Using Skype, Joinme and Webex.
I had the pleasure to conduct User Research remotely from Dublin with people living in Boston, Munich, Paris, Tokyo and so on.
Materials and preparation, 3 simple tools:
1) Skype to have a video call.
Almost everyone can use Skype even as a personal communication tool, so I don't have to spend time confusing the interviewees explaining how to use a new tool. Skype is great for it unless the company is not allowed to use it. It happened to me before and in such a situation I had to use be flexible enough for my audience and I used Webex instead. See here how I used Webex interview with a particular client.
2) Joinme. I send a “Joinme link” to start sharing my desktop. I picked this software for 2 simple reasons: the first one is because it’s really easy to use for any user (I just copy and send the link to my interviewee, and he/she immediately start seeing my desktop without any kind of previous installation which may require some technical background). The second one is because is free, so It doesn’t require any extra budget.
3) Audacity. An excellent free tool option to record audio from your computer. I press record it once I start the conversation with my interviewees (always asking them for their authorization to record first).
Conducting the Interview.
I send a contact request to my interviewee and once he/she accepts, I start the conversation saying a simple “Hi there! Thank you for adding me. Are you ready to have our interview?” and then everything start being smoothly for both of us.
Once I call them, I ask again to check the video camera and the voice and I always introduce myself with some warm up speach about my background as an Interaction Designer and the porpouse of this interviews. Once we finish with the introduction, I normally send the Joinme link, so my interviewee can see my desktop and then I start record the voice.
Here I’m explaining the 2 parts of the interview:
1) The MBTI profile. I ask to my interviewees to read the questions and based on the results to pick the most accurate to them personality (this really help me out to create Personas or just group people). Here you can see the template.
2) Just then I go through to the second part of my interview, the User Journey of the task I want to do my research about. At this point of the interview I need to share my desktop. Because the interview is remotely and people need to live and understand the area of the template I am placing emoticons or writing what they are telling me.
Most of the time we talk about actions related to feelings or thoughts in a timeline, so, it’s very important to recreate an atmosphere as if we were in the same room talking.
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