remote research

Tutorial: Using a Mobile Research Platform for Multi-dimensional Ethnography

JULIA KATHERINE HAINES Google BOB EVANS Google Overview The TRACES methodology focuses on foundational research at multiple levels of granularity and across multiple dimensions, digital and embodied. It is an approach to gathering more meaningful data around people’s daily lives, as they move within and between different devices, services, environments and product ecosystems. In this tutorial, participants will learn about TRACES and how to implement it using the Paco mobile and desktop behavioral research platform. Paco is an open source tool used around the world in both industry and academia. It can capture both emic and etic perspectives using sensors and logs, surveys, experience sampling, triggers, and prompts. Background on TRACES and Paco: Toward Multi-dimensional Ethnography, Julia Haines Paco: Applying Computational Methods to Scale Qualitative Methods, Bob Evans This tutorial was presented in full at EPIC202020. The video includes instructor presentations; discussions and breakout sessions...

Scaling Out (Not Only Up): Distributed Collaboration Models to Get Work Done

ALICIA DORNADIC MindSpark NIKKI LAVOIE MindSpark SHEILA SUAREZ DE FLORES 10 10 10, Eco.tter ELVIN TUYGAN MindSpark In this catalyst, we the authors describe the benefits of ‘scaling out’: reaching out beyond one's organization to bring in external partners to accomplish UX research. Organizations scale out their research efforts in order to cover more ground, draw from more specialties, or conduct more research more quickly than they would be able to alone. As opposed to growing an in-house team to meeting research needs (‘scaling up’), scaling out can be a more inclusive approach to generating user insights, where the voices of diverse research partners throughout the world are brought together to produce powerful UX research outcomes. A case study example of work with suppliers and clients illustrates scaling out. Collective intelligence pushes scaling out even further, as it counts research participants, users and potential users as part of the network of partners who get work done. Keywords: distributed collaboration,...

Who Gets to Define Success?: Listening to Stories of How People Value Firefox to Redefine Metrics and Revive a Decommissioned Product

GEMMA PETRIE Mozilla Firefox JENNIFER DAVIDSON Mozilla Firefox Challenging measures of scale is possible through listening to stories of how people value a product, and envisioning ways to measure success beyond typical metrics like Monthly Active Use (MAU) or Daily Active Use (DAU). Understanding what people value is somewhat complex for a product like Firefox because people might use Firefox every day without thinking much about it. In this case study, we detail how we used Futures Thinking and participatory design methods to elicit stories of how people value Firefox. This case study demonstrates that a relatively small number of meaningful ethnographic insights can be powerful enough to influence business strategy. By creating the space for listening to stories and encouraging stakeholder involvement, we were able to make the case to save one of our mobile browsers, Firefox Focus, despite its lack of scale. Keywords: Diary Study, Firefox, Futures Thinking, Interviews, Mozilla, Participatory Design, Remote Research,...

Architecture Can Heal: Spatial Literacy to Protect COVID-19 Healthcare Workers

MICHAEL DOLINGER Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital ASHLEY MARSH MASS Design Group In April 2020, a study of The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City was conducted to better understand the challenge of adapting idealized infection control design guides to site-specific conditions during a pandemic. The study aimed to capture quick interventions that are working, offer a new hypothesis and framework to guide future design interventions, and share lessons to assist other medical facilities as they pursue their own necessary spatial adaptations moving forward. Three units repurposed for COVID-19 were studied. Using action cameras and cloud-based videoconferencing, clinicians helped designers remotely peer in real time to active COVID-19 units, create “heatmap” annotations of perceived risk by frontline clinicians, and conduct interviews with decision makers. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health care systems around the world to provide safe and effective care. Leveraging spatial design, architecture, and design...

Ethnographic Research in Remote Spaces: Overcoming Practical Obstacles and Embracing Change

photo of yellow blinds
by CHLOE EVANS, Spotify As an ethnographer and user researcher in industry a lot of my work depends on speaking to people face to face, understanding how they live their lives on their own terms and in their own spaces. Since the onset of Covid-19 both academic and industry researchers alike have been recalibrating how they conduct research in non-physical spaces by relying on remote tools and technology. Conducting research in a non-physical space has unexpected benefits as well as some challenges. The Importance of "Being There" The time corporate ethnographers have in the field is incredibly valuable; compared to academic ethnographers, we are able to spend far less time with people. Being in the same space is vital for us to understand how people use products and services for the companies we work for. For example, in a past role, I would have not understood the intricacies of how people experience pet store spaces in the US if I had not physically traveled there, spoken with dog owners, and followed them around the stores. Likewise,...

Recalibrating UX Labs in the Covid-19 Era

by STUART HENSHALL, Convo Early in 2020 as a result of Covid-19, Convo—along with companies around the world—moved all research in India to remote solutions. This was quite a change and presented new challenges to the research team. While our preference is almost always to go in-home, particularly for foundational and ethnographic research, for UX research a temporary though centralized “lab” is typically more time and cost efficient. This post focuses on the impact of remote methods on UX Labs where, paradoxically, remote methods can render the lab situation more ethnographic. India, pre-Covid-19 We are in a tier two city, sitting in a viewing room, looking in on the UX lab setup as a session was about to start. It was typical for India in many regards, with multiple cameras, various wires, and recording equipment set up in a temporary location (typically a hotel). Usually you can’t help noticing the wallpaper (it’s so not me) and the lights may be dim and fluorescent. In a few moments, our research participant will arrive....

Where is Remote Research? Ethnographic Positioning in Shifting Spaces

by JENNIFER COLLIER JENNINGS & RITA DENNY, EPIC “There’s a lot of talk about us ‘being there’, and what that means for our practice and what that means for the type of work that we say we do. The ground has shifted. How do we respond to that? It’s not just, ‘Oh, we’re temporarily working remotely, let’s just gather some new tools.’ We’re actually responding to a shift in the ground underneath us. And we still want to be able to ask questions in depth and gather data in a way that makes meaning for us.” —Nichole Carelock Ethnographers are recalibrating the spaces we inhabit with people. We can’t physically go into homes, workplaces, stores, cars, hospitals; we’re adjusting interview protocols to online environments, exploring software for remote diary studies, and creating virtual workshops. But as we onboard new tools for ‘being there’ with people, let’s think about what it means to be there in the first place. For decades ethnographers have pushed businesses and organizations to pay attention...

Supporting Real-Time Contextual Inquiry through Sensor Data

KATERINA GORKOVENKO University of Edinburgh DAN BURNETT Lancaster University DAVE MURRAY-RUST University of Edinburgh JAMES THORP Lancaster University DANIEL RICHARDS Lancaster University A key challenge in carrying out product design research is obtaining rich contextual information about use in the wild. We present a method that algorithmically mediates between participants, researchers, and objects in order to enable real-time collaborative sensemaking. It facilitates contextual inquiry, revealing behaviours and motivations that frame product use in the wild. In particular, we are interested in developing a practice of use driven design, where products become research tools that generate design insights grounded in user experiences. The value of this method was explored through the deployment of a collection of Bluetooth speakers that capture and stream live data to remote but co-present researchers about their movement and operation. Researchers monitored a visualisation of the real-time data to build up a picture...