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Rich Research at a Distance

Originally delivered at An Event Apart Online Together in June 2020, a talk about how to do remote research, keeping ourselves and our participants safe and well

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Rich Research at a Distance

  1. 1. Rich Research at a distance Cyd HarrellAEA Online Together
  2. 2. How can we keep good research going when the world has shifted?
  3. 3. 40+ million out of work in the USA 100,000+ lost to COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns Protest movement & repression Tech company layoffs Government budget cuts
  4. 4. We owe our participants more & have less capacity ourselves.
  5. 5. What we need to do research - Find participants - Obtain consent - Provide the prompt - Collect the response - Offer compensation - Bring home evidence - Take care of ourselves - Be good citizens
  6. 6. Participant journey See invitation Sign up Be selected Schedule Participate Be paid Whatever task they were doing Benefit of research Participate
  7. 7. Participant journey See invitation Sign up Be selected Schedule Participate Be paid Whatever task they were doing Participate Benefit of research
  8. 8. Remote Interview Care Making it easy to join Disclosures & consent Comfort for your participant Participate Be paid
  9. 9. If you don’t have a ... - receptionist - waiting area - observation room - envelope with payment
  10. 10. If you don’t have a ... - receptionist - waiting area - observation room - envelope with payment - Take on the memory burden - Create a landing page - Use it to set the tone & obtain consent
  11. 11. If you don’t have a ... - receptionist - waiting area - observation room - envelope with payment - Do your sessions in a “locked room”
  12. 12. Consent to record
  13. 13. If you don’t have a ... - receptionist - waiting area - observation room - envelope with payment - Turn off observers’ video - Turn off your video - Consider turning off participants’ face video
  14. 14. Seeing the important part
  15. 15. If you don’t have a ... - receptionist - waiting area - observation room - envelope with payment - Pay right away if you can - Be flexible about means - PayPal, Venmo, Ca$hApp, Square, gift cards
  16. 16. Warm neutral An interaction style characterized by - Receptivity - Interest - Friendliness - Appropriateness Participate
  17. 17. Don’t... - compliment views about your product - ask leading questions - compliment kids, pets - acknowledge hard times - praise detail - express sympathy & appreciation Do...
  18. 18. mm-hmm oh interesting right huh wow ohhhh... MM... I see that... Yeah
  19. 19. If your participant breaks into tears - “It’s ok, feelings are just fine here” - “Take your time” - “I wish I could offer you a hand to hold” - “Do you want to continue?”
  20. 20. If you need a moment - “I need to pause for a moment” - “Let me just catch up on my notes here” - “That’s a powerful story”
  21. 21. Finding Users There’s more to recruiting & scheduling when you won’t share space. Sign up See invitation Schedule
  22. 22. Where are the people with the problem you want to solve?
  23. 23. Research Participants - team members. - friends, not on your team. - target customers. - real users with recent experience. - real users with current needs. - real users with a need this hour. MoreReliableResults
  24. 24. In Person Are you available for a 1-hour interview at the downtown facility June 22-24? Parking is free. Are you available for a 1-hour call June 22-24? You’ll need to have your device & be somewhere with good wi-fi service. Remote
  25. 25. Recruiting from your properties logo logo
  26. 26. Snowball recruiting: Who else do you know who needs to deal with this issue? [ neighbor ] [ friend ] [ family member ]
  27. 27. Cluster recruiting: Who else in the organization had an important role in this moving forward (or not)? [ sponsor ] [ project lead ] [ hands-on staff ]
  28. 28. Closing the deal - send an invitation with clear details - mention where they signed up - explain the required tech setup in plain language - send a calendar invite if they use a calendar app - send a reminder one day before
  29. 29. Choosing Remote Tech - What do you need to see? - How many kajillion options arethere? - Which ones really work? Participate
  30. 30. Easy ~Doable~ Hard Science fiction desktop screensharing video recording mobile screensharing phone call recording back-camera sharing body-camera sharing drone research video conferencing
  31. 31. The world of conferencing
  32. 32. Common features - video conference (always) - easy screensharing (often one-click) - recording (in paid plans) - dial out to participant (sometimes)
  33. 33. Mobile screensharing too* *Fair warning: it’s not that easy to walk a participant through setup
  34. 34. Alternate mobile screensharing Photo by Jenn Downs
  35. 35. Alternate mobile broadcasting? private account + live + screen recorder = ?!
  36. 36. easy for your participant available to you captures what you need the right tech
  37. 37. Minimal-tech research - send your prototype or prompt - speak on the phone while your participant uses it - follow along with your own copy & ask for description as needed - use a call recorder if you can
  38. 38. Notes, Audio, & Video - Observers may be harder to host - Prioritize what you’ll need to show your findings - Respect your participant’s bandwidth
  39. 39. Video platforms - integrated recording - higher bandwidth demand - easy for you to call the participant - may be more comfortable - less likely to cut off - recording is harder Plain old telephone
  40. 40. Time-stamping notes allows easy video clipping Watch column D
  41. 41. Spreadsheet formulas for timestamping (1) =IF(B2="","",IF(C2="",NOW(),C2))
  42. 42. Spreadsheet formulas for timestamping (2) =IF(ISERROR(C2-$C$2),"",C2-$C$2)
  43. 43. Spreadsheet setting for timestamping
  44. 44. Beyond Interviews Asynchronous tools for long-term studies Participate
  45. 45. Diary studies: A research method used to collect qualitative data about user behaviors, activities, and experiences over time. -Nielsen Norman Group
  46. 46. Commercial - enhanced forms - SMS or email reminders - regular calls to check in Roll your own
  47. 47. A story aboutgetcalfresh.org
  48. 48. Synthesis without Walls How to make inferences & extract insights without sharing space
  49. 49. In-person - at least 2 hours - post-its - whiteboards - everyone together - prompts for pre-work - less than 90 minutes - write/draw, then show - online tool options - less than 5 people Remote
  50. 50. Write/draw, then share
  51. 51. Getting the Resources - What to pitch to stakeholders - How to ask for more time
  52. 52. 40+ million out of work in the USA 100,000+ lost to COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns Protest movement & repression Tech company layoffs Government budget cuts
  53. 53. Something has changed for everyone who touches your product
  54. 54. Before-times research could explain - oddities in analytics - weird feedback from customers - unexpected uses of products - strange hunches
  55. 55. What you must have - conference software with recording (pro plan) - budget for incentives if at all possible - extra time for recruiting - extra time for synthesis - permission to reflect & revise your research questions
  56. 56. We can honor our users’ needs & support each other as researchers even at a distance.
  57. 57. Thank you! See you right now for questions & @cydharrell any time you want to talk about this

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