Research in Times of Quarantine

Angie Muñoz
Apr 7, 2020 · 5 min read

A simple guide to conduct remote research like a pro.

Illustration by Angie Muñoz

We are facing a global crisis that is forcing us to hack many of our working routines and techniques. As designers, user research is a fundamental part of the process used to understand users’ needs, desires, motivations and struggles. At Propelland, remote research has allowed us to collaborate between studios and with international companies located in different time zones.

We have put together a simple guide to help you master the art of remote research in unprecedented times like these, so if you are ready, let us dive in!

Set up a shared repository

First of all, as we are working remotely, we need to use a collaborative platform.

Create a shared folder in Google Drive or Dropbox, where you will have all the relevant documents of your research such as: research plan, interview guides, interview notes, etc. that way, any of your team members can access that information easily.

Let us start planning

In remote research you need to plan for any technical challenges that may come up during your remote sessions. Here is a simple list of steps to help you overcome them:

Recruiting and scheduling participants

Recruiting is one of the most time consuming steps of research but you can make it more efficient by following this steps:

Do not forget about compensation!

You can use digital gift cards, many brands already have their own (Amazon, Uber, Netflix, etc.), or groceries delivery services, such as AmazonFresh in the US or Rappi in Latam.

Interview time!

Now it is time to empathize with your users. When interviewing remotely, it is important to create a “virtual space” that helps you connect with your interviewees as deeply as possible. This are some recommendations of how to do so:

For group sessions:

Unmoderated research techniques

If you need a deeper understanding of your users, unmoderated research techniques are a great option. We recommend using a Digital User Diary or a Digital Community, here is how they work:

Digital Diary

For a small group of participants for a short period of time:

Digital Community

For a large group of people (30–50 participants) for a long period of time:

Our favorite tools:

We hope this guide helps you and your team master remote research like we are at propelland. We invite you to share this guide, use it for your next remote research project, and make it your own.

Please drop us a line in the comments with additional best practices for remote research.

Stay safe and keep propelling!

*This is not sponsored content. The author is not affiliated with any of the tools suggested in the article.


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