UX Research During the Pandemic: Trends & Best Practices for Virtual Sessions
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to individuals and organizations around the world. We are sending warm wishes to our clients, participants, collaborators, and followers - we hope you stay safe and take good care of yourself and the people around you!
The pandemic has changed the way people work and the way many industries operates, including research operations, recruiting of study participants and how we conduct UX research sessions. In this blog post, we reflect on some trends we have observed over the past couple of months. We also offer you tips for best practices when it comes to recruiting and scheduling study participants and conducting remote research sessions during the pandemic.
Social distancing and working-from-home has led to a rapid increase in the use of remote meeting tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Teams. The fact that people are more used to connecting with others remotely can be seen as a “silver lining” for the UX research industry. We have experienced that our participants in general are more tech-savvy when it comes to remote meetings and may therefore be more comfortable, open, and willing to participate in remote research sessions. Yet, it is still important to offer technical help for participants who might appreciate support in joining virtual research sessions.
Onboard participants to virtual sessions
A good way to prevent that participants drop out of the study or experience technical difficulties that can steal time from the research session is to onboard participants to their sessions. That could mean to log on to the session a few minutes before the session begins to make sure the participants are able to join the session and help them with video/audio if needed. Researchers can onboard participants themselves or hire an external firm or individual to support with the onboarding processes.
Participants’ schedules: flexibility and limitations
As more people are working from home, this also gives opportunities and challenges when it comes to scheduling virtual sessions. For some people, working from home means increased flexibility when it comes to attending virtual sessions. Some professionals have the freedom to create their own schedule, and attending virtual research session might be more convenient now than in the past. For other people, such as parents for small kids or parents with kids now enrolled in distance learning programs, working from home might give them time limitations and less freedom in terms of scheduling sessions. In general, being more flexible and understanding of people's schedules goes a long way in making the participants feel heard and understood, which supports better collaboration.
What do you think?
We hope you enjoyed this content and some ideas to help you with virtual UX Research sessions during this time. Feel free to give us a call if you would like more information or some tips on conducting remote research during this time.
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