Testing goals and measures should be clearly communicated to consultancies and their facilities, as the choice of firms capable of conducting the tests can be limited by a lack of necessary equipment.
Australia’s Goods & Service Tax (10%) should be taken into account in project costs.
The biggest surprise to foreigners is likely to be the price of the test participant fee when compared to other countries, like China. In Beijing, $15-$30 USD for 1-2 hours is acceptable, whereas in Australia approximately $80 AUD ($50 USD) is necessary.
Recruiting agencies are comprehensive in their coverage of industry sectors, but require at least a week for basic demographics and longer for complex requirements. In Australia, recruiting via agency is far more common than having usability consultants recruit participants themselves.
Drop out rates
Participants are willing to participate but may require some reminders to ensure their presence on the day of testing. The no-show rate without reminders can reach about five percent.
A consideration should be made for the relatively small population of Australia (approximately 20 million people), which increases the difficulty in recruiting highly specialized user profiles.
Testing design and protocols
Quantitative vs. qualitative
An important difference is the relative value placed on quantitative recruiting by foreign consultants, while a more flexible qualitative approach is taken toward recruitment in Australia. As a partial result of this, benchmarking and quantitative testing are less common in Australia than diagnostic testing.
A one or two day contingency in the length of testing is a wise decision because of the system in which recruitment is conducted, and possible cancellations or no-shows.
Travel and transportation
Travel within this country
The distance between urban areas is a considerable factor; therefore holding tests in multiple cities requires allocations for travel time. Even intra-city travel time can be considered a burden for researchers.
Although Australia has a single currency, national language, and federal government, it is exceedingly multicultural and varies widely on a socio-economic cross-section of its residents. Therefore, researchers should not assume that residents from different cities are all alike. In the larger cities of Melbourne and Sydney, residents often appear to be much busier and time pressed than residents of smaller cities such as Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. These cities are much smaller in population and have a more relaxed and informal way of life.
There is generally no cultural shyness. Participants willingly and honestly share opinions.
Comfort using technology
It is fairly easy to find participants with at least basic proficiency with information technology, even within a broad range of ages.
Holiday, seasonality, and timing considerations
The holiday cycle is different from the northern hemisphere – for example, winter break is just as long as summer break. Thus, researchers may encounter difficulties with recruitment and finding available staff in late December and January.
In the northern cities of Australia, such as Darwin, the weather is more tropical with distinct wet and dry seasons, which can also impact the availability of participants.
Strong privacy requirements enacted in Australian law require informed consent for use of written, audio and video recordings. Non-disclosure agreements are common practice and readily accepted by participants as part of pre-session paperwork.