Posts tagged “methods”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Facebook Policy Spurs Big Pharma to Rethink Social Media [Advertising Age] – [Beyond challenges such as authenticity, relevancy and voice, social media presence is a regulatory risk for brands in some industries.] Being forced to enable comments on its Facebook pages puts pharmaceutical companies at risk of running afoul of the current FDA regulations, even if it's just consumers making the comments. For instance, if a company has a branded page for an antacid, and a consumer comments that it helped lower his blood pressure as well, that's considered off-label promotion. "The Facebook decision is entirely consistent with what Facebook is designed to be — interactive. A Facebook page with the interactivity turned off is just a static web page residing on an interactive platform. And that isn't what Facebook is all about. It's time for regulated industry to step up to the plate and embrace the powerful tool that is real-time interactivity."
  • [from steve_portigal] Focus Groups That Look Like Play Groups [] – [The lede, emphasizing focus groups, is misleading. The article explores a range of methods that market researchers are using. Maybe some novel ideas in here but also a good artifact of the popular press discourse about how we work.] Mr. Denari’s agency takes a different tack, interviewing consumers in their homes and leaving them with journals called “Little Truth Books” for a week or two. “It forces people to think a little more deeply than they normally would,” Mr. Denari said. When Ugly Mug Coffee wanted to retool its brand, Mr. Denari’s agency asked consumers to use the journals to draw family trees showing which family members were coffee drinkers. They were also asked to list some of the worst things about coffee, what their coffee “cut-off time” was and why they drank it at all. “The whole goal is the get to the heart,” Mr. Denari said. The research helped Ugly Mug create new packaging and expand distribution. [via @serota]
  • [from steve_portigal] A gelato-less June [Gelatobaby] – [Interesting to see how blogs can structure/support deliberate habit changes.] I wrote an essay pledging to fly less to reduce my environmental impact. (I’m actually only allowing myself one round-trip flight per month, compared to the 23 trips I took last year.) My friend Greg Lindsay, author of the new book Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next pointed out that my air miles were nothing compared to the footprint of my gelato habit. A United Nations report from last year noted that “agriculture accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.” I’m hoping that I can fill my gelato-less days with facts and information about where my dairy is coming from, how it’s produced, and if­if!­I might even come to love some dairy-free options. Suffice it to say, this is going to be an extremely enlightening 30 days. Especially since I have just discovered that the LA Weekly has embarked upon 30 Scoops in 30 Days project.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] My Notes on Steve Portigal’s presentation – Design Fieldwork: Uncovering Innovation from the Outside In [The Pam] – [Pam pulls out the key points from my UIE WAMT presentation that most resonated with her.] The knowledge “You’re not your user” creates empathy, but going out to the field makes you listen and understand what your users are going through. Through fieldwork you can detect unmet business goals. Doing fieldwork can accomplish many research goals at the same time, not only about the users but also about your organizational goals.
  • [from steve_portigal] Web App Masters: Uncovering Innovation with Fieldwork [LukeW] – [Luke's summary notes from my 75-minute talk.] Be a methods-polygamist. Choose, mash-up, or create a methodology based on the problem you are trying to solve. Integrate with other methods. Create a library of methods and artifacts that you can call on and modify as needed. Different methodologies tell you different things. It’s not an either or.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Let’s Be Frank: Divisadero Public Discussion Board [The Bold Italic] – [Building on yesterday's quickie – here's a local example of the use of public space as a form for gathering thoughts of residents.] I think it's cool that people can participate after the event by writing their thoughts on the chalkboards. This neighborhood has evolved so much in the last few years, and I'm sure everyone who lives here has thoughts about the transformation, good and bad. I'm personally worried that the changes will leave out members of the old neighborhood, but I'm hopeful when I see the community come together on projects like these. However you feel about the change, I think it's a positive step when people are asked to voice their opinions in the process. So neighbors of Divisadero, don't be shy, what do you think the community needs?

Steve interviewed for “Innovative Solutions” book

My thoughts on understanding and designing in emerging countries has just been published in Apala Lahiri’s Innovative Solutions: What Designers Need to Know for Today’s Emerging Markets.

Q: When traveling through and experiencing emerging countries, do you feel that designing for users in these countries needs to be done with any different methods than those used when designing for users in developed countries?

