ChittahChattah Quickies
By Steve Portigal at 12:53 pm, Wednesday January 11 2012

Multi-platform rapport [The Art and Craft of User Research Interviewing] – A little story (on my book blog) about an amusing challenge in leading an interview just the other day.

And this is where I caught myself flicking my eye contact between the two, as a way to (I guess – it was an automatic gesture) demonstrate interest and maintain engagement. Except one person was on the phone. Yes, I was looking back and forth between the guy in the room and the phone. I was projecting all of my rapport building onto a device, using eye contact only. Needless to say this wasn’t very effective!

Microsoft Patents ‘Avoid Ghetto’ Feature For GPS Devices [CBS Seattle] – Oh, media. How you love to incite and to create a crisis where there isn’t one. Ghetto must be a hot-button word, so even though it’s not exactly accurate, let’s go for it. The fact is we are continually adding more context to our digital interactions (only yesterday, Google announced its plans to include your social network in your searchers), and these are obviously creating new challenges around privacy, but this isn’t much less inflammatory than the Siri won’t find abortion clinics non-story.

A GPS device is used to find shortcuts and avoid traffic, but Microsoft’s patent states that a route can be plotted for pedestrians to avoid an “unsafe neighborhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures.” Created for mobile phones, the technology uses the latest crime statistics and weather data and includes them when calculating a route.

For some consumers, surveys breed feedback fatigue [AP] – Ironically, an article about quantitative data collecting that suggests we’re experiencing more of something, without any actual numbers to back up their claim. This is an area we’ve done some user research in, and while we didn’t necessarily see fatigue, we did observe a consistent presence of review mechanisms (both creating and consuming) in daily consumption.

While market-research polls have been conducted for decades, customer-satisfaction surveys have proliferated in recent years because of technology, a growing emphasis on getting data to shape decisions and measure results, and a drive to hold onto customers in a difficult economy, experts say. “People care much more about what the customers think today,” said Brian Koma, VP of research at Vovici, firm that conducts surveys and helps businesses integrate the results with views customers express online, in phone calls and elsewhere. There’s no scientific measure of the number of customer-feedback requests, but questionnaires have percolated into such professional settings as law firms and doctor’s offices and become de rigeur for even everyday purchases.

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2 Responses to “ChittahChattah Quickies”

    I’d add another layer of complexity to the multi-platform rapport: the fact that there were 3 interviewers in the room! Great debriefing afterwards about how we were thinking and trying to manage that situation with as little turbulence to everyone else as possible!

    Comment by Tamara Christensen 01.11.12 @ 3:48 pm


      We also did a good job prebriefing (is that a word???) about what roles we were each going to have. I think those roles evolved as this – and the next – interview unfolded. A lot of the rules/best-practices I’m writing about do get broken in some circumstances, and I’d say our specific circumstance – we’re a tight team that plays together across many contexts – gives us the ability to take on otherwise extreme gigs like a three-interviewer stakeholder session. We have already established rapport with each other, we’re good at leaving space, and we know the process.

      I guess that’s the thing about expertise, you still have the same set of rules, you just know when to choose to break them.

      Comment by Steve Portigal 01.11.12 @ 3:52 pm