PhD fieldwork involving usability tests with a vulnerable group of participants suffering from arthritis, and unfolding during a pandemic, is found to be a complex endeavor, as explained in the following case study. This case examines how the lead author, a PhD student, has had to alter the Research Plan and usability test protocols used during important stages of an industrial design fieldwork program and through waves of COVID-19 infection. The aim of the article is to consider and discuss how activities are reimagined to shape a specific PhD research project in the context of lockdowns, social distancing, resource limitations, and safeguarding of stakeholders. In particular, it examines changes to usability testing protocols during the pandemic compounded by six participants (aged 50 and over) with various arthritic conditions. Apart from outlining the experiences of the PhD student, this study discusses the importance of transforming the design of experimental methods for usability research, during pandemic-related restrictions. This study proposes guidelines for adapting research and supervision practices that may be useful for future postgraduate students in navigating challenges such as COVID-19.
|Number of pages||33|
|Journal||The International Journal of Design Education|
|Publication status||Published - 6 Sept 2023|