working remotely

How COVID-19 affected my research and notion for remote work


Hi, my name is Johannes Geiser, a Master student in Human- Computer Interaction at Uppsala University. I started with my Masters two years ago in Sweden before I did my Bachelors in Media and Information Science with a focus on Psychology and Informatics. My work is done in collaboration with the research project STRIA. With the close support of Dr. Åsa Cajander and Dr. Marta Lárusdóttir, I will aim to answer how UX Professionals apply UX Methods and practice Lifelong Learning. With this journal, I will keep track of things which happened, how I adapted and evolved, and announce interesting findings. Whilst writing this the outbreak of Corona happened I will describe in my first blog post how this affected me in my work but also how it affected my results.

2020-03-23: How Corona affected my research and how I saw how my results were shifting.

On the 2nd of March, I started conducting interviews, 13 in total, which I finished on the 17th of March. Pretty normal at the beginning with notice and awareness of COVID-19 being far away. Halfway through my interviews, the spread of Corona got more intense and countries went on lockdown, although not in Sweden. However, even at that moment, many people were shifting to remote work to decrease the spreading. This included also my participants, who demanded remote work/home office. Since I already had prepared some interviews remotely I adapted to my participants demand of conducting the interview remotely.

Preliminary and interestingly from the results, being physically close to a person and using personal methods were mentioned as really important in the earlier interviews. However, the answers shifted towards more remote UX methods during the last interviews. They suddenly saw a social aspect in the remote work as well or demanded it in the methods. For myself, the university shifted from a “non-possible” approach for doing things remotely to making most things now possible to manage online. This makes me wonder if they will adapt to more remote work in the future or go back to how it was before. Also, it changed my own perspective on productive tools. Even though Google Docs delivers excellence in collaboration it does not work effectively offline and local on a device. Therefore, I shifted entire workflows so that I always have a backup that works offline. In my case, I will make use of tools like Apple Pages and Microsoft Word which do not demand an Online connection such as Google Docs.

For my studies, I finished transcribing during this weekend and will start analysing now. I hope to not only find interesting results for my research question but also about the answers about how UX professionals shifted in their work, learning and their demand for UX methods after the Corona outbreak.

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