How I choose testers for my patterns 💛

Hi everyone! :hugs:

At the moment, I have 11 pattern designs (published on other platforms) and I’m in the process of transferring them to Ribblr.

I’ve done 6 tester calls on Ribblr so far, and I’ve realized that it’s very different to choose testers on here than it is on instagram (for the pdf version).

I decided to share my tester selection process, in case anyone finds it useful - either because you want to be a tester or because you are planning on making your own tester call. I’m no expert, especially not on Ribblr, but maybe my insights will be useful to someone!

Ribblr automatically sorts testers by karma, meaning that I see the highest karma holders first, so the first thing I do is I scroll all the way down and start at the bottom of the list, with the lowest karma. Why?

  • If the call is for a beginner-level pattern, then I want at least 50% of the testers to be people at the beginner level. Experienced crocheters will be able to find mistakes and typos better, but beginner crocheters will be much more able to tell me if the pattern is confusing or too hard. This helps me clarify the pattern and/or understand the actual difficulty level.

  • If the call is for an intermediate-level pattern, then I want at least 1-2 people to be low karma (if they seem to be intermediate-level crocheters) so that they have a chance to increase their karma.

For the applicants with low karma, I open up everyone’s profile and check their makes.

If it’s an intermediate-level pattern and you have no makes, I will not choose you, because I can’t see your experience. This is the same logic from instagram when designers ask that people have a “public crochet account”: we want to see your previous works and see if it seems like you can handle the pattern’s difficulty.

If it’s a beginner-level pattern, I don’t really care much about seeing your makes, but I check if you have anything on your profile description and have posted any topics/answers to topics.

If you haven’t interacted with the community in any way, I will not choose you - it might mean that you’re not that active on here and therefore you’re less likely to finish (or even begin) testing the pattern.

After rejecting the applicants who do not seem likely to be helpful, I now look at all the remaining applicants (low karma + high karma).

The high karma works as an automatic “vetting process”, so to speak (and it’s quite useful! For my instagram tests, I have to keep an Excel sheet with everyone’s names and how useful their feedback was).

But it’s not helpful for me to choose everyone who applies, it’d be a nightmare to manage, so there’s still a couple of selection steps:

  1. If you have tested for me before, this might be a plus, or not.

I keep a list of the testers who have tested for me and gave useful feedback. If it’s a pattern that needs that kind of attention, I am more likely to choose people that have already tested for me and that I can trust to give good feedback.

Good feedback for me is:

  • Did you find any typos? Even if you didn’t, saying that you didn’t shows that you checked, and that’s good.
  • Did you find any counting errors? Same thing here, even if you didn’t, saying that you didn’t shows that you checked.
  • Did you find a part confusing? How can I make it better, clearer?
  • Do you have any suggestions about the layout, the pictures, the wording, to make the pattern better?

However, if it’s a pattern that I feel needs a fresh pair of eyes, then the fact that you’ve tested my previous designs means that I probably won’t choose you.

Some of my patterns follow the same structure (my Elemental Horses have the same head; my Splobs have the same body) and if you’ve already tested one, you will be less likely to find mistakes or errors in that part because your brain already knows what you should be doing - you’re not following the pattern as much as a new person would. Does this make sense?

So, if you’ve tested for me and I don’t choose you in my next tests, this is why (it doesn’t necessarily mean that I didn’t like your feedback!).

  1. I open up everyone’s makes and choose 1-3 people with makes similar to my pattern. This is because they’ll be familiar with the type of pattern and will have an easier time understanding it.

  2. After that, I also choose 1-3 people that seem to never have done something similar to my pattern. This is because they’ll come with a fresh pair of eyes and be able to tell me if the pattern is confusing. Sometimes we think that something is obvious - but it’s only obvious if you’ve done a dozen of that type of pattern. So it’s very useful to have people with a different expertise.

  3. I check the types of yarn you frequently use in your makes. I try pick a few people who mostly use acrylic or cotton and then a few people who mostly use bulky/chunky styles of yarn. I like to see if different types of yarn make for a different experience when making my designs. I myself never use bulky yarn, so it’s extremely helpful for me to have testers who do.

I make a graph on my notebook with these different characteristics:

LOW KARMA
HIGH KARMA
TESTED FOR ME
NEVER TESTED FOR ME
MAKES SIMILAR TO PATTERN
MAKES NOT SIMILAR
COTTON/ACRYLIC
BULKY/CHUNKY

And then try to choose a selection of people so that at least 1-2 fit each of these characteristics, and keeping the total between 5 and 8 testers, which is the most useful number for me.

It’s a very long process!!! :sweat_smile:

Maybe it’d be easier to just choose at random, but I pour a lot of effort, time and thought to my patterns and the testing process is an extremely important part of the design process. I owe A LOT to my testers and I’m always extremely grateful for their feedback and help.

Anyway, I’m sorry for such a long wall of text, but when I was starting out I wanted so bad for someone to tell me how to choose testers. I thought this might be useful to someone out there :yellow_heart:

29 Likes

That was so useful! I’m trying to get my head around using testers and this was everything I needed

4 Likes

this really does help a lot as someone who tests a lot and is also starting to release their own patterns. thank you! :]

3 Likes

Makes sense to me. I try to find all kinds of pattern levels to test myself.

2 Likes

This was so thorough and is a great resource for both designers and testers! I hadn’t even considered half of these aspects, but it makes so much sense to see it all laid out how each element can impact feedback and highlights the importance of having a truly varied tester pool. If I ever start designing, I will definitely be referencing this post . Thank you for taking the time to type it all up - it was very generous of you!

(Side note as someone on the testing side of things who happens to be an overthinking anxiety queen: It was also nice to see that it may not necessarily be quality of feedback that dictates being picked for a particular design. Even though it isn’t rational, per se, I think some of us tend to internalize and think our feedback was somehow flawed if we don’t get selected by a designer we previously worked with [especially if we put significant effort into that feedback], but obviously there are so many other factors being considered!)

2 Likes

thank you
this is sooo helpful

1 Like

I’m really glad this post is helpful!!
I totally understand the anxiety part, I have felt it myself a few times about exactly this issue.

I mean, there are testers that I will not choose again - but they probably know it, because they didn’t finish testing or just ghosted completely. Which, honestly, happens A LOT more on Ribblr (9 people in 6 tests) than it has ever happened on instagram tests (1 person in 11 tests) :sweat_smile:

But if someone takes the time to finish and send me their thoughts, even if it’s just “pattern was clear, didn’t find any issues”, that’s really helpful!

Whenever I test, I also send very detailed feedback with many paragraphs because I want to help the designers as much as possible.

But I have heard of designers that feel… attacked by that. I think they’re in the minority, but some people have a hard time with feedback that is not just praise. Hopefully they will overcome that, because it’s with constructive criticism that patterns turn into works of art :grin:

Me, I actually LOVE extremely detailed feedback, and I will put any tester who goes to that effort in my favorites list. Even if I end up not following most of their suggestions, the fact that they had so many means that they put a lot of thought into my pattern and I will love to have someone like that going through the patterns that I feel need more attention.