Before you go: Organizing a successful immersion
The success of an immersion trip depends on preparation before the team departs. Trips lasting five days with 8-10 participants work best because it’s easier to clear schedules for short time periods.
Prepare the team
The first step is communicating the value of the research trip. Make sure the purpose and goals are clear to all participants and assign roles ahead of time.
It’s also crucial to recruit teammates from different backgrounds. A diverse field team includes engineers, product managers, marketers, and leadership. A variety of disciplines merge different viewpoints, allowing teammates to learn from each other’s unique observations. Balance distribution of gender, race, ethnicity, and background to allow participants to feel comfortable.
Before the trip, participants should also become familiar with local current events and culture. Read local news sites, listen to radio programs, and watch documentaries or films about the place you’re visiting.
Planning questions and practicing interviews
Clear research questions are crucial for conducting in-depth interviews. Questions can get at broad topics, like understanding how people in rural settings use technology, or be more specific, like follow-ups after testing a prototype.
Get in touch with local partner teams and research agencies well in advance for advice. Locals can help provide feedback for your team’s approach and research questions. The team’s UX researcher should also teach participants how to interact with people during interviews, sharing advice on what kinds of questions to ask, when to ask them, and how to monitor body language.
Set up training workshops for team members who haven't participated in an immersion trip before. These trainings should include information about what to wear and which local customs to follow. For example, company swag or company-branded clothing could bias user interviews, so teams are better off wearing clothes that help them blend into the local landscape.