A: The answer is yes, but there are two different cases: design by insiders and design by outsiders. Obviously design by outsiders needs to be handled very differently. As outsiders, we so clearly have no clue as to what is going on: how do you design personal grooming accessories for a society where someone might have trimming or cleaning done by the side of the road? That’s not to say that it can’t be done, but that simply exporting existing solutions, or making small localization tweaks is probably not going to be enough. I know that as recently as 2 years ago mobile phones in India were a shared household item (although I wonder if increased penetration is changing that); there are tremendous implications for the interface design (from login screens to privacy management). Existing Western models for pricing, usability, features, and so on won’t apply. So there’s a real effort that outsiders need to make to really get at those core differences. From the inside, I suspect that the designers are often not going to be designing for themselves (an approach I discourage, anyway), but for another class or culture within their own society; and while they’ve got a leg up on understanding their fellow citizens over us foreigners, there’s always going to be use cases, mental models, and meaning that is new to the designer. By the same token, for categories that are being imported from the developed world (i.e., mobile phones), the designer will have to do some cultural translation, say discovering that mobile phones are not shared among household members in the West. This is probably here more about an approach to design than an actual method, but once you’ve got the approach down, then the methods can follow easily.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Social science meets computer science at Yahoo [SF Chronicle] – Yahoo Labs has bolstered its ranks of social scientists, adding highly credentialed cognitive psychologists, economists and ethnographers from top universities around the world. At approximately 25 people, it's still the smallest group within the research division, but one of the fastest growing.

    The recruitment effort reflects a growing realization at Yahoo that computer science alone can't answer all the questions of the modern Web business. As the novelty of the Internet gives way, Yahoo and other 21st century media businesses are discovering they must understand what motivates humans to click and stick on certain features, ads and applications – and dismiss others out of hand.

    Yahoo Labs is taking a scientific approach to these questions, leveraging its massive window onto user behavior to set up a series of controlled experiments (identifying information is always masked) and employing classic ethnography techniques like participant observation and interviews.

  • Domino’s "The Pizza Turnaround" [YouTube] – Domino's Pizza uses customer research to spawn product redevelopment, and then uses that process to promote their improved product. Note the negative quotes posted on the walls of their office.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • BusinessWeek looks at how Steelcase went from user research data to insights to opportunities – "But most innovations depend on nontraditional research methods—ethnographic studies, customer-created collages, and so on—that can't easily be sliced and diced in Excel. That means synthesis can be one of the most challenging steps in the innovation process." This is an issue I'll be addressing in my upcoming workshop at EPIC 2009 "Moving from Data to Insights to Opportunities"
  • The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies – Not technically a museum (or even an Internet museum) as they've really just aggregated images that represent tools and ways of working that have or are in the process of obsoleting.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Whitney Quesenbery's workshop on selecting user research methodologies (PDF) – This is definitely an FAQ and this paper gives some good frameworks for choosing. Best stuff starts on page 9.
  • A business will gain from 10 to 50% more customers using a air dancer inflatable puppet. – Drivers tune out the surrounding signs. They are focused on the road and ahead. If a driver was to read and look at each business on every block he or she drives by, they would simply have sensory overload. An air dancer placed within their field of vision, dancing and waving around with your message simply can not be tuned out.

    Only the best air dancer material (1.3 oz coated ripstop), artwork is cut and sewn with boat sail insignia material. We make them right here in our California facility. Unlike other units that last 6 weeks, our unit will last 6 months. Dancer warranty / 90 days and workmanship warranty / 6 months. Fan warranty is one year. The best dancing balloon warranty in the industry. We only use the 18” fan. Some companies use only a 12” fan.

    Including Air Dancer, Arrow Dancer, Fly Guy and 2 Leg Patented Dancing Man

  • Kaboom Advertising – Street Stunts – Whether it’s a huge gorilla chasing a banana through the streets of a major market or a giant smile running and hugging a donor at a major high-end fundraising gala, we create circumstances that attract the attention of the local market and publicity to fuel peer-to-peer recommendations. By inviting or leaking the event to the press, the brand is given a bit more credibility and prolonged exposure to the community at large.


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