Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Time to use mobile to emancipate respondents















House moving (which I am in the middle of) = IKEA. The two go hand in hand. And what is sad is that many of the things I am getting rid of are old IKEA pieces which just look... grubby. But please don't think we have only IKEA products in our new home. I think somewhere I have a mirror from Habitat too.

So with IKEA being at the very centre of my reality right now, I was intrigued to find this article in today's BBC online. Have a read and you will see that Ikea are giving away cardboard digital cameras with built in swing out USB as part of their 'launch activity' for a new furniture range. What a FANTASTIC idea. Every brand should give away a free USB camera, heck video camera even, to ask people to show them how their product is used.

Suppose, I thought to myself, IKEA ask people to take pictures of their front rooms - before and after. Or perhaps they want people to take images of assembly nightmares. Whatever it is, I'll bet it's a question or a task of some sort (we will find out in due course).

When setting up EthOS projects, clients often ask me to look at the tasks and questions they have devised for respondents. I, in turn, ask them to think about the following:

  1. Don't set respondents question after question or task after task, ask them to make you films on the topic you are interested in. Only they won't need to edit the film together - you do that - they just supply the edits and audio. In short don't be afraid to set big tasks. Mobile is not always about short and snappy.
  2. To engage respondents you need to emancipate respondents. Let them know how your findings will be used. Let them understand how their inputs will impact future company decisions. Right from the outset.
  3. Don't forget to specify audio tasks. Audio is excellent for letting people reflect on situations at length without the added pressure of filming.
  4. If you have an idea of what kind of outputs you are expecting, make some example films/audio and pictures and share them on the project upfront. A kind of quality benchmark to aid consistency across large samples.
  5. Moderate, moderate, moderate! Which means encourage, comment and ask questions. Take them into WorkSpaces and ask them to comment on each other's entries and compare notes. Make them feel part of something big.
  6. Don't just ask respondents to film themselves. Empower the to become your very own ethnographers filming happenings within their own families and communities.

And finally, do think of mobile qualitative as traditional qualitative conducted with smartphones. The inputs and outputs are very different. They certainly, in my humble opinion, will never replace one another.



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