Archive for September, 2012

Harnessing the rise of the quantified self in user research

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Run Keeper, Nike + and Google Health are examples of apps that allow you to track your behaviour and progress. They are examples of an increasing ability-desire to quantify and benchmark ourselves.

Companies such as Virgin Active have recognised that collecting this sort of data is extremely instructive when understanding customer behaviour that relates to their business. But app development is not cheap and you can’t produce an app for every type of thing you want to measure.

This is one of the reasons we built nativeye. It allows you to configure your own ‘app within an app’ to collect the specific data you want. So whether you want to track people’s travel, buying or leisure habits you can.

The importance of empathy in innovation

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

We love getting feedback at nativeye. Not only does it mean we’re not just talking to ourselves, it helps us develop in a user-focused way. Receiving feedback of the type, ” it would be great if you had X as it would help us to do Y” is gold. If you hear it a few times from a few different people then you know you have a good argument for developing in that direction (balancing with internal factors such as strategy and resources).

But it’s more than getting user validation for innovations.

When you listen carefully to problems or wishes from real users you put yourself in the moment with your customer, faced with the same task they are facing. You might then start to think, “Yeah if that was me I’d really want to be able to do that too.” Taking on board their emotions leads you to a new level of understanding of the problem and how to design for it  – but also the motivation to do something about it.

User research might not always tell you the answer straight away (the old “customers don’t know what they want” maxim), but it helps to build the empathy that can lead to user-focused innovation.

Do whatever you need to do. Build an experience map – include touchpoints and all the attendant emotions. But first and foremost watch and listen. That will throw into relief where there is room for improvement and critically, help you to empathise deeply with the emotions bundled in with the customer experience. That will lead you to consider the problem in detail and then do something about it.

And that’s the point –

Until you feel the customer’s pain you’re just not informed and motivated enough to solve the problem well.

Timeline is here

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

We’ve just introduced Timeline view for posts. This means you can get the instant human snapshot of your participants’ experiences.

Here’s an example from our My Olympics experience assignment:

Timeline view

Other new features for September:

  • Tagging v2.0 – tags allow you to mark key themes and categorise supporting evidence. We’ve overhauled tags to make them easier to use and select from popular tags.
  • Web surveys – use the web version of assignments for recruitment screening and follow up evaluation

There’s more in the pipeline. So better crack on.


What about the individual?

Friday, September 7th, 2012

“Every individual is representative of the whole, a symptom, and should be intimately understood.”

As the MR industry becomes enamoured with Big Data – social listening, sentiment analysis and (possibly) Google Surveys, it is worth remembering the value of studying the individual. Gigabytes of data can deliver some pretty impressive insights, but on its own can fail to capture those individual human examples that engender empathy in the researcher, designer, inventor that (I would argue) leads to user-centric innovation.

From Anaïs Nin on Why Understanding the Individual is the Key to Understanding Mass Movements

(via Brain Pickings)

The general obsession with observing only historical or sociological movements, and not a particular human being (which is considered such righteousness here [in America]) is as mistaken as a doctor who does not take an interest in a particular case. Every particular case is an experience that can be valuable to the understanding of the illness.

…, this indifference to the individual, total lack of interest in intimate knowledge of the isolated, unique human being, atrophies human reactions and humanism. Too much social consciousness and not a bit of insight into human beings.