We run a pilot/test session before each study so we can rehearse the process of logging into Perigean’s Zoom, work through kinks, and make sure we have allocated an appropriate amount of time for the sessions.

Designers and researchers typically will ask a developer or someone else on their team to act as a “pilot participant” as a stand-in for one of our VA.gov users.

So you've been asked to participate in a research pilot. What's next?

What to expect

  • You should receive an invitation for a pilot session from either Perigean or the designer/researcher

  • The designer/researcher on your team will give you a series of tasks to complete or ask you to answer questions about "your experience" with the VA.gov site.

    • You don't need to create a new "character" or "persona" or “pretend to be a veteran,” however:

    • Answer the questions truthfully and try to imagine yourself through the lens of the study participants

Helpful Tips

  • Familiarize yourself with the research plan for the study

  • Understand the user persona or profile for the study

  • Ask questions during the pilot session

  • Give the moderator feedback

    • If you have difficulty understanding a question, let the moderator know

  • Check out the Veteran personas

FAQ

I'm a developer and look at websites/UX differently than most visitors. Why should I participate?

Anyone can be a pilot participant! It helps the team gain empathy for our users and allows you to view the product through a different lens and see the value in what we're building. It also helps the moderator figure out how to run the study efficiently.

What if I'm "too close" to the work?

Try to separate yourself from the role you played in building the tool/site. Imagine that you are using it just as the actual participants do.

Thanks for participating and have fun!