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.