Video focus groups requires a shift in your thinking

Those who are moving online for the first time to work, or to run online video research groups, or any kind of video and audio group for that matter, you will need to shift your thinking significantly! I feel that a lot of people still are not getting it! Firstly, there is no magic button you can turn on which will replicate face to face interaction online, not unless someone has invented a holodeck (sorry Star Trek reference to holographic video) and it is business as usual. Let’s talk about the hot topic, especially in market and social research – video focus groups. The reality is that the Australian NBN can handle a lot more demand; however, the distribution and retail suppliers may not have the infrastructure in place to meet that demand. We are going to see the growth in online usage in a few months to the level that most suppliers were not going to expect for another five or even ten years down the track. You will need to adjust and learn quickly and you will need to prepare for issues. The common issue will include: Participants, moderators and clients not knowing how to turn on cameras and microphones. Feedback whistling because the participants do not have access to earphones or have not worked out how to send sound to the earpiece and not the speakers. Drop-outs and drop-ins of video and audio Freezing images on screen but sound still coming through. Degraded and pixelated video images. That terrible echo noise because the microphone is not correctly noise-cancelling. The bigger your video groups, the more degraded...

Faster, Cheaper, Better – yes, you can have them all!

Faster, Cheaper, Better – yes, you can have them all! There are a few articles flying around that state for a product or service you have three fundamental options: Fast, Good and Cheap, but you can ever only choose two? When I first saw this, I thought, yep that’s about right. However, when this label started to get slapped onto every manner of product and service, something didn’t quite feel right. In fact, in today’s world, with the availability of agile and iterative tools and services, it is not fait accompli. Not only can you have all three attributes, but you should also be striving for Faster, Cheaper and Better. A mantra that continues to drive our business and now demanded of us! (Image Source) This is how it goes; you have the above three options for a product or service of which you can only ever choose either: Fast & Cheap, but not Good. Fast & Good, but not Cheap. Cheap & Good, but not Fast. So where did this come from? Its origins are in the project management triangle (left). A project manager’s tool used for defining and measuring a project goal. In short, it’s a planning tool to determine what the end product looks like. It now seems to be used by any incumbent in any industry which is being upset by disruption. In an article posted on business.com: “Fast, Good or Cheap. Pick Three?”. It argues that by applying an Agile and Lean process for product development, you can have all three. A statement that anyone who has worked in the SaaS industry knows to be exact! With...

Is your online research implementation terrible?

There are some great research and insight project implementations, including surveys and online Insight communities. However, there are also some terrible ones. So for the participants are about as exciting as reading a dictionary from A-Z or requiring an input which is as laborious as writing your name out a thousand times. To be clear, you don’t have to entertain people when conducting research, but you do have to make it easy for them to participate and complete. When the participant or research respondent spends less time trying to understand what you’re asking the more time they have answering your questions. Whether you’re introducing a new survey or you’re setting up the guidelines for a five-day online insight community, never assume that the participant who is taking part knows what you’re anticipating. Sometimes we get so involved in the project that we’re creating that we communicate to the participant as if we were talking to one of our peers. So, here are some basic guidelines to help improve the usability of any research: Assume the respondent or the research participant knows nothing, behave as if you were introducing the research methodology. Use precise and plain language, and where ever you can dot points no higher than three will help frame your thinking to provide a clear and accurate message. If you can use imagery to help get the point across do so but don’t use imagery just because you think it looks nice, it has to have contacts and purpose. The last thing that you want to do is influence the research result by using an image to reframe...

User Experience issues in online market research

Do you collect feedback or customer insights? Did you test the online data collection experience first? Failing to check how your online market or social research set-up works with your target audience is likely to result in participant frustration and poor data collection. For those conducting their online surveys and online focus groups, a bad research participation user experience will deflate brand opinion and negatively skews the results. You only have to look at the Australian 2016 census survey fiasco to understand how a bad experience can lead to participant frustration. Look at some of the – not so rosy – comments received from participants completing online customer feedback and online research projects: “Why are you asking me to fill out this question, it’s not relevant to me?” “I can’t open this file, how am I supposed to comment on it?” “You haven’t told me how to share my video?” “Why am I getting this email and where did you get my name from?” “Oh, you didn’t tell me I needed a webcam!” “I can’t upload my file its in the wrong format, how do I convert it?” You may not even know you have created a user experience problem, or people are becoming frustrated by missing or poorly designed instructions. Most of the time participants will just give up or drop out. These kinds of issues mean you spend most of your day troubleshooting and redesigning the project when it should be running. Last minute changes don’t end well for the participant or customer and certainly doesn’t pan out well for you. How to minimise poor user experience...

5 steps to chat-based online focus groups success

Conducting a face to face, traditional style, focus group requires careful preparation to ensure the ninety-minutes spent with the panel of people is not wasted. Tasks such as checking your audio and video and making sure the refreshments are ready to be served.  You have people arriving in the waiting room where they are reading their consent slip, which explains their right and obligations by participating. The observers are already waiting for the group to start in another room looking at the group area through a one-way mirror or a video monitor. Just like traditional focus groups an online chat focus group takes the time to prepare but enables you to cut out a lot of the noise, expense, time, logistics and group dynamics. online chat focus groups are built for scale! Once you prepare for one group the easier, faster and cheaper it will be to conduct additional online focus groups. To get the most out of a chat-based online focus group follow these five steps for success. Schedule groups to run on a day and time that suits you and your participants. Forget about traffic and travel time, it’s no longer relevant, but do think about the times your participant’s might be sitting down to dinner or relaxing at home for the evening. Leave it too late and they become too relaxed and are likely to forgo participating at the last minute, start it too early you might not give them enough time to get home. Check with the recruiter, or the participants, what are the best times and choose a time which meets everyone in the...

7 recruitment tips for online qualitative research

The key to successful people recruitment for online qualitative research projects begins with the first contact. Being able to clearly articulate what you expect of participants and how you will reward them. Recruiting for online research is different from traditional recruitment methods. It requires an agile and proven online approach, as well as understanding how to engage participants once they enter the group. Participants recruited need to be able to jump on-board and learn how to use the online technology while participating, and without having to be trained in how to use the software before the group begins. A requirement for participant training only adds to the cost of recruitment and creates unwanted friction before the project has even started. 7 tips for online research automation recruitment: Don’t be afraid to inform – include a summary of the purpose of online focus group or discussion. To do this you need to understand what you are asking them to do and what value their contribution will make? The incentive reward is vital, but you will get an improved buy-in if you can help participants identify with the subject matter. We all like to be valued, and the same goes for individuals’ opinions. If people feel their views are appreciated they would be more likely to log into your group after a long day’s work. Set clear expectations and confirm – include a clear list which provides a summary of what people can expect when agreeing to participate in an online focus or community discussion group. A confirmation email should outline what a participant can expect on the day, and what...