Posts tagged “input”

How not to solicit customer feedback

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Seen at a busy lunchtime eatery in San Mateo. The comment card box is placed right above the full garbage bin. No comment cards or pencils on hand, so perhaps this is just a vestige that they haven’t bothered to remove. But abandonware always makes you look like you just don’t care and in this case the visual association between “we value your opinion” and “food waste” is not appealing. Greatly appreciated? I doubt it.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of books [The New Yorker] – Traditionally, publishers have sold books to stores, with the wholesale price for hardcovers set at fifty per cent of the cover price. Authors are paid royalties at a rate of about fifteen per cent of the cover price….E-books called the whole system into question. If there was no physical book, what would determine the price? Most publishers agreed, with some uncertainty, to give authors a royalty of twenty-five per cent, and began a long series of negotiations with Amazon over pricing. For months before Sargent’s visit, the publishers had talked about imposing an “agency model” for e-books. Under such a model, the publisher would be considered the seller, and an online vender like Amazon would act as an “agent,” in exchange for a thirty-per-cent fee. Yet none of the publishers seemed to think that they could act alone, and if they presented a unified demand to Amazon they risked being charged with price-fixing and collusion.
  • The End Is Near for BlackBerry’s Trackball [BusinessWeek] – The BlackBerry trackball, introduced in 2006, has always had issues. It accumulates grit and gunk. Tony Naftchi started Fixyourberry.com from a small office on New York's 7th Ave. A stream of bankers, fashion models, and other high-end BlackBerry addicts pay $30 for new trackballs. "They need them fixed—'Now!' It should come as no surprise that the little sphere, flawed and strangely beloved, faces obsolescence. Trackball shipments in 2010 will fall short of last year's peak of 25 million. The last trackballs installed in new BlackBerrys will go in its Tour. Later versions have trackpads. By 2013, iSuppli predicts trackball shipments will have ceased altogether. Diehards will cling to trackballs. Nothing worth having ever goes away entirely. You can still buy a new manual typewriter on Amazon.com (AMZN) for $99.95. Betamax has its determined fans. And Westfield Whip Manufacturing in Westfield, Mass., produces more than 50,000 buggy whips annually. It's hard to kill a consumer icon.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Gerry Gaffney interviews David Hill of ThinkPad [UXPod] – We try to get as much user feedback as possible, and we have many different ways we can gather that. For instance we have advisory councils, we have analysts and things of that nature comment on future plans. We meet with large customers and disclose to them future plans and get their feedback on our products. I use my blog, very effectively I believe, by occasionally posing questions, doing polls or even much more detailed web surveys. So really there's not one answer to how you get feedback from customers. But my belief is that there's no such thing as too much information. I love to meet with a customer, or observe people at an airport or in an airplane or in a classroom. You'd just be amazed what you can learn from field research or in a conversation with a guy next to you on an airplane. It's just remarkable. Sources really are so varied that it's difficult to put your fingers on [and say] this is the process we used to gather feedback.

Effective Concept Testing: Getting the Answers You Want to Hear!

We were intrigued to see that Netflix is soliciting customer feedback about a new product concept. It’s great to see them incorporating users into the development process, but we figure if they are going to be asking these sorts of questions, they might want to take the next logical step. Check out our re-enactment:

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Don Norman on Ethnography and Innovation – Some great commentary on Norman's piece (discussed here as well) including the very exciting revelation that Edison did something very much like ethnography!
  • General Motors – The Lab – It’s a pilot program for GM, an interactive design research community in the making. Here you can get to know the designers, check out some of their projects, and help them get to know you. Like a consumer feedback event without the one-way glass.

    We work on ideas that will influence our future vehicles. We want to share our ideas, inventions and pre-production vehicle designs. We want to build the right cars and trucks for your future. We want your opinion.

