Smart Chicago Collaborative

Civic User Testing Group

The Civic User Testing Group (CUTGroup) is a community of residents who get paid to test civic websites and apps.

Be a tester, get paid

The Civic User Testing Group (CUTGroup) is a community of residents of Chicago and all of Cook County who get paid to test out civic websites and apps. This is how it works:

  • Fill out the CUTGroup profile form below to sign up to be a tester. Once you do that, we will send you a $5 VISA gift card just for signing up
  • Once you sign up, you will receive email notifications about new test opportunities. We will ask a few more questions that relate to the technology we are going to test and you can let us know if you are available
  • If and when you are chosen, you will test civic websites and apps. Testing will happen all over Cook County in public computer centers
  • Once you complete a test, you will receive a $20 VISA gift card

There are technology developers who make websites, mobile apps, and other tools that are made specifically for residents. By being part of the CUTGroup you will help developers make better software that will help make other lives better.

If it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work!

We are looking for residents from all over Cook County, who use different types of devices, browsers, and operating systems.

Get Started

We are looking for a diverse group of testers who live in Cook County. We have done over 15 CUTGroup tests throughout Chicago, and now we are reaching out to residents in all of Cook County to participate. Sign up now and tell your friends!

In order to get the most of the CUTGroup tests, we have to have a fairly scientific take on who is part of the test and how they use technology. This survey has a lot of questions about where you live, what devices you have, and how you connect to the Internet. This helps us get the right mix of people to test a particular application and website.

To get started, fill out the form below. After you complete the form, we will send you a text message to verify your sign-up. Once verified, we will send you a $5 VISA gift card in the mail right away. If you live anywhere in Cook County, you are eligible to be a CUTGroup tester. After you have signed up, you’ll be part of the CUTGroup and will receive email notifications when we have new tests coming up.

Fill out my online form.


The Civic User Testing Group is a project of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to using technology to make lives better in Chicago. The project is supported by a Knight Community Information Challenge grant provided jointly by the Knight Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust as part of the Civic Innovation in Chicago project. Additional funding is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Testing will happen all over Cook County in different locations. In Chicago, we hold tests in Connect Chicago locations, a network of more than 250 places in the city where internet and computer access, digital skills training, and online learning resources are available – for free. If you're interested in getting involved in technology as a member of government, a technology developer, or an engaged citizen, consider joining monthly OpenGovChicago(-land) meetups. All are welcome!

Get a mitt and get in this game!

Read our book

If you are interested in testing methodology and detailed results of tests we've already done, see our project website or The CUTGroup book. Download the book for free or order a copy at Amazon.


Questions, comments, concerns? Please write Sonja Marziano, Project Coordinator of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, at