Remote user testing during a lockdown

How we create better software for healthcare workers with remote user testing methods

Pragati Mehrotra
Jun 8, 2020 · 3 min read

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across India and the world, our Simple team is working remotely during the lockdown. Restrictions on travel mean we cannot visit healthcare facilities, co-create with our users, or gain first-person insights to improve our software.

But we did not drop the ball on our user-driven design philosophy. Our team experimented with tools and methods and adapted to the current situation.

We learned a lot from four remote studies conducted in the last five weeks.

Observation over the phone

We script our conversations to make the most out of a telephone call. And, we create simpler prototypes (less than 6–7 screens) so that we can easily follow along as they share their feedback while talking to us on speakerphone.

Empathy is more important than ever

We let silence happen

Cloud-based prototypes

Prepare for technical glitches


  1. Since users were not at work, we could have their undivided attention for an hour.
  2. More than 2 of us can listen to the participant’s responses over a conference call, without making the participants feel self-conscious.
  3. Without travel time to remote locations, we can conduct studies more frequently.

Remote research does not replace face-to-face conversation. We are eagerly looking forward to the day when we can visit healthcare facilities again and broaden our knowledge of our users and their context. Until then, we continue to explore ways to include them in our design process from the comfort of our homes.


The fast, free app for clinicians to manage their patients with high blood pressure.