Nidhi Palan
Indago mockup image

Indago: Research More, Worry Less.

Indago helps to create a community of people who share an affinity for research.


We have all gone through the process of recruiting, and unfortunately it can be a tedious task to say the least. Though there are services available now which help make it easier to recruit, there is no centralized way to find participants for research and study.


The purpose of our study is to create a service that makes it easier to recruit for studies. As we all know, studies requiring participants are a common thing in school and in professional settings. As graduate students who have all been faced with the challenge of finding willing participants for our surveys, studies, and interviews, we thought that coming up with some sort of product or service that makes university recruitment easier would be highly valuable and sought after.


People/Organizations who are looking for participants for their study

The professors, students and university organizations (ISS,CAB,etc) undertake research projects, they need participants for data collection or user study. They employ various methods to find people who are interested in the study. The age range of these stakeholder is between 18years - 50years. These people are looking for immediate access to research participants who are interested in participating.

People who want to participate

Students always look for opportunities to participate in studies for two reasons:
1. Monetary gains
2. Knowledge.
These students will likely be interested to use our application.


Our interviews include students here at RIT, and from other colleges around the US. We interviewed six people. We ideated to come up with a web based service that would make it easier for students both here at RIT and at other colleges to recruit for their scholarly research. Our goal was to incorporate the already existing mental models that exist for finding participants, and use them to create a solution that makes finding these participants easier.


Each team member contributed throughtout the process of this project till we created wireframes. After the contextual inquiry phase, everyone created different models to represent how their participants communicate while conducting or performing user study. After the brainstorming session, we came up with the wireframes using pen and paper. Furthermore, I took charge of creating the logo for the application using Sketch and illustrator to make the designs presentable.

Duration: Jan 2017 - May 2017

Project Team: Nidhi Palan | Wesley Jones | Spandana Jaggumantri | Manu Suresh

Team Picture


Contextual Inquiry and Interpretation Notes

The interviews were conducted in classrooms, residences, college campus and phone booths. We learned that having questions printed during the interview was helpful to check if we have addressed all the questions. Our interviews were open-ended and casual to collect as many details as possible. This helped us gather more qualitative data. One of the interesting facts is that users mentioned that they recruit participants based on the phase of the research. If the research is in initial phase, they use platforms from where they can get as many participants as possible like social media. But if it's in a final phase they need a more targeted audience for which they prefer approaching organizations or institutions. Some users approach the professors, department, and school to find the target audience for their study.

Data Interpretation

Randomly we spread notes on a wall, so all notes are visible to everyone. The entire team gathered around the notes and brainstormed which helped us classify the data for the affinity diagram. We have created about 90 affinity notes on the post-it (yellow), we began putting together our affinity diagram across the wall. After grouping our notes into small groups, we ended up with 17 bottom-level labels (blue). We then grouped these into 8 middle-level labels (pink), and then finally extracted 4 top-level labels (green).

Key Insights

From the data collected we were able to identify the following insights that will be helpful for our upcoming phase of the project.
• Participants considered themselves ineligible for studies if even one of the criteria did not match.
• Finding suitable time for scheduling interviews is difficult via email.
• No common platform for researchers and participants to collaborate and connect.
• Noticeboards are sometimes too crowded to notice flyers.
• If time is the constraint to find participants, researchers recruit the people even if they met 70%-80% of the requirement criteria.
• Researchers mentioned that typically it takes 1 to 3 weeks to find the participants. If the research needs qualitative data it takes a week to find participant compare to survey based research which takes 2-3 week.
• Participants will be interested in research when they think they can gain knowledge, get compensated and when they feels empathetic about researcher work.
• Participants hear about research studies from social media, professors, school department, word of mouth from friends, notice boards and cultural groups.
• From one of the interview, we learned that emailing a class to find participants is not the best approach.
• Participants are compensated based on the time committed for the study. Online studies like filling out the surveys, Google forms, etc. don't pay the participants.


Affinity Map


Summary from Affinity Map


Summary from Affinity Map


Flow Model 1 and 2
Flow Model 3 and 4


Summary from Affinity Map


Artifact Model 1 and 2

Artifact Model 3 and 34


Summary from Affinity Map


Use Case 1

  • Name: Find Participants for Study

  • Primary Actor: Researcher

  • Secondary Actor: Participants

This use case will guide a researcher in finding and scheduling participants for their research study.

Use Case 2

  • Name: Compatible Research Notification

  • Primary Actor: User

  • Secondary Actor: Researcher

This use case will alert a user about a researcher who is seeking their participation in a research study.


Storyboards are used to show some scenarios how our app can be used.

Creating a Study

Storyboard 1

Creating a Profile

Storyboard 1

Perform user search

Storyboard 1


Problem, Solution and Benefit

Summary from Affinity Map


Finding Participants within limited time.


Researchers can define deadlines while creating study and can find participants profiles instantly via suggestions.


Finding Participants with a lot of requirements.


Can filters participants based on profile tags
Study suggestions using tags
Instant notifications


Creating flyers and posters takes a lot of time.


Researchers can choose from predefined flyer templates and can edit them.


Scheduling the research time and communication with participants is a hassle.


Timely notifications to researcher and participants regarding scheduling.