Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

I first heard the phrase "people, not petri dishes" from Sarit Geertjes at Atlassian.

It means that in doing customer research we need to treat the people who participate with respect. Treat them like fellow humans, not like lab rats.

When we set out to build Great Question this became one of our guiding product principals. We want to make sure that we're not only making it easy for anyone to do customer research, but we're also delivering a high quality participant experience.

This plays out in the product in a number of ways.

  1. Incentives are paid out immediately after a the research is complete.
  2. Researchers can rate their participants, and vice versa.
  3. Participants can opt out of a study, or your entire panel in one click.
  4. Personally identifiable information is obfuscated as much as possible.

Participant experience in research is as much a reflection of your brand as a company, as it is the individual researcher doing the work. By delivering a quality experience we're earning the trust of the participant, and fostering a longer term relationship for future interactions.

I'd love to hear feedback on this concept, and stories of how you handle participant experience in your research activities. Please email me direct at

- Ned