a better participant recruitment experience

Founding a Platform / UI design / Branding

The Challenge

How might we improve the efficiency and pleasure of recruitment hunting experience?

The Solution

Establish the first platform to connect psychology researchers with potential participants, which allows for easy participant recruitment.

The Team

Yu Zhao

Xinyu Yue

Jiawen Wu

My Role

Co-found the platform
Service design
UI design



For psychology student, recruiting participants can be exhausting. Say, you finally had your research materials prepared, before you can take a breath to celebrate the milestone, you started to panic on the thought of participant recruitment. You may need to edit an attractive poster, publish the poster on your social media and ask (beg) for your friends to forward this information so that more people can see. If you prefer, you can also break in a classroom and grab whoever is in your sight to get the job done quick and dirty. Or, sending hundreds of e-mails is an alternative as well!

However, none of these methods are satisfactory. In my observation, interviews, and survey (n = 22), 61.54% respondents were not satisfied with current recruitment methods and 90.91% respondents would give it a try to use a professional platform for posting recruitment advertisement.

This is where Psypool (Psychological Subject Pool) debuts. Psypool is a Wechat public account I founded to help researchers in the Psychology Department recruit subjects in a fast and easy way. Since its debut, Psypool has helped 60+ experiments successfully recruit subjects, assisted researchers in three different universities in Shanghai and received a total page view of 16000+.

Article Views


Service Design

As indicated in the survey, 90% participants would accept the service mode of the operationists of the platform collect the content and design the layout of each article, while they send us the information required. This is the basic service model we adopted. To be specific, a recruiter communicates with the operation specialist via email to send information, and the operation specialist uses social media to deliver the preview back to him. The article will be published upon confirmation from the recruiter.


The platform attracts students interested in psychology through these articles. Currently, we have xx followers. The followers are potential participants for future experiments. Our platform, in a way, is indeed a psychology participant pool.


I did two sets of branding / visual design. Both use an inverted beaker to stimulate the character "Y". The beaker also indicates that the platform is for experiments in the psychology department. The main difference, however, lies in the color and font chosen for branding. In the first version, #cccccc is used as the background color while in the second version, #4fafc5 is chosen instead, which gives users a sense of vitality.

The solution

We have published 60+ articles on participant recruitment. If the user is subscribing our platform, (s)he will automatically receive newly-published recruitment articles. Potential participants can fill out a questionnaire and wait for the recruiter to contact them. Potential participants can also browse through our older posts.


Yes, we have solved the problems...partially. For those experiments that cannot offer a satisfactory compensation, the effect of posting on Psypool is not obvious. Therefore, we are planning on upgrading our service model. We plan on expanding the service to the entire university and enlarging the scope from experiments to anything (perhaps?) academic. The enlarged service scope will hopefully bring us more traffic and subscribers, which in turn enhances the possibility that an experiment can successfully recruit subjects. We want this platform to be the place where students and professors of all departments can truly benefit from.

©2018 by Yu Zhao.