Remote research is having a moment. We've all adjusted our research plans to be more digital in this time of social distancing.

But in switching to digital methods, we run into a few potential access issues: what tech devices our participants have access to, and how much (or how little) data, wifi, and broadband access they have.

We just made obvi 100% text-only capable to reduce the device and wifi needs of our research participants. But even participants with smartphones and fast internet might have less access than normal—or simply less energy and headspace.

Here are 3 tips for making ANY obvi text diary study more minimal and efficient:

  1. Ask for an emoji. 👍 Emojis are a part of how we communicate in our digital lives. Try requesting one in your next assignment!
  2. Request a specific photo. Specificity will get you clearer research data. Instead of asking "show us 5 photos of your closet", ask “send us a photo of the most annoying part of your closet and  tell us about it".
  3. Reduce the number of video assignments. They take a lot of bandwidth to upload. They take the most time to make. And if you're talking about a sensitive topic, there might not be a safe, quiet place for a participant to make the video.

Every small step we take to adjust to our participants' context keeps them at the center of our work.