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December 29, 2020

So Long, 2020: Reflections on a Strange, Stressful, Successful Year at User Interviews

Before we move on to 2021 (and never look back), we’re taking time to celebrate the hard-earned accomplishments of our customers and team.

Erin May

Where to start? 

When we laid out our 2020 plans at User Interviews, it’s safe to say they didn’t include a “Plan B: Pandemic Response.” But that’s the plan the year called for, and the one we ended up running with. 

As we finally, most willingly, say goodbye to the year, we are grateful for our adaptable team and our amazing customers—who kept researching and caring about users through it all—for making this, ultimately, a hugely successful year despite the challenges. If you’re a User Interviews customer reading this: thank you. 

We wanted to celebrate what we accomplished together this year in our first ever annual wrap up. Here goes. 

So much research

Alt text: Rocket ship taking off. Total User Interviews projects launched stats comparing 2019 and 2020

When much of the country—especially urban centers where many of you work—went under lockdown, we didn’t know what to expect. Frankly, we were nervous.

Historically around 30% of your research has taken place in-person. We lost that 30% basically overnight. But you did what researchers do and adapted. You found new methods, new ways of working remote, and you did more research than ever. 

Astronaut on moon holding a red flag. Text with User Interviews average number of research sessions statistic.

The average active researcher recruited for 12.6 sessions each month that they were active on User Interviews! Year-over-year Recruit projects launched are up 54%, Research Hub projects launched are up 136%. Research sessions are up 59% and 82% respectively. Across moderated/unmoderated, our users (Recruit)/your own (Research Hub), the largest growth came from unmoderated sessions with your own users—up 202% from 2019. 

Control panel illustration with barometer and keypad. User Interviews data about research sessions in 2020.

We saw a rise in unmoderated research as a strong trend this year, as work/life schedules make synchronous work more challenging and unmoderated sometimes provided a faster path to insight. That said, moderated is the User Interviews researcher’s bread and butter format, representing 85% of all sessions recruited through UI this year. 

Stylized mountains and moon infographic with User Interviews data about UXR research sessions.

So much money for participants

While our primary goal at User Interviews is to help teams discover user insights quickly and easily, a great side effect of that mission is providing economic opportunity to hundreds of thousands of participants. This year researchers paid out over $2.3 million in Amazon Gift Cards distributed by User Interviews alone, and that doesn't count additional incentives researchers paid directly to participants. 

Open treasure chest illustration with statistic about Amazon gift card incentives distributed by UX researchers.

So much diversity; so much more work to do 

Diversity was on the forefront of many minds this year. More specifically, we saw a meaningful increase in the quantity and quality of conversations around inclusivity, racial justice, equity, the need to have fair representation in research to create better products. 

We have more work to do, always, at User Interviews to be the change we hope to see. At the same time, we’re proud to be able to offer access to a diverse panel that includes significant representation across gender, ethnicity, race, geography, education, socio economic status, and other demographic criteria, in addition to the specific behavioral and professional characteristics that may be important to your individual research. 

Pie chart made of different types of pie. Percentage of research participants by race/ethnicity.

If you’d like to learn more about how to screen for bias and ensure diverse representation in your recruiting funnel, please reach out to Tucker Hutchinson

So many integrations

In turns out we all spent entirely too much time on Zoom this year. Well, as they say, if you can’t beat them, integrate with them. 

We’re happy we could make research just a little more painless for you with the launch of our Zoom integration in October. So far, 276 teams are using it! 

Computer screen illustration on brown background. Statistic about User Interviews Zoom integration users.

We’ve offered integrations with Google and Microsoft calendars for years. Now we’re seeing more and more researchers sync their calendars to make scheduling sessions with participants fast and easy. In 2020, that meant 70,000 calendar events (aka research sessions) powered by these integrations. 

Stylized wall calendar and plant. Text about User Interviews calendar integrations.

So not sad to see you go, 2020

While we hope this year has been one of growth and learning for you, as it has been for us at User Interviews, we can’t pretend we aren’t very ready to put 2020 behind us.

As we move closer to a post-vaccine (and eventually, post-COVID) world, we look forward to continuing the important conversations this year encouraged us to have, and to continue doing everything we can to support your heroic efforts to bring user insights into your organizations to build better, more truly human-centered products. 

Special thanks to Tucker Hutchinson, Will Thurston, and Cyriac Cyriac for pulling together all the data, and to JoJo Lee for making it look great!

The best stories about user research

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Erin May

VP, Growth & Marketing

Left brained, right brained. Customer and user advocate. Writer and editor. Lifelong learner. Strong opinions, weakly held.

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