Prevalence and State of User Research
User Research has become a more common method applied in Poland the past few years. The market has been developing on the side of suppliers of services, as well as their recipients. The awareness of the research need has been changing, however it hasn’t become a rightful element of the design process yet; they are treated as an audit rather than the support for the design process.
The companies that deal with User Research and have their own laboratory are located in almost every big city in Poland. Because of a great interest in User Research, it is necessary to wait a few weeks for the company's availability.
The usability labs are located in big cities. Moreover, there are conducted outgoing research which can be carried out in any place in Poland.
There are a few usability labs specially designed for usability studies. Facilities for marketing research with observation and testing rooms are often used for User Research study.
Depends on a project.
Depends on a project.
Every agency has its own recruiters usually. Recruitment is a part of the whole User Research Process. There are no agencies that specialize in recruitment.
Drop out rates & Punctuality
Drop out rate is low (about 5%). People are rather punctual and if they decide to come, they come. If you want to test working people you have to consider late survey slots from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Despite high level of punctuality it’s recommended to do 30 minutes break between sessions.
Language and Translation Considerations
Polish is the principal language of Poland. Younger people are much more familiar with foreign languages and the most popular one is English.
In Poland you can do a professional translation to almost every foreign language. There is a lot of companies that specialize in multi-language translation.
It is possible to call and discuss any topic in English because the language is usually well-known in every research agency (at least at communicative level).
Testing design and protocols
A qualitative approach is much more common in User Research. A Think Aloud method is frequently employed. Companies use software that is common in the whole world: Morae, Tobii, Camtasia. They can be easily adjusted to the client expectation.
Travel and transportation
Travel to and from this country
Traveling is not a problem. There is an airport in every main city in Poland. Each of the airports have very good connections with the UK and Germany. If you can get to Germany or the UK, you can easily get to Poland as well.
Travel within this country
Traveling within the country is not very convenient. The best way is to use a train, however it may take time to get from one city to another. It all depends on the destination / traveling points. For example, traveling to and from Warsaw is very costly, but it may be more difficult and uncomfortable when traveling to other smaller cities.
We do not recommend using a car. Although landscapes in Poland are very picturesque, the roads are very narrow, crowded and full of holes. It is usually necessary to book much more time for traveling than you expect. It is also necessary to have some spare time for the journey.
People in Poland tend to be shy so it is very important to moderate a session carefully. Sometimes if you don’t ask them about something they will not tell you, even when it is visible that they do not feel comfortable with the testing subject. For this reason the sessions may be quite exhaustive and last longer than expected.
Comfort using technology
In Poland there is over 52% people who are the Internet users. A statistical Polish Internet User is a person who:
a) is 15 to 40 years old
b) lives in a city/town (72,1%)
c) uses the Internet over a year (76,5%) and every day (71,3%)
The older the people, the more resistant towards the Internet and new technologies they are. The problems begin in the group of people at the age of 50+
You should ask for a permission to make a video or/and voice recording. People sometimes ask: “what for is the recording ? ”. However, as soon as they get the answer, they agree and sign an agreement. .
Holiday, seasonality, and timing considerations
To avoid high drop out rates, you have to take into consideration three significant periods of time in Poland:
i) Summer time (July – August) – people are on holidays and it may be quite difficult to find very sophisticated participants,
ii) Christmas time – people are busy and drop out rate is rising. Research may take longer than you expect,
iii) Easter - as above.
Poland is a part of the European Union. There are no special restrictions about cooperation with companies from foreign countries. However, you may need to sign an agreement that determines steps, expectations, schedule, outcomes. Many polish companies have so called “VAT number” that is valid in the EU and can issue an invoice without VAT (it prevents from a double taxation problem).