Here's the thing - Bolt | Peters was acquired by Facebook. This site will live on.

Where do your participants come from?

Most traditional user research studies get their recruits either from its own email contacts, through a 3rd-party research firm or panel, or even Craigslist, each of which have their own problems:

Email contact lists:

  • Registered user / customer lists may not reflect the entire range of your user base
  • You can end up annoying the customers with recruiting emails
  • You can exhaust the list after a few studies

Third-party recruiting agencies:

  • Can charge $100-$800 per user (not including the participation incentive)
  • You often have to recruit extra backup participants in case of no-shows

Panel recruiting:

  • Recruits are experienced research participants whose skill and background may not reflect those of your user base
  • Panel participants may not have any real interest in your product/service—this motivational difference affects study behavior

Craigslist ads:

  • Recruits usually come biased, or are only interested in collecting an incentive check
  • They’re also quite frequently insane

Our method and why it’s so awesome

We’ve pioneered a recruiting method we call live recruiting—getting the real people who visit your website to participate instantly in your remote user research study. How does it work?

  1. First we place a recruiting form (either a link, a pop-up, or an embed) on your website, which appears to some percentage of your site’s visitors, anywhere from %.001 to %100
  2. Some of the visitors fill it out, and we see their responses come in instantly
  3. As soon as we see someone whose response matches the kind of participant we’re looking for, we call them, and begin the remote study right away

This method lets us talk to people in real time, just as they’re about to perform a task you’re interested in watching—you don’t have to assign them artificial tasks, as in a traditional study. Users with real motivations for their tasks provide you with insights into how people actually use your product or website, which you can use to make your designs easier, better, more useful, and inspired by real human behavior.

Live recruiting with Ethnio

Live recruiting is so awesome, we developed a whole web app just to make it easier to do—Ethnio. By placing a single line of Javascript in your website’s code, Ethnio allows us to display a pop-up recruiting screener to your website’s visitors, which looks something like this:


After they click the Continue button, they’ll see a short recruiting screener, which asks them questions to see if they’re qualified for your study:


Naturally, you get to design these recruiting questions yourself. As soon as they fill this screener out, you can see their responses instantly loaded into a recruits table, which you can browse and filter to zero-in on exactly the people you want to talk to.


We at Bolt | Peters have been using Ethnio for years, and know all the ins and outs of designing a screener that will get you the participants you’re looking for. However, if you’re interested in using it yourself for your own user research studies, head on over to to sign up for a free trial account!