October 18, 2022

Remote research : A flexible way to generate user insights

Vasundhara Dhar

There’s no denying that the 2020 global pandemic has relegated almost all work as “remote”, and user research has significantly benefitted from this pivotal change.

Here, we look at some aspects of remote user research which make it an excellent augmentation to your current user research practices.

How has Remote Research benefitted researchers

  • Cost-effective: Online recruiting eliminates the need for a field team to travel and find participants for research. All you need is identify your users, find which digital channels they frequent and reach out.
  • Flexible: Beyond being cost effective, remote user research is also easier to set up without the trouble of assembling in a physical location. All you need is a good connection, a suitable device to conduct the research, and a tool or software with which to record the session.
  • Richer Contextualization: With users in familiar and comfortable spaces like their homes, they are likely to be at ease answering difficult questions, thinking out loud while performing tasks, and communicating with the researcher. This will often offer insights that you may not have thought to look for.
  • Demographic variety: The biggest drawback of in-person user research is being limited to a small audience which is available to the researcher. Remote research allows you to tap into a pool of users anywhere — giving you the advantage of sourcing key insights across socio-economic boundaries, location, professions, technographies, and more!
  • Speed & Efficiency: Simpler recruiting and scheduling enables faster remote research, especially if it is unmoderated — you can get results within a few hours. With ready-to-use templates and audio-visual enabled sessions you can start without any prior experience! It is definitely not impossible to recreate in-person scenarios — MUCH more realistically — remotely.

How can you excel at remote research

Once you’re ready to begin, follow these to plan, organize, and disseminate insights optimally.

  • Have a plan of action: Having a structure in place for the kind of information you need and who you need it from can make the conducting and filtering data easy and effortless. Categorize your participants, write effective tasks, and compile the right questions to make the most of a session.
  • Be transparent: Research participants should know exactly what they’re signing up for. A best practice is starting with a signed NDA. Always get approval from participants for video enabled sessions and ask if sessions can be recorded.
  • Reduce friction: When choosing products, tools, or systems, what do you look for beyond privacy protection or functionality? Frictionless experiences, right? Keep that in mind when setting up research sessions. Regular, timely reminders, easy onboarding, and simplicity will positively impact no-show rates. Keep the sessions short, ask open ended questions with a purpose, and you’re bound to get the answers you need.

Innovation is about trial and error — this stands true for every segment of the process, including user research. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or impossible. What’s important is that you get started.

If you still need some direction, reach out to us at hello@userstudy.co and let’s research together!

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