Safety guidelines for in-person research

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The world is opening up for business again

Our UX research industry, by its very nature, is about interacting and speaking with people. Since we haven’t been able to do this in-person with the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been using remote research tools and practices to provide some insights for our clients and product teams. Remote Testing in a Covid-19 world — UXalliance

  • Highly sensitive, classified concept validation testing
  • Financial software, demo or sensitive research
  • In-context, immersive and some ethnographic research (there are some mixed methods to gain deeper insights through remote tools, but it is not quite the same)
  • Wearables, eye-tracking, neuromarketing etc.

Are consumers ready to engage with in-person research?

Some countries are finding that people are willing and interested to participate, if the right safety measurements have been put in place. Every country has its own sets of fears and apprehensions with conducting in-person research after Covid-19. Some countries had severe lockdowns while others were a lot more relaxed. Ensure you are up to date with the regulations for the specific country before conducting research and ensure you address the safety concerns that participants may have in the country, context is key.

General considerations for in-person research

During lockdown we didn’t distinguish between studies involving a single participant or multiple participants. Remotely we were able to connect safely with any number of participants that was required for the study. However, in this phase of Social Distancing, you should consider in-person research with single participants only initially, rather than trying to accommodate groups.

  • Check the research facility’s deep cleaning protocol and safety guidelines and inform all members of staff, as well as participants of the measures taken.
  • Privacy and COVID-19 Health and Safety measures may be dependent on the country. You may need to collect additional information, like telephone numbers as well as basic temperature and other health data needed for Public Health Screening requirements.
  • Ensure adequate space for waiting and finished participants and ensure there is no overlap.
  • Ask participants not to bring additional people if you cannot cater for extra people in the reception area.
  • Avoid parallel tests and if unavoidable stagger the tests so they finish at different times and cross-over is minimised.
  • Allow for extra time (minimum of 30 minutes) between sessions to clean all the equipment. Ensure the lab, sled and all materials are disinfected between sessions.
  • Have cleaning kits for the teams and safety kits (wipes, masks, gloves and personal sanitiser) for the participants who do not have their own.
  • Avoid serving refreshments and food prior or during testing to avoid the removal of masks and sharing plates. Ensure you let recruiters and participants know and ask them to bring their own water and drinks.

Safety considerations for Recruiters

  • Have taken care of someone with Covid-19 in the last two weeks.
  • Have traveled from a hotspot area where Covid-19 is active.
  • Live with a first responder or healthcare professional working in Covid-19 care. (Except of course when the study is a healthcare study).
  • All incentives should be done online to prevent the exchanges of cash with electronic receipts.
  • Adhere to general safety guidelines

Safety considerations for Participants

  • Ensure the area where the interview will take place is well ventilated, move outside if needs be, keeping sufficient distance between the participant and moderator.
  • Ask whether you can clean the surfaces that will be touched by the researcher.

Safety considerations for Moderators

  • Offer disposable gloves and masks that work with voice recording equipment if this will make them feel more comfortable.
  • Allow the participant to stop the session if they feel uncomfortable. Allow more time between sessions to avoid contact between participants.

Safety considerations for Observers, Researchers & Translators

Keep calm and carry on researching safely

With adequate planning we can resume in-person research as each country eases their lockdown measures, but it will require extra planning and time to ensure safety protocols are in place. Be transparent with the client, recruitment agency and all people involved with this research to ensure everyone does their bit to be as safe as possible.

Join us for our panel discussion on this topic

Want to hear more from the UXalliance local experts? Why not join us on 24 June 1PM (CEST) and again at 6PM (CEST) for a live discussion on how to research in the times of COVID-19. Convert to your time zone

The UXalliance is a global network of 26 leading user experience firms with a global presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa & Oceania

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