International User Research Budgeting

international user research budgeting

International User Research Project Pricing

This is not necessarily a straightforward operation as research facilities worldwide tend to be focused on market research rather than international user research so their prices are likely to be geared to those types of exercises. It is, therefore, probable you will have to negotiate a session or day rate with the local providers to provide a figure for your budget calculations.

You need to be aware exactly what it is you are paying for when you dealing for this rate. The most common situation is that you are merely hiring a suitably equipped and organised room space for your research exercise. It probably won’t include a moderator – or even a receptionist/supervisor – so you will need to plan for and arrange and pay for that separately. It almost certainly won’t include any sort of refreshments so, again, you will have to allow for that in your costing. You might consider using hotel rooms occupied by your staff for briefings/debriefings to keep the costs more manageable.

The main sources for finding international user research facility space are Greenbook and Quirks.

Additional expenses that you will need to research and factor into your budget costings include:

  • Participant recruitment/payment – it is important to take local advice on this as they may be limiting cultural or domestic factors which affect timings, types of incentive, willingness to participate and so on.
  • Translators – if the research is in a non-English speaking country you will need the proceedings to be translated both in terms of instruction/direction and feedback. It is also worth noting that you might have to employ two translators as the effort and concentration required is intensive and too much for one to deal with over extended periods.
  • Travel and accommodation – obvious requirements but these can eat up a considerable amount of budget and the earlier you plan and the more research you do, the more you can reduce and control these costs. Good planning can ensure you spend the minimal amount of time in expensive accommodation –avoid busy, holiday periods; and remember extras like airport transfers (perhaps even try to organise this yourself to keep costs down). Staying near the research facility can keep transport time and costs down but this might be offset against more expensive accommodation.
  • Preparation and piloting of sessions, technology and materials for specific markets will also need to done – and these might have to be tweaked in situ if issues arise during the pre-session briefings or actual exercises.

These are just a broad selection and generalisation of the types of expenses related to international user research activity. Detailed planning and consultation with experts who have knowledge and experience of the marketplace you are dealing with, are essential.

For more information on research strategies go to our report on International user research.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of international user research projects, their planning, budgeting or execution – why not ring us on +44(0)800 0246 247, or email

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