Would you believe me if I told you that it took me a good month after its launch to convince a key colleague to load our Ethnographic Research App to his iPhone?
Well, believe me.
He wouldn't do it because he couldn't see the point of it. This colleague (I'll keep him nameless) is an extremely skilled film maker. It is he who manages other ethnographers in the field and is ultimately responsible for quality control when it comes to data captured.
"Siamack we use VIDEO CAMERAS!" he would say. "Not mobile phones."
His issue was that it might help tag and theme events as they are captured, but all you end up with is still a bunch of emails in your inbox which you have to sort through anyway before you even begin analysis.
"But we are going to building a web application that will display all the captured events and allow them to be searched, sorted and shared... bing bang boom!" I explained.
"Don't tell me. Show me." he countered.
A few weeks have passed since that conversation and I can tell you that we are a week or so away from airing a Beta version of the web application which will accompany the App. And I am so excited about the prospect of being able to return from the field to find all of my events waiting for me in neat chronological order. Waiting for me to then sort and filter them however I want to. And then you are ready for the most important part of all: analysis and interpretation. And here is where the web application excels.
I will explain...
The way we work at the moment means we have to return from the field with our films and notes and spend 2-3 days just encoding and placing everything on a timeline. Yes, we still use tapes. Then we have to cut the films up into themes and events. For example, snacking moments will need to be placed together in one bucket across all household. Only then are we ready to view the footage in what I call, blow-by-blow events. And it's in these like for like comparisons that we are able to think, be creative and add meaning.
So in many ways, for us, editing, analysis and interpretation go hand in hand. They are inseparable. And the web Application makes the process of organising, sorting and filtering many, many times faster, allowing you to concentrate on viewing events in any order you choose and, very importantly, view them again and again and again. (Repeat viewing of events is fundamental to the way we work. Don't believe me? Just watch this clip three times and see how much more you 'see' each time. Better still, watch it with a bunch of colleagues and a post-it note.)
This is how we come up with findings like the four step selection system, journeying, partitioning and planned impulse. I will blog these one day soon.
Below is a wire frame of a couple of the screens on our web application. Remember this will all be ready waiting for you on your return from the field.
The above screen shows the households from one project.
The image above shows what you see once click 'filter results' is clicked. But remember this is a Beta site with only 30% of the functionality of the final version which is a phase 2.
I would like to invite those of you who have our iPhone App to evaluate and provide feedback on the Beta when it becomes available. Send me a note and I'll send a link to the first 20.