Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ad:tech: Will you be there?

I'll be doing a 20 minute gig on, Mobile is making great insight work faster, easier and cheaper; and other lies. First given with Ross Mclean at MRMW earlier this year.

If you are there, come and say, Hi. I'll be the short fat Iranian guy on stage.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My issue with privacy

I was talking to a client side colleague based in Germany about ethnographic release forms.

"We need and we obtain unlimited releases from respondents for all projects." she told me. "And they don't care what we do with their content."

By which she meant that they can use the data, video, interview in whatever way they wished. Respondents were effectively selling all their rights to those image in return for an incentive fee or a gift.

Good luck with that! I thought to myself.

Try telling a respondent in the US, Europe and even Asia Pacific that you want complete control over their footage. And they will show you the door. Not just because they value their future privacy - once the project is over. But because they are becoming increasingly aware of their rights.

"Do you not think", I asked, "that those same respondents won't come after you if they feel you have misused their information in some way? Do you think those releases actually mean anything to a very annoyed respondent?"

The days of unlimited and unrestricted release forms are fast disappearing. And more importantly, are not worth the paper they are written on. In my humble opinion.

The problem isn't the study itself. A client/agency can be explicitly clear about why they study is taking place, how their images will be used and who will view their images. The problem arises once the project is over. The content remains online for the client to access. Except clients will eventually need to access the content for reasons not originally explained to the respondents. Something called mission creep. Mission creep occurs when a colleague from (let's say) category management comes and asks you (let's say the research manager) to download a clip for presenting to a bunch of retail customers at an event. You have no way of contacting the respondent. And you don't want to compromise an important presentation.

My argument all along as been that using mobile tools we can give ownership to repondents themselves. On EthOS, as from today, a project owner can toggle on a permission feature during or after a study has been completed.

See the monitor downloads check box? Tick it...

Each time an entry is download, the respondent receives a request

Important note: This is an optional feature. And if activated, respondents do not, yet, need to 'release' an entry. We have designed this feature as a BETA test. And we will collect feedback from users and respondents about whether or not it works and how we can improve it.

Next step is to get ESOMR, MRS and legal people to have a look at this.


Monday, September 17, 2012


He smiled as soon as I took his photo and smiled back at him

I would never call myself a frequent traveller, but every three months or so I do have a long haul trip somewhere. And I usually always take my trusty Ricoh GRDIV to take some snaps.

I was in Indonesia kick starting a project only a couple of weeks ago. Our client didn't want an agency involved (we had plenty to recommend), they wanted us to run the explorations from beginning to end. This meant one of us physically being there to meet and train the client, work with the recruiters and visit respondents. A week's worth of work in the world's 4th largest country whose primary religion is Islam.

Here are a few pictures I took when we were visiting respondents. Remember an earlier post I wrote about how video becomes your memory of an event but photos stimulate your memory of an event? These are proof.

Most of my people shots are from waist height

Isn't this dangerous?

School boys


Waiting for a friend to turn up...


Thursday, September 13, 2012

A truly, truly unmissable Webinar.

Join me on Thursday the 27th of September so I can share with you:

Recently added features around notes and privacy
New features to socialise the platform much more than before
Our plans to open up an online shop
A canned app with pre embedded projects for crowdsourcing
And more.

Click to choose a time below:

0900 GMT
1600 GMT 

It'll be fun. I'll be giving our roadmap away - again - on a silver plate, again. So join me!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

EthOS project manager’s checklist – this is not an instruction manual

Who is this checklist for?
Anyone who is managing an EthOS project for the first time. Please make time to go through this document, don’t rush it. If you still have questions, use our support link. If you want a walk through of the platform – we will do as many as needed to help you get started – drop us a note, again, using support.

Let’s begin
There are a series of steps to this checklist:
1)    recruiting your respondents
2)    setting up the project
3)    inviting respondents to your project
4)    before the project starts
5)    once the project starts

If you feel I have missed anything please let me know so I can include it!

1) Recruiting your respondents
Remember our apps come in about 15 languages. If you need have more languages, just ask.

Our preference is that you recruit iPhone or Android users only. However, we do have a Blackberry app to which works extremely well. The only challenge is that company or Enterprise Blackberry’s rarely work as they should with our App. Personal Blackberry’s will work fine, but still, nothing like as smooth as the Android and iPhone apps.

The minimum smartphone OS versions we support are as follows:
iPhone iOS 5
Android 2.2
Blackberry OS 5

Be clear that respondents:
must have downloaded apps onto their devices previously. We recruit so many iPhone owners who have never had iTunes accounts or downloaded an app. Avoid these people if you can.
must be the owners of the devices they are using – borrowed devices cause many issues. Such as Dad wanting his iPhone back to go to work!
family members must be OK with being in the films respondents will make
must have Wi-Fi at home or, as in Indonesia, access to a location with Wi-Fi. Although the app works with with 3G and even EDGE, we want to reduce the cost to respondents of sending data.
may be asked to visit a facility to meet with other respondents/client and review their own films
may be invited to a WorkSpace to discuss and view theirs and other respondent’s entries.

Tip when using recruitment agencies
Do not pay over the odds to recruit respondents with smartphones. Do not let recruiters make you think that recruiting for mobile research projects is tougher than for normal qualitative research projects.

