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I'm user-testing a webpage for a client. The client is a college, and the type of page they want to test is location-specific because it's one of a group of pages that focus on each of their campuses individually. The user testing recruitment agency that I have to use (the client pre-paid, so I can't use another option) only allows me to recruit participants by country, not state or region.

Does it bias or skew my findings if I set up the user testing scenario to include: "Imagine you live in X location and are searching for local colleges/universities..."? Is there a better way to phrase this that you have used before?

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    Is it important that you're gathering feedback from a specific regional market, or can it be generalized to something like "Imagine you're looking for information about the state university located in your metro area?" If it's the specific market, your recruitment agency needs to allow you to at least send an additional screener survey to the panelists so you can only reach people in that market.
    – Izquierdo
    Jan 18, 2022 at 21:56
  • @Izquierdo The reason I want to gather participants from a specific market is because the pages we want to test all have the city named in the headline of the page; e.g. "Detroit Campus of X University". So my concern is that participants will get caught up in the fact that they are not from that city and it will leave us with skewed or incomplete feedback.
    – Megan
    Jan 19, 2022 at 15:02
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    If possible, could you share your test questions in your question above? I'm not sure how relevant the user's location would be to the test, and how it might affect their results. I don't recommend asking participants to imagine they are from that area, though - if they know nothing about it, they'll rely on regional stereotypes or secondhand information.
    – Izquierdo
    Jan 19, 2022 at 15:33

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The page is location specific, so the testers should be aware of the "current location". It should be somehow implicated or even directly shown by the page itself. Do the users know about this? Maybe a small task to find that out.

If the task does not require the participants to have any knowledge about the local area, the I see no problem, it depends on the task.

If the testers need no locally specific knowledge, they also do not need to imagine they live there - they can be on vacation, visit somebody, may consider to relocate and live there, etc.

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