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User Trials

Consumer In Use, Sensory Feedback, Home Use Trials, and Subjective Perception Questionnaires

Also known as Consumer Perception Studies, Subjective Questionnaires, and Qualitative User Feedback, User Trials provide a wide range of data about product performance and consumer experience.

Sometimes, a product requires actual consumer feedback to support its claims because they are inherently considered to be “subjective.”

Subjective user feedback allows for “soft” claims that involve the look and the feel of a product or the skin post usage as opposed to the hard, measurable efficacy that can be determined via instrumentation or expert grading. As a product tester, your voice will be used to determine the efficacy and use of beauty and skincare products.

Subjective Questionnaires in Practice

Sensory feedback is provided by panelists in the form of responses to individual questions about the look and feel of a product and its impact on their skin or hair.

Sometimes a product requires actual consumer feedback to support its claims because they are inherently considered to be “subjective.”  Subjective user feedback allows for “soft” claims that involve the look and the feel of a product or the skin post usage.

Consumer Perception Studies employ subjective questionnaires in which product testers provide their feedback on how a given product makes them feel or appear.

Data Output Sample

Study Design

VCS generally recommends a qualitative questionnaire on most studies that are submitted.  The user-perceived benefits of a product can bolster the clinical results, and sometimes the consumer perception is better than the measured product efficacy.

Label Claim Studies

As a rule of thumb in the industry, a minimum of 30 subjects to complete is usually the go-to standard for skincare and beauty claims.

We recommend starting with 35 subjects to account for dropout over the course of most studies, although for extended durations and specialty designs we may request a higher start number.

Pilot and Proof of Concept

VCS is comfortable testing on smaller panels as well, generally with a minimum of 5 subjects for proof of concept.

While these small panels won’t help you substantiate final claims, they are great for active ingredient comparisons and can help you to ensure your product is ready for final active testing and support.

Demographic Details

Standard demographic details are reported in a HIPPA compliant and blinded manner for the sponsor, and studies can be recruited with a wide range of parameters in mind.

Home Use Trials (HUT) and Preference Testing

Home Use Trials (HUTs) provide subjective feedback which can be used to substantiate a wide range of claims. Either incorporated into a clinical trial or as a separate study, they help to find out what the consumer thinks about your product after using it for a specific length of time.

Claims are dependent upon the product, the study design, and the length of the study.  User trials can be run as a stand-alone study and is especially effective when run in combination with a full clinical study design.

Home Use Trials are highly effective in helping determine consumer perception and preference for a particular product.

The number of subjects on a study varies depending on what is deemed necessary to show statistical significance upon data analysis.

Subjects are issued the relevant product and are given instructions on the use or application of the product for use at home, for a specific length of time.

The subjects will complete an SPQ (Self-Perception Questionnaire) to determine subjective opinions on the product which can be used for claim substantiation.

HUTs provide the following types of feedback for your products:

  • Usability and acceptability of your product for the intended consumer
  • Opinion of the consumer regarding the intended purpose of your product
  • The performance of your product versus competitors in the same market through comparison testing
  • Consumer opinion of the branding, packaging, shape, and fragrance of your product

Sample Questionnaire 

Answer “Agree” or “Disagree” to the following questions:

  1. The test product improves skin clarity, leaving a healthy, even tone.
  2. The test product reduces the appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes.
  3. The test product improves the skin’s overall appearance.
  4. The test product reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  5. My jawline appears more defined since using the test product.
  6. My face appears more youthful since using the test product.
  7. My skin feels firmer since using the test product.
  8. The test product makes my face look < 5 years younger
  9. The test product makes my face look 5 years younger
  10. The test product makes my face look 10 years younger
  11. The test product makes my face look 15 years younger
  12. The test product makes my face look > 15 years younger

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