down arrow vs. User Interviews: A Detailed Look at Two User Research Recruitment Platforms

User Interviews vs Respondent: Comparing Two Participant Recruitment and Scheduling Platforms

Understand the key differences between two industry leaders before your next research recruitment.

Good insights—decision-driving, relevant, and timely insights—come from user or customer research. And good research starts with good recruitment—vetted, reliable, and simpler recruitment. User Interviews and Respondent are two leaders in this space. Both promise to empower teams to source, schedule, and pay research participants, without relying on third parties.

But there are important differences between User Interviews and Respondent to consider before making a purchase decision. This article breaks down and reviews those differences across the following categories:

  1. Panel Reach and Composition
  2. Pricing Model and Costs
  3. Incentive Processing
  4. Screening Processes
  5. Study Types and Integrations
  6. Scheduling Control
  7. Human Support Availability
Beige table comparing features of User Interviews to Respondent
Right-click and select "Open image in a New Tab" for a larger view.

Read on for a complete look at each of these participant recruitment and scheduling tools.

Participant panel reach and composition

User Interviews maintains over 4 million participants, and counting, in its proprietary panel (i.e., they’re not sourced from third parties). By directly sourcing participants, User Interviews maintains greater quality control, resulting in low instances of fraud (<0.3%) and strong session feedback (>98%) from customers.  

Respondent claims just over 3 million folks in its panel.

Both offer international recruitment in specific countries.

  • User Interviews: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States
  • Respondent: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States

Although both User Interviews and Respondent support recruitment of your own customers, only User Interviews maintains a purpose-built product for managing them: Research Hub. Research Hub is a complete suite of tools for creating, managing, and scaling a participant panel of your own customers or users. 

Respondent, on the other hand, does not currently offer any way to manage user or customer lists of your own.

Pricing model and recruitment costs

Both User Interviews and Respondent offer pay-as-you-go pricing and subscriptions. Neither charges for seats. Here is an overview of the up front costs of using each platform, accurate as of May, 2024:

User Interviews Pricing

  • Pay As You Go = $49/complete (B2C), $98/complete (B2B)
  • “Essential” subscription = $2460 (B2C) or $4920 (B2B) annually, includes 60 completes

User Interviews also offers custom subscriptions starting at 250 sessions.

Respondent Pricing

  • Pay As You Go = $39/complete (B2C), $65/complete (B2B)
  • “Basic” subscription = $1980 (B2C) or $3300 (B2B) annually, includes 60 completes
  • “Advanced” subscription = $3600 (B2C) or $6000 (B2B) annually, includes 150 completes

User Interviews offers customizable add-ons to its subscriptions, including document signing ($600-$1200 annually), double screening ($900-$1200 annually), and SSO/SAML support ($600-1200 annually). Respondent includes document signing in its Basic and Advanced subscriptions and SSO in its Advanced subscriptions. 

Both User Interviews and Respondent offer the rollover of unused subscription completes.

side by side of platform audience targeting
Audience targeting filters on User Interviews (left) and Respondent (right).

Incentive payments processing

Both User Interviews and Respondent offer participant incentive processing via their platforms. There are differences in fees, format, and flexibility (e.g., creating participant groups with separate payment schedules).

User Interviews charges a 3% fee for processing participant incentives. Incentives are paid via Tremendous, which gives participants the option to choose from 1000+ incentive types (including Amazon and other gift cards, cash rewards, and charitable donations) in over 200 countries.

User Interviews also supports several currencies:

  • For Recruit projects, incentives are available in AUD, CAD, GBP, EUR, or USD. (For EUR, only Germany and France are supported.)
  • For Hub projects, incentives are available in available in every country supported by our incentives provider, Tremendous. We’ll also be offering all prepaid, gift card, and donation options from their catalog. View the countries and incentive types supported by Tremendous here.

Moreover, User Interviews offers the ability to edit incentive amounts after a project is launched. This is useful for attracting more participant attention or paying bonuses. 

Respondent charges a 5% or $1 fulfillment fee for processing incentives, which are paid via PayPal. PayPal only uses US Dollars, meaning incentives require conversion prior to sending. That adds to overhead, creating potential budget shortfall if your math isn’t accurate.

User Interviews also offers the option of paying participants directly. That is, you can choose any payment you’d like and handle distribution yourself. By contrast, Respondent does not offer flexible, direct management of participant incentives.

Screening process

Both User Interviews and Respondent offer customizable screeners and pre-screening targeting by specific audience characteristics to ensure the right participants see—and apply to—research projects. The screener builders on both platforms offer closed and open-ended question types, skip logic, and terminate logic.

Respondent offers number and slider type questions; User Interviews offers screener pages.

