Website intercepts

Intercept real people affected by dementia from online support/advice services and invite them to take part in research.

Websites and forums about dementia can receive thousands of visits every day by people affected by these diseases. For example, an average of 19,000 people visited the Alzheimer's Society website every day during 2018.

Intercepting these people, and inviting them to take part in research, can be a:

  • effective,
  • cheap,
  • fast,
  • inexhaustible,

way to find, contact and include the right people affected by dementia in research and design activities.

Whilst this recruitment method begins online (the intercept) it can be used for:

  • on or offline,
  • remote or in-person,

research of any type and with any number of participants. 

Request a website intercept

Invite Alzheimer's Society service users to be included in your research. 

[email protected]

What is a 'website intercept'?

An 'intercept' is a simple survey which is shown to live users of a website asking them if they would like to take part in the research. You can usually choose:

  • which users see the survey (perhaps by geographic location, whether they have taken part before),
  • where the survey is shown (perhaps specific page, or group of pages, relevant to the research study),
  • what proportion of your users see the intercept (100%?, 10%?, 1%? etc.),
  • when they see the intercept (at a certain stage in a process, after 30 seconds etc). 

People who see the intercept can decide whether to ignore it or to take part. If they choose to take part you can:

  • automatically direct them to remote research, like a web survey or usability test,
  • screen them with some initial questions to check if they are truly right for your research,
  • ask for their contact information for secondary screening, like a telephone chat,
  • a combination of these options.

Advantages of intercepts

  • Reach people who are excluded from; 
    • participant databases,
    • personal contacts,
    • research opportunities.
  • Scale;
    • high return rates can be typical,
    • a near inexhaustible pool of participants can be possible.
  • Speed;
    • studies can be designed, launched and completed inside 24 hours (rather than weeks),
    • direct contact with participants facilitates their involvement.
  • Cost;
    • likely cheaper than professional recruiters,
    • often cheaper the opportunity cost of finding participants by other means.
  • Ease;
    • once set-up it can be easier to run more research, more often, improving the involvement of people affected by dementia.
  • Online research,
    • intercepts can seamlessly join-up, at scale, with digital studies like web surveys, card sorts and usability tests. Note well that intercepts are also very effective at finding people for real-world research. 
  • Logistics;
    • some intercepts services can help manage remuneration, scheduling and communications with participants. 

Disadvantages of intercepts

  • Exclude people who have:
    • low levels of digital literacy,
    • do not use online services,
    • have a preference to ignore digital intercept invitations.
  • Overuse can lead to reduced engagement.
  • Care needed if interrupting people as they complete critical tasks like:
    • taking part in a campaign, 
    • making a donation or a purchase,
    • contacting your organisation,
    • signing-up to a service. 

Examples of intercepts from Alzheimer's Society's website

This example is an invitation to give feedback on a campaign we are developing with carers, people with dementia and community organisations.

Bring Dementia Out website intercept feedback prompt.

This example is an invite to do a short survey to help improve our dementia support services.

Example of website intercept seeking feedback to help improve services.


Real-life example featured in this resource

Real life example of a digital intercept used to recruit people with dementia and carers to an Alzheimer's Society user experience workshop in London

Useful Links

Digital Intercept: How to collect customer feedback without ruining the experience

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