Tech. checks are always worth it
by Sophie Corbin,

Tech. checks are always worth it

In the world of project management for researchers, one tool that has become essential is tech checks. These online pre-session meetings with participants allow us to check their technology, confirm session times and dates, and prepare them for what to expect.

Our tech checks, which are 10 minute sessions ahead of research, have evolved in the last few years due to the shift of remote working, which presented new challenges to ensuring smooth research days.

In this article I explore the benefits of incorporating tech checks as a standard research ops routine.

1/. Making Sure Tech Works

Ok this first one is obvious, but all participants that we conduct research sessions with need to join us via Zoom on their own device. Without a thorough tech check, there is uncertainty around the reliability of their technology, and the individuals understanding of using the tools.

Tech checks are our problem-solvers, addressing potential issues that may occur like microphone glitches and screen-sharing hurdles to avoid any valuable research time being wasted.

2/. Preparing Participants

Tech checks do more than just ensure technology works; they offer an opportunity to ready participants. Addressing their uncertainties and providing a high-level overview of what will be expected of them during the session helps to break the ice sooner. It’s a chance to make them feel more comfortable with the research experience and hopefully enable them to be open and honest when communicating with us as they help us with our project.

3/. Ensuring Participant Quality

As you are trying to build rapport, tech checks also give you the chance to quality check. Ensuring participants align with the project brief is critical. Individuals that don’t meet the project brief won’t provide compelling insights as they are unlikely to use the service you are testing. Tech checks prevent ill fitted individuals from joining a research session and they can be swiftly re-recruited before the research day and maintain the integrity of the research.

4/. Clarifying Session Logistics

For participants, agreeing to take part in research can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, especially when dealing with multiple parties. Tech checks allow for the clarification of session details. Ensuring participants’ readiness, addressing any outlining questions, and checking they have received all the necessary documents that need to be completed before the session.

Having the chance to talk with the participant helps to squish any lingering anxiety. It’s also a chance to check who is ready and who needs guidance or a reminder of what needs to be completed, reducing the risk of no-shows due to oversight.

5/. Resolve Issues Ahead of the Research

Tech checks aren’t just about checking boxes; they are about identifying any ‘flags’ as early as you can. Whether it’s poor Wi-Fi connection or a participant who is not willing to share their experiences with you, tech checking participants prevents discomfort for all involved. We also need to ensure the participant turns up on the right device as per the recruitment brief, i.e. mobile or desktop. Discovering these issues early avoids the need for early session termination and having to re-recruit and reschedule the session.


In the grand scheme of research ops and project management, tech checking ensures participants are not just present but well-informed and at ease. They are a tool to help architect a smooth research process whether you are conducting 121 sessions or interactive workshops. With tech checks you can feel confident in the quality of participants, in meeting client expectations, and in the overall success of your research.

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UX Consultant Emma Peters

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