  • Iceberg Digital Book Reader for the iPhone – Digital books as content, as hardware, as a platform, as an OS, as an app? Interesting to see a range of approaches appearing. Iceberg use the iTunes store to sell the books, which seems like a brilliant strategy, leveraging a storefront/distribution platform that already exists.
  • Steal These Books – From Wikipedia page about book theft, a set of articles that describe what books get stolen from bookstores (independent, chain, and campus) and libraries.
  • Archaeology’s Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites – A large set of links to articles about fake archeological-type stuff (discoveries, artifacts, and the like). How and why.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Amazon’s Kindle app for the PC – (Is it still an app if it runs on a computer?) While it seems to be tied to the launch of Windows 7 this week, it will also run on XP, etc. The Kindle experience starts to become platform independent. So what it is? A UI? An OS? An ecosystem? Or a store?
  • Advertising – The People Spoke. In Windows 7, Microsoft Says It Listened – Microsoft asks PC users for feedback. But after the debacle with Vista, they realized that the concept of consumers as an intrinsic part of the development process could be an effective selling point for Windows 7. And so was born a campaign carrying the theme “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea.”
    “Our customers co-create the product with us,” said David Webster, GM for brand and marketing strategy “We’re using the customers’ voice to tell our story.”
    In one ad, these words are superimposed over a photograph of a woman: “I asked for it to use less memory. Now it uses less memory. I’m a tech goddess.”
    In another ad, these words appear over a photo of an older man: “I suggested they make it less complicated. Guess what? Now it’s less complicated. I so rule.”
    In commercials, Microsoft engineers say, “Bring it on; what do you got?” PC users fire back with pithy phrases like “Less clutter, just less clutter.” And the engineers reply: “Loud and clear. We’re all over it.”

Son of survey

This comment in the bad survey design thread got me thinking further about where/when/what to do with surveys. It’s not my primary tool so some of these reflections take me a little longer than someone who makes their living as a quantitative researcher, for example.

A tiny new restaurant opened in our tiny town of Montara – the Montara Bistro. I dropped by yesterday to pick up a menu and saw that they are already looking for customer feedback.

not_a_survey.jpg

So to some folks, this is a survey. But it’s next to useless.

Why? Their questions are not too bad, but they are conversational questions, and should be presented that way. They are the basis of a conversation. Handing someone a sheet of paper (with no room to fill in any response) and asking them for essays is ineffective. It’s not fair. These are the questions they want answers to, but sometimes you have to ask a series of questions to get that information. And you can’t decide ahead of time which questions to ask. You have to ask a question, listen to the response, and then choose your next one. You can’t do that on a piece of paper. You need to have real people talking to each other and exploring the issues that way.

Not to mention that the restaurant has been open for a day or two, and there’s a presumption of an in-depth relationship that hasn’t really been built yet. What do I think of the Bistro Vision? Ummm, I don’t care.

I love what this artifact tells you about the company; that they really want to get a dialog going. They don’t have the tools in place to do it yet. Maybe it’s backed up by the way they interact with customers who come in; I don’t know. But this won’t work at all.

And I think this sort of inquiry is what a lot of design students are doing; identifying some open-ended (i.e., requires the respondent to write sentences) questions and sending them out by email. Some people will respond. Some may even write a lot. But you can’t follow up unless you send out another email. And then it’s just a conversation.

As with everything you “send out” who it gets sent to is a factor. Sending something to 3 friends is a very different approach than something that is quantitative in nature.

Look at this artifact from a recent project (created by our partners, not us):
survey_sample.JPG

This contained 31 questions, only a few open-ended ones. There’s randomization where needed (so you can filter out order-effects, where the first or last item might be picked more frequently in a list), and a large enough sample so that results can be processed to lead to conclusions – comparisons between different factors (this is the stats part I’ve been talking about).

Attitude toward technology meets Age
Purchase habits meets Region (with Age)
Stores shopped meets Region (with Age)
etc.

Tons of work and tons of math goes into creating tables (that then get interpreted) like
255b6076.jpg

As Paul Hogan (sorta) said “That’s not a survey, now that’s a survey!”

I hope this brings a bit more clarity to the discussion.

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