Happy New Year! 2021 <3

What a year to look back to! Of course there was a lot of negative developments in the world in 2020 and I don't want to get into that right now - you wouldn't want to read about it anyway, I suppose! However, on the work side of things, I think 2020 may have helped our profession with regard to two things specifically:

Remote Testing

I have the feeling that this is an unpopular opinion as testing in a laboratory is always displayed of the ideal setup, which of course it is. However, after having performed hundreds of tests remotely and in the laboratory, I must say that remote testing comes pretty close to testing in a lab. While there are some techniques that would be hard to do online, for most usability tests, my estimate would be that you get between 95% and 100% of the same information as you would in a lab.

Thus, it is questionable if the extra costs, time and effort necessary for everybody involved (moderator, participant, project management, observers - very often, we're talking about 10+ persons)  is a reasonable investment. Especially, if you consider the ecological impact on travel etc. This year for the first time ever, I had a full testing day where actually all participants showed up!

So in sum, I think it was important that many companies tried remote testing for the first time and saw its benefits in action!

Virtual Networking

This year was my most efficient networking year ever! I already wrote another article about how much I love virtual conferences (here) but I have to say that I was able to attend way more business events than I usually would (my guess is between 20 and 30), I made more relevant contacts and in a hassle-free way than in any other year (more than 60), I was able to attend an important conference when I twisted my ancle and was able to cool it all day long and I attended events that otherwise I wouldn't have been traveling to, such as meetups in London and Utrecht and a conference in the US, that started at 10pm our time! I also was able to check out events without "investing" too much time and money, so I know better what to focus on in the future. 

Of course, it would be nice to meet some of these new contacts in person at some point in the future, but I really hope that conferences and meetups will not completely go offline again but maybe do remote versions every other year or try a hybrid concept in the future.

In sum, these are two good things that the pandemic has brought to the user research industry. I hope they will stay (in some capacity).

Lets look forward to 2021! 

06.01.2021, Image from Pexels on Pixabay.