User Interviews offers advanced control via its optional Double Screening feature, which lets researchers contact participants before assigning them to sessions or tasks to confirm research-critical details (e.g., behaviors, demographics).

🔬We analyzed over 40,000 screeners to uncover ways of boosting completion rates. Check it out before your next recruitment.

In terms of audience filters or characteristic targeting, both User Interviews and Respondent offer the following:

  • City
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Education Level
  • Household Income

For B2B-specific projects, both platforms offer filtering by:

  • Job Title
  • Skills
  • Industry
  • Company Size
  • Job Title

In addition to the above, User Interviews offers targeting or filtering by:

  • Employment Status
  • Seniority
  • Small Business Owner Status
  • Type of Income (e.g., 1099, W2)
  • Home Ownership
  • Living Situation
  • Marital Status
  • Children
  • Employment Status
  • Type of Income
  • Technical Requirements (operating system, browser, webcam access)
side by side of platform home pages
Project homepages on User Interviews (left) and Respondent (right).

Study Types and Integrations

User Interviews and Respondent support four core study types: 1) one on one interviews, 2) focus groups, 3) unmoderated tasks (such as surveys or usability tests), and 4) multi-day studies (such as diary designs). Both support different modalities such as in-person, remote/digital, or over the phone.

The project builder workflow of both platforms uses a URL to direct qualified participants to the study, task, or scheduler. This offers customers flexibility when selecting a testing tool or platform.

Integrations offer a smoother experience for participants, as well as increases visibility (such as project status) across a tech stack. There are some differences in the native integrations supported by each product. 

Respondent has integrations with:

  • Zoom
  • Google Workspace
  • Lookback
  • SurveyMonkey

User Interviews supports integrations with:

  • Zoom
  • Google Workspace
  • Microsoft Outlook and Calendar
  • Lookback
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Typeform
  • Loop11
  • Qualtrics
  • Sprig

In addition, User Interviews offers API-based data integrations with: 

  • Census
  • Zapier
  • Hightouch

Session scheduling and control

Both User Interviews and Respondent offer customizable calendars via their platform or through integrations with Google (both) or Microsoft (only User Interviews). Although both platforms offer elements important to researchers running moderated sessions such as buffer times in-between sessions, User Interviews has more customization and automation available.

Specifically, only User Interviews offers:

  • The choice between manual or automatic review and scheduling
  • A research-session-per-day maximum
  • Automatic participant rescheduling 
  • Multiple role assignment, such as note taker or observer, to be set for projects
  • Session distribution, so that different teammates can moderate if desired

All of these elements are automated in User Interviews and not offered by Respondent.

side by side of platform screener builder
Screener builder on User Interviews (left) and Respondent (right).

Human support

Each and every project launched on User Interviews receives a review by a Project Coordinator

This review—which includes project details and recruitment criteria—helps to boost qualified participant applications. If a project could be improved, a Coordinator offers suggestions based on their expertise with other, similar recruits. Every User Interviews subscription includes Customer Success support—including custom onboarding. 

Respondent’s Customer Success Team is not involved unless a project has trouble recruiting participants after it is launched and live—not before. With Respondent, the onus is on the researcher to contact this team.

Participant reviews

Here’s what research participants think of each platform. 


“After submitting 15+ screeners (keep in mind that you can submit at most 3 per day), there is no feedback at all from the actual projects. The only emails coming from the platform are those for the referrals, luring you to invite others into the platform, with no actual reward. Besides, some screeners ask for private data with no apparent reason at all.”
“Lost track of screeners completed - not a single success. Many screeners ask for a lot of information which is provided entirely for free. Site is absolutely loaded with sketchy tasks - from being asked to record logins into banks etc, to being asked to complete a user experience exercise (which is actually just leaving positive reviews on apps). Not worth the hassle - avoid.”
“They ask you personal questions and you never get paid. They manipulate you into taking a 30 minute survey in order to be approved to take a paid survey but you never get approved for the so called paid survey because you already took it for free. It’s a total waste of time and you’ll be swarmed with hundreds of spam calls and offers after you sign up for this crap. You’ve been warned.”

User Interviews:

“When the entire world is debating why the workers do not wish to go back to unrewarding job environment, know that today offers new ways to make money and be impactful. And that’s what User Interviews provide. A buck for your thought, idea, input, while giving you a sense of accomplishment as well. You go guys!”
“Love being a part of User Interviews. I so enjoy participating in unique discussions concerning a wide variety of topics. The working relationship is wonderful and everyone that I’ve come in contact with is so friendly and genuine.”
“I enjoy User Interviews people because I love to interact with people. I’m not one to sit around and watch tv a lot so user interviews gives me the opportunity to make some money on the side, learn a few new things as well as give a completely different perspective than someone else!”
Ben Wiedmaier
Senior Content Marketing Manager
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