How to start utilising the efficiency and flexibility of online qualitative research methods.

Online qualitative research methods of capturing insights are complementary to traditional approaches, but it is a methodology which will continue to grow as people choose to live, work and play online! While some people will just jump in (sink or swim), this is not necessarily the best way to take your first step. Not to dampen your enthusiasm, you will still need that, but like anything new, your first experience will not only determine the outcome of the project but will shape the attitudes of all those involved towards online qualitative research as a viable method. So how does one transition to online methods after building expertise capturing qualitative insights using ‘physical’ face-to-face focus groups and interviews? Anyone who remembers the movie ‘The Karate Kid’ will recall a moment when Mr Miyagi instructs the ‘Karate Kid’ to “wax on, wax off”, those of you who don’t, it just means from basic tasks comes greater knowledge and wider application of that knowledge. Start with something small, but invest the time in planning and treat it as a large project. One of the most constructive ways of introducing an online qualitative research methodology into your research mix is to start with a complementary scenario. What I mean by complimentary is choose a project where an online component will add value to the result, but if it doesn’t go the way you planned, it does not adversely affect the outcome of the whole project. This approach will constructively help you ‘test the waters’, but also add greater depth to your qualitative research project. If things don’t go the way you planned (as...

How to invite people to a community discussion

We often get asked: “What is the best way to invite people to an online discussion…”, in many cases, it will depend on the kind of group you are running, but here is one process that works pretty much all the time. When you invite participants to take part in an online discussion board, it pays to keep it simple! From the very beginning assume participants don’t know anything about the platform or process you are using. This doesn’t mean sending them a very long and laborious email detailing every aspect of the research method. A long-winded explanation only serves to create negative expectations and ultimately adversely affects the discussion board participation rate. To get an online discussion up and running follow this three step process: (I am assuming here you have already screened participants through some kind of recruitment process – this is a topic for another day.): I strongly suggest you make contact with participants before sending out the actual invitation to the discussion boards; this can be done by email or by good old fashioned telephone. I can’t tell you how many times we have seen discussion boards started where participants have no idea why they are receiving an invitation email to log into a forum. It only leads to confusion, frustration and in some cases spam complaints against your organisation. Send participants the invitation email from the discussion board tool; this should include the board details, start time, how long the discussion will last, how they should contact you if they have any issues, the username and password, and a link to your organisation’s website...

Agile research method – user experience diary

Obtaining real customer experience insights and not just making assumptions based on secondary (analytics data) is absolutely critical before finalising your concepts and requirements. There is no substitute for talking to real people about what you are proposing before investing real money in App or Website development. This article shows you how to use an agile user experience research method know as a user experience diary. Using an agile research user experience diary enables you to run ideas and concepts by a selected group from your target audience. An online user experience guided diary is a cost effective and time sensitive option to find out if people will understand and accept your idea. Agile methods of testing using online user experience guided diary enable you to set some tasks for individuals to complete over a particular period. The objective to confirm their needs and find out what works and what does not. You can ask a group of people from your user audience questions and present concepts to comment. From a user’s point of view, it is a one on one conversation with the diary and the organiser or moderator. You can also include a topic which includes wireframe images and selects a topic task to have individuals click on a website wireframe image based on a set of instructions you provided. The combination of both visual input and qualitative data in the form of comments provides both action and behavioural feedback Why an agile research user experience diary? Stay informed subscribe   First Name Please add your first name Email Address Please add your email address Submit A...

Agile testing of product and service ideas

“Test your ideas early and test them often!” a statement applied to both physical and digital products and services. When developing an idea into a product or service, it is far better to start testing at inception than wait until the horse has bolted. An idea evolved using co-creation, and agile testing is more likely to meet the needs and expectations of the target market. Agile testing of products or services shouldn’t be an afterthought, rather the cornerstone of your product development project plan. So why wouldn’t you test a product or service idea before going into full release? For large organisations, with established budgets, there aren’t any excuses. For small to medium sized businesses who work within fixed budgets – particularly start-ups – there are conflicting priorities, and it can be difficult to sell the value of pre-testing an idea. The discipline of agile testing can be especially challenging when dealing with entrepreneurial personalities, who tend to have an emotional attachment to the “next big thing”. For a person’s ego, it is a personal risk as well as a commercial one, especially if others shoot down the idea or financial backers push the founder to alter the idea from its original form. It’s only human nature not to want to hear your idea is not worth anything. For some, the personal attachment ‘s too great, and as a consequence, objectivity is thrown out of the window. But, the reality is that if it does not solve a real world problem, it’s just not going to fly. A failed product or service can be a costly exercise and leave...

Online surveys & discussions work hand in hand!

An online survey doesn’t always give you the depth of insight you might get from sitting down and having a two-way conversation with a person from your target audience. There is no doubt that online surveys are an easy way of facilitating a one-way question and answer session with many people at the same time, but it does require you first to craft one side of the conversation. There is a degree of guesswork involved because each question requires you to anticipate a response. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it does require you to have a good grasp of the intended audience and more importantly the objectives of you survey. Online surveys allow one way or asynchronous method of insight collection. Surveys are simply not built, or intended to facilitate two-way communication and engagement. Online surveys capture immediate responses and reactions to structured questions, but they do not promote the same level of discovery generated from a two-way (synchronous) post and answer discussion. Stay informedsubscribe First Name Please add your first name Email Address Please add your email address Submit Website and mobile survey environments train people to respond to questions according to a predefined response pattern, which means how the questions are structured and how they flow from one question to the next. In most cases, this tends to be short and sharp answer options framed by the question format. Surveys can also include open-ended text-based questions, where survey respondents type out a verbatim answer based on their interpretation of the question. People will often answer open text questions based on what they deem a ‘reasonable’ and ‘expected’...

Ultimate moderator’s guide: online focus groups.

There are typically two forms of real-time (live) online focus groups: the popular text chat online focus group and the video and audio online focus groups. Chat or text based online focus groups are a great way to start realising the benefits of using online focus groups. they are easy to set up and are very satisfying for participants who feel they are more part of an experience than a process. Reports and transcripts from the group discussion are available immediately. Webcam or video and audio based online focus groups are growing in popularity as internet speed and capacity increases. Video and audio groups require the participant to have access to a web camera and a set of earphones and a microphone. Not everyone is comfortable appearing on camera, but audio and chat focus groups provide a hybrid method for those topics which may require a little more personal sensitivity. How to plan a real-time (Live) online focus group discussion. Stay informedsubscribe First Name Please add your first name Email Address Please add your email address Submit The success of your online focus group is determined by the time you spend preparing your research plan /discussion guide. Like most online research projects, putting together an online real-time group typically adheres to an 80/20 rule, with 80% of your time spent planning and the remaining 20% actually conducting the group. The GroupQuality® built in Plan Manager provides you with all the help and tools you need to design an online discussion guide. A discussion guide includes topics you post to the group to both initiate and guide the groups discussion....