Find collaborative ways to conduct user interviews online.
Sometimes budget, time and distance constraints prevent from traveling to a specific destination to run stakeholder or user interviews. Conducting the sessions via phone or video calls is a good solution, even if engaging the participants in deep and complex conversations is not always easy, especially without all the supportive materials that usually help during face-to-face sessions.
One strategy to overcome the distance is to use simple cloud-based tools as support to collaboratively work on something while talking on phone or video call. A simple document in Google slides could be use to both reinforce the questions/topics of the conversation and set the ground for some quick collaborative exercises (e.g. prioritizing the functionalities of a product or draw together the information architecture of a website).
Enriching remote conversations with collaborative tools facilitates both the participant and the researcher by providing a constant visual reference and giving the idea of evolving the dialogue into a tangible vision. The generated output helps making sure that the researcher is interpreting what the participant is sharing in the right way, which may not be the case when talking on the phone.
There is a large variety of options in terms of tools that could be used for remoteinterviews and co-design sessions, often optimized for specific types of activities (post-it walls, mind mapping, etc.). We noticed that relying on simple tools like the Google suite ones can lower down barriers in terms of accessibility and allow to start streight away, also when the internet quality and connection devices are not great.