User research global update

User testing around the globe

The global spread of COVID-19 has impacted how we conduct user research. As travel and face-to-face communication are limited to different degrees across the world, it’s challenging to plan research 3-5 weeks out without knowing what type of research may even be possible. Using our global network of UX firms, we will continuously update the status of research methods possible in these key test locations. This is best efforts and intended to pass along our “boots on the ground” information.

In locations where remote, in-home, or in-lab sessions are still feasible, we are currently advising our clients to proceed with caution and plan for the impact of COVID (e.g. budget for larger over-recruit, screen for COVID exposure.

LAST UPDATED: 21 September 2020

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In-person testing is not currently allowed, but may be possible in late August or early September.

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Remote testing is still the focus throughout Canada. Restrictions on in-person testing and focus groups will be lifted in both Toronto and Vancouver in early August, but will continue in Montreal.

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Face-to-face studies should be temporarily avoided in Shengyang and Xingjian. It is still possible to execute face-to-face studies in Shanghai and other areas in China.

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In person testing is possible again, but no group activities. The situation may change during September as people return from holidays and schools reopen.

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Face to face testing (with strict hygenic measures) is possible again and has already been executed. Group activities with up to 8 people in a room are possible under certain conditions. Germany is experiencing a steady surge in cases as schools reopen and people return from vacation. The situation must be closely monitored in the coming weeks.

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India’s lockdown was lifted. However, face-to-face interviews are still not feasible. Remote is still the best research method at this point.

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Most areas are open. However, face-to-face interviews are highly discouraged.

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Offices in Italy are reopening with caution and a minimum presence. Face-to-face activities can be executed again with safety measures and group activities are possible with limitations.

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Cases are climbing and the many prefectures are requesting people refrain from traveling and stay home as much as possible. Face-to-face interviews are not suggested at this point.

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We are still working remotely in Kenya. We do, however, have lab facilities in place in Nigeria and have brought participants to the lab to ensure connection is stable. This can also be done in Kenya and in most other countries where we work. Moderation and translation are still taking place remotely.

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We do not anticipate being able to conduct anything other than remote testing for the next 3-5 weeks.

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The situation in the Netherlands is very positive and F2F activities (IDI as well as groups) are possible again and actively done. However, The Netherlands is seeing a slight surge in cases due to people returning from vacation and schools reopening. The situation must be closely observed over the next few weeks.

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We are still working remotely in Nigeria. We do, however, have lab facilities in place in Nigeria and have brought participants to the lab to ensure connection is stable. Moderation and translation are still taking place remotely.

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In-person lab testing is feasible with appropriate protective equipment. However, remote testing is still highly suggested. Focus groups are not feasible yet.

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South Africa is currently on lockdown level 2 with a curfew from 22h00 till 04h00. Most businesses are back at work with COVID-19 protocols in place (masks and sanitiser are now standard), but the economy has been massively impacted by the lockdown.

Mantaray has not yet started with in person research. We are sticking to the status quo for now with recruitment taking place in the field with COVID-19 protocols. There is a general feeling that participants do not want to expose themselves to the possibility of contracting COVID.

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F2F research is possible again in some areas of the country, e.g., in-person testing is possible in Madrid.

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All types of research are possible with specific hygiene measures.

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Feasible for all types of research. Moderators and participants are suggested to wear masks during interviews, not but mandatory.

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The UK is planning for one-to-one testing. In London, recruiters are happy to consider small group sessions of 6 or fewer participants. Overall, the COVID rates in the UK are low. There have been increases in some areas resulting in limited local measures. This could impact the ability to run sessions in some areas including Manchester and Glasgow. The situation can change, but overall the picture is a positive one.

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Desktop research and remote testing should be prioritized whenever possible, but in-person research can be conducted in support of commercializing essential products and services. Investigational Review Boards (IRBs) are approving in-person research in controlled environments when appropriate precautionary measures are taken. If, for example, research can be conducted in less affected geographical areas, participants can be screened for exposure and susceptibility, and the research environment can be adequately sanitized, in-person research may be possible. See our blog for guidance on planning appropriately.