the quality of users’ experience when interacting with a website or application. This can include evaluations of the prototype’s ease-of-use, navigation, design, and accessibility, which helps developers improve their websites or applications.

There are a number of usability testing methods. Participants may be asked to complete a series of tasks, which allows developers to observe how users interact with the prototype. For example, if asked to look up a professor’s phone number from the University homepage, one user may conduct a site search for the professor’s name while another user may go to the faculty/staff directory. These actions help the developer ensure information is easily found in ways that come naturally to users.

Other usability testing methods may ask participants to sort content into categories that are meaningful to them, or to subjectively evaluate their satisfaction with a website or application.

How to Volunteer for Usability Sessions

Faculty, staff, and students in any area of the University may volunteer to participate in usability sessions. To receive occasional invitations to future usability sessions, submit the recruitment form.

How to Invite Participants for Usability Sessions

Usability practitioners in any area of the University may recruit participants from the pool of volunteers, but must be added as an approved sender for the distribution lists first. To request use of the lists, contact the IT Help Desk at or (585) 275-2000.

Approved senders can email invitations to all volunteers or target volunteers by their role (student or faculty/staff) and/or by their affiliation (Medical Center or non-Medical Center). More details, including invitation templates and instructions, are available on the Quality Assurance website.