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Illustration by Noelle Blatz
SHIFTING GEARS
Taking user research and design online
By Pragati Mehrotra — Lead Product Designer

Talking to the users that we're building products for is always our top priority. 

We love reading between the lines during our field visits, and gaining confidence to design for users from their candid feedback and expressions of confusion and joy.

That said, we've begun a shift to remote user research and design due to both the pandemic and our larger decision to become a remote-first organisation. We were already quite familiar with asynchronous and remote work with clients in other cities and countries. But we've taken this time to evolve our research methods for the new normal and continue to connect candidly with users, include their voice in our design process, and validate our ideas.

Many of these methods came about during our recent work for Simple where we had the opportunity to experiment and understand remote research even better, given the challenging on-ground conditions. Factors such as limited internet connectivity, lack of access to higher-end technology, and heavy workloads called for easier and better research systems.

Some remote research methods that have been working for us across projects include:

  • Conducting telephonic interviews more frequently with our users
  • Creating easy-to-open cloud-based prototypes that don't require software downloads
  • Sharing video prototypes and images over WhatsApp in the case of technical glitches
  • Conducting Design Sprints on Figma to aid collaboration and ideation
  • Self-documenting engineering and design processes during the build and delivery stages

Despite initial challenges, we have been able to gain valuable user feedback across all projects — and it's just enough to help us develop deeper empathy, connect emotionally and identify the right problems to solve.

We've also begun to change how remote design works for us internally — by moving the intensity of decision-making during Design Sprints to Figma, and better documenting every minor tweak and major overhaul, among other methods.

We look forward to evolving our remote user testing methods well into the future, without dropping the ball on our core aim: building for the people, with the people it's intended for.

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OBVIOUS CURATES
More perspectives from around us
What Makes Remote Design Work

Vishwanath Pasumarthi, Obvious
The linchpin to making remote design work is ensuring high levels of collaboration and visibility across projects. Ways of doing that include devising better video call protocols, moving Design Sprints online, and working in the (virtual) open.

READ IT HERE →


Remote Usability Tests: Moderated and Unmoderated

Nielsen Norman Group
The benefits of remote usability testing stretch far beyond making things work during a pandemic. They enable better customer insights when travel budgets are small, time-frames are tight, or test participants are hard to find.

READ IT HERE →

 

Remote Testing in a Covid-19 World

UXalliance
UX researchers are familiar with remote studies, but most have focused on in-person methods, so experience of remote research can be limited. Remote testing can offer many advantages, and there's merit in being able to strike a balance between in-person and remote research methods going forward.

READ IT HERE →

 

6 Tips for Remote User Testing

InVision Inside Design
What makes remote user testing work: Plan as much as possible, be clear and concise, keep the tests short, focus on one task at a time, pilot test your test, and be open to frequent iterations.

READ IT HERE →

 
Conducting user research while people must stay at home 

Government of U.K.
User research does not have to stop during a pandemic, but we need to think carefully. As user researchers, we have a responsibility to those participating in research, and we need to take care of our own health and well-being.

READ IT HERE →

IN OTHER NEWS
Updates from us 

Say Hello to Obvious X

Obvious X is a high-agency, high-autonomy product arm dedicated to solving new problems and building prolific products — all in-house.

READ MORE HERE →

Distinguished Design Podcast

Pragati Mehrotra and Daniel Burka share where the idea for Simple came from; how they got involved with the project and where it’s going next.

LISTEN TO IT HERE →

Subcontinental feature
on The Hard Copy

A free, customisable library of illustrations with Indian avatars and environments made by Obvious!

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