Don’t forget that you can also use sites like Craigslist to great effect. Or even approach panel companies to help you.

What to expect
When we place an ad with Craigslist, we receive many hundreds more respondents than we need. And when invites are sent, we find that the percentage who accept and participate is roughly 60%. But of those 60%, generally all complete all of the tasks.

If using a recruitment agency, the percentage who accept is higher, around 80%, and again, almost all with complete all of the tasks.

2) Setting up your project
Do you know the difference between tags, tasks and codes?
Tasks: activities or questions respondents need to respond to/complete
Tags: keywords to add richness and texture to entries sent. Either select ones suggested by you or add their own using the EthOS app.
Codes: similar to tags except they are created by you to organise the entries according to themes you see emerging.

When creating tasks be clear about which medium you want respondents to use. Is it video, photo, audio or text? Perhaps it’s a choice between video and audio.

Think about the wording of the task. Asking a respondent to capture everything they eat and drink across a week will generate very different data to asking them to make a film about how food and drink fits into their life. One is a record and the other a (potentially) richer source of understanding.

Either way, respondents will self-edit, and it’s up to you, the moderator, to unravel why they have sent you those particular entries. In short, the decision to send you whatever they have is data that needs to be analysed and interpreted too.

And if you know you want particular types of entries for tasks, make it clear in the wording of the task: ‘Please use video to show us the inside of you fridge while describing the contents.’

I your tasks are too detailed/complex to leave to a couple of lines on a respondent’s app, you can add the longer explanatory document to the project by uploading it under the documents tab.

Do not inundate respondents with too many tasks. You can roll the tasks out two or three at a time. Delete old ones and add new ones. Entries under the old tasks will not be deleted. We recommend a maximum of 6 tasks at any one time. Some can be continuous and some once only tasks.

3) Inviting respondents
Make sure the recruiters share each respondent’s email address, first and last name.

Note that you can add segmentation information at the point of inviting respondents, via a CSV file. It’s fairly intuitive, but you can organise a walkthrough to learn how if you prefer.

We recommend that you select the ‘send invites to me…’ check box so that each, unique invite comes to you. You can then cut and paste the information to your own company email before sending. Often, respondents have no idea who EthOS are. And we get accused of spamming them?

You can upload manually or larger groups including segmentation information using the downloadable CSV file in the ‘People’ link. Again, this is a checklist and if you need instruction please get in touch for a walk through.

4) Before the project starts
As soon as a respondent has been recruited, you need to make sure they can send entries from their device. Do not wait for your project to begin and then spend valuable time trouble-shooting. Here is a list of issues:

Can’t download app onto device
Usually because they don’t have an iTunes or similar account
Cannot send entries
Have they accepted their project invitation on-line?
They are sending entries which never arrive
This usually means they have created a default project and are sending entries to it in error. Not a problem as we can migrate entries back.
Entry will not send and keep seeing warning triangle
This likely a connectivity issue. Check Wi-Fi strength and/or 3G signal. Assumption that because they can easily send an email, they can just as easily send a 160mb file…
Company Blackberry won’t allow App to be downloaded
Avoid company Blackberry owners. Enterprise settings can rarely be changed in time.
Accepting project on app browser won’t work.
Correct – must use you laptop or desktop to sign up and accept projects

The above issues are thankfully rare and easily sorted. But please give yourself a few days and ideally a week before starting a large project to ensure everyone is on-boarded.

An important tip, please do not try to play the part of technical support. Any problems should be forwarded to us here: or better still ask respondents to use the Help & Support link on the top right of the EthOS screen. Our priority is to free you up to focus on moderations, analysis and interpretation. Please live trouble shooting of respondents to us.

If you wish, you can leave on-boarding of your respondents to us for a fee based on your sample size.

5) Once the project starts
You can check respondent progress in couple of ways:
1)    Go to ‘summary’ link and see instantly how many entries respondents have sent
2)    Go to ‘tasks’ link (under filter section) and see which tasks have the most/least entries.
There is no need to wait until the end of your study to find out a respondent has sent nothing through or a task is very thin on entries.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Interactive gravestones

I don't know about you but the thought of having someone approach my tombstone and scan it to watch me laugh, talk, play and show who I once was is extremely appealing.

And this is nothing short of fantastic.

Stay tuned for more on this from EthOS!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mobile market research guidelines - feedback required

In my capacity as MMRA president, I have been listening in and trying, occasionally, to make a thought provoking/profound comment as a bunch of MMRA and ESOMAR representatives hammer out new market research guidelines to include mobile tools and methods.

Thinking of using mobile tools in the future? Are you a developer working on mobile research apps? Whether client or agency side, you must read this draft and let know what you think. The text will impact your work.

Will these guidelines in any way impede your current/future mobile research activities? What if you want to use mobile tools for mystery shopping? What about filming crowds in public spaces? Are there any scenarios we need to allow for and haven't covered? This is your chance to speak and be included.

Once stamped, these guidelines will be THE guidelines we should all work to. Clients will demand that you adhere to them. Respondents too will ask that you are bound by the principles.

Please read the guidelines and comment below with anything you feel we need to consider. The time to do it is now!