Why we use the word Join, and not "find out if you are eligible"

Among the first things that a potential participant sees when they explore joining your study is the study recruitment page.

Notice the call to action on the bottom. It says “Join.” This is not editable. However, in most cases when a user clicks join, there are several steps including an eligibility assessment screener, and informed consent before a person is officially part of the study. Why do we use this terminology?

Join is a universal action term online and on mobile devices. While a potential participant doesn’t join the study immediately, we believe that even technology novices understand that there may be several pages of “join processes” before being able to access an online or mobile app functionality.

Every research study is different, for those studies that have complex eligibility criteria, the next task should be titled, “Find out if you are eligible,” “Is this study right for you” or something similar. It’s part of the join experience.

If based on the intake criteria,  the user is not right for the study, they will be provided with a notification and alternative studies within the ProofPilot platform that may be more appropriate.

We found different, more nuanced terminology like “find out if you are eligible” was unnecessary for most potential participants.  Alternatives to join aren’t consistent with usability norm and less common online verbiage dramatically reduced engagement.

In one study in which we tested the more nuanced language “Find out if you are eligible” our data suggested potential participants looked around the ProofPilot site for more common wording “Join” “Register” or “Sign-Up.” It meant that many users abandoned. Others just joined ProofPilot (and not the specific study).