Inviting Participants for Usability Testing


  • Send the invitation at least 1 week, preferably 2 weeks, before the event. Send a confirmation within 1-2 days of the invitation.
  • Use a clear and direct subject line. Include the scope of the activity and the word “invite” or “invitation”.
  • Clearly state the goals and scope in 2-3 sentences. What service or application is being built and why? Optional: Include an image. Include a sample screen shot to help recipients quickly understand what’s being evaluated.
  • Include 2-3 sentences on what to expect. Describe the activity and mention whether feedback occurs within a group or one-on-one. Is the activity an online survey, phone interview, card sort, focus group, completing tasks on a prototype, etc.?
  • Provide the date, time, and duration of the session.
  • Provide the location: building and room number. Optional: include a map and parking information.
  • Include the name, email, and phone number of the person conducting the session. Participants may call for directions or to cancel at the last minute. Provide a phone number that can be conveniently answered by the test moderator just before the session begins.
  • Identify the department, unit, or project that is conducting the activity.
  • Explain how to RSVP or if it’s needed.
  • To reduce test anxiety in participants, refrain from using the word “test”. Instead, use “activity”, “event” or “session”. Refrain from calling participants “test subjects” to their face. Instead, use “participant” or “user”.

Sample Email Invitation Text

 Send the invitation at least 1 week, preferably 2 weeks, before the event.

Subject line: Invitation to a usability session for a Service Catalog prototype

On July 17 and 18, University IT will conduct card sort sessions so that we can better understand how to organize the information within a Service Catalog website. The Service Catalog website will provide a description, cost rate, and request form for each IT service offered by University IT so that people can order services easily. Participants in a card sort exercise will receive a deck of about 24 cards, each card printed with an element of the Service Catalog. Participants will organize the cards into categories that are meaningful to them if they wanted to order or cancel an IT service.

There are two sessions. Please indicate which session is convenient for you. If you have no preference, indicate that as well. Each session will last 1 hour.

  • Tuesday July 17 at 10:00am
  • Wednesday July 18 at 3:30pm

Both events will be held at Brighton Business Center, conference room 113. Parking is free. Snacks will be served. To sign up, contact [name], who will conduct these sessions, at [email address] or [phone number]. Anyone can participate in this session. No special IT expertise or web proficiency is required. The first 8 respondents will be selected.

Directions to the session location will be sent with your confirmation. We hope you choose to participate in our session!

Sample Email Closing the Invitation Process

Send a second email as soon as the schedule is confirmed, usually within 1 business day.

Subject line: Usability sessions filled – thank you!

The schedule for the [name of session] has been filled. Thank you!


[your name and signature]

Sample Email Reminder to Participants

Send 1 day prior to the event.

Subject line: Reminder — Usability session tomorrow [or date]

Dear [name of participant],

This is a reminder for your usability session on [date] at [time]. The session will be held at [location building and room number].

[Include parking or other logistics information]

If for any reason you wish to cancel this session, please reply to this message so that we can schedule an alternate.


[your name and signature]