Our safety protocol for in-person studies

Imagen de una mano junto a un bote de gel desinfectante

This week we have returned to our user research lab in Madrid with great excitement. We were eager to “re-open” since it means that we are finally recovering from the sanitary crisis and that we will soon return to the busy days of interviews and user tests in person. 

During the COVID19 emergency, we have been working remotely and adapted our studies to the new situation. Interviews, user tests, expert reviews, Design Sprints, surveys… We have carried out all projects remotely. Our participants have also managed to smoothly adapt to the new channels and online testing tools.

We are now ready to return to the new “normality” in our lab. Though this time, with detailed safety measures and new protocols that will ensure the protection of our team of researchers and participants. 

Safety Measures

Icono de una mujer con mascarilla

Compulsory use of FFp2 or FFp3 face masks

Both participants and our researchers will have to use a mask during the sessions. It’s important to remember that these masks should cover mouth and nose at all times and we should avoid touching it. Those participants who visit our lab without a mask will be asked to use the one our team will supply. 

icono gel desinfectante en teacup lab

Antibacterial gel will be available at all times

Our lab is stocked with antibacterial gel dispensers and gloves. its use will be recommended and encouraged at arrival, during breaks and before leaving the studio. Those who bring their own gloves will be invited to substitute them with the ones provided by the TeaCup Lab team. Also, gloves do not exclude the use of antibacterial gel. 

Icono de desinfección de las instalaciones en TeaCup Lab

The facilities and test stimuli will be disinfected between sessions

Between each session with users, we will clean the lab, the stimuli or devices and all surfaces or elements that might have been compromised. 

icono distanciamiento social en TeaCup Lab

Social distancing and installation of glass divider

It is of vital importance to respect the social distancing that has been determined by our national authorities. That is why moderators will stand far away form participants and will monitor their test through an additional screen instead of observing the participant’s screen. Also, we have installed a glass divider that will separate both.

icono botella de agua individual en TeaCup Lab

Individual drinks for each participant

Participants will be offered an individual water bottle that will be properly thrown away and recycled after the session is over.

New habits for the new “normal”

On the other hand, returning to in-person studies will imply some changes and adjustments in many of the steps of our research projects. Here are some of the changes we will apply from now on.


It is clear that we are stating to see the positive recovery of our routines in Spain. However, a large section of the population still mistrusts the situation and is not sure whether if it is advisable or not to go back normal. This could affect our recruitment of participants since it might become more complicated to find people that are willing to come physically to the lab. 

That is why, we will:

  1. When/if necessary, widen our recruitment periods and deadlines. We must take into account that agencies and panels might need longer to find the proper participants. 
  2. Try to limit the participation of users in COVID risk groups. This will help us protect those people that are more susceptible to the virus: over 60 y/o, people that suffer any arterial, heart or respiratory disease, cancer, immunodeficiency, diabetes, and pregnant women. 
  3. Inform participants about the safety protocols in our lab to reassure them about coming. 
  4. Be more generous with incentives during this period of adjustment.

Field Work

It’s important that participants feel safe and comfortable in our lab. That is why, besides offering the above mentioned safety measures, our researchers will:

  1. Explain the new protocol to each participant and will ensure all safety measures are met at all times. 
  2. Slow down the conversation and the rhythm of the sessions, especially in interviews since speaking with a face mask is difficult and tiring. 
  3. Avoid running long sessions to limit the possibility of infection. 
  4. Program sessions with a large break in between in order to have enough time to disinfect the facilities. 
  5. Incentives will be sent via email, instead of giving them in person. 
  6. Avoid having more than one participant in the waiting room. 
  7. Only carry out individual sessions. Focus groups will remain on remote mode for now.


On behalf of the TeaCup Lab team, we are positive and confident about this new normal. Being able to come back to our lab is great news and we are convinced that together we are definitely going to put an end to this virus. We just have to embrace these new measures and protocols. Even though we have demonstrated (again) that most user research techniques are as effective in remote mode, being able to be in “contact” with a user helps us to deeply understand, empathise and analyse data to a major extent. 

Our team is ready to assume new challenges and continue investigating with users to provide answers to our client’s difficult questions. 

Welcome back to TeaCup Lab!

We are experts in User Research.

Tell us about your project!


More from our blog