Posts tagged “testing”

Research screening

I was bemused to see that Feast of Love opened last weekend. Our last time at the movies was when The Simpsons Movie opened, and I participated in some intercept-market research at the theater.

Part of the lobby had been given over to these groovy looking kiosks, with a couple of guys in attendance, asking people who passed by if they would like to give their opinion about an upcoming movie. My age and gender qualified me to participate (woo hoo) and I went with one dude over to a kiosk. I was shown a couple of clips and responded to various questions, but the weirdness of it was that the test was designed have some screens operated by me, and some screens visible only to the interviewer. But they didn’t do it that way. So for various pieces where I was to click within multiple choices, the interviewer, who knew the testing software rather well, just whipped through the keypresses, bam->redraw, bam->redraw, quickly asking me the minimum to move to the next one. Okay, so he took care of it for me. But then this screen we were both looking at would display testing instructions such as ASK PARTICIPANT FOR OPINION OF BENEFIT OF DATE MOVIES. PROBE ON RELATIONSHIP, TIMING, COST. And of course, he wouldn’t even come close, he’d get the one line answer from me, and then he’d type in the quickest condensation of my answer: stay home.

After a minute or so, it became more about the two of us cooperating to use the software to get through test. I realized that my opinion didn’t matter; it’s hard to feel represented in a forced-choice discussion, and it’s unlikely one would continue to provide color when all that gets captured is minimal facts. Further, by exposing the instructions to me, his shortcuts became clear, and I ended up slightly co-opted into the testing process, giving up any sense of really delivering the full truth to this interviewer.

When we see “market research” number published to support some business decision, let’s keep in mind how poorly that data may have been collected (from the concept of how to collect that data, to the implementation of a data collection environment, to the staffing and execution of the data gathering). How reliable could any of this possibly be?

Do you recall?

Some recent product recalls

Wild Planet Toys Inc. of San Francisco is recalling 273,000 Jet Streamers Water Blasters pool toys. When partially filled with water, the pool toy can stand upright on the pool floor with the rigid narrow end pointed upward, posing an impalement risk.

— LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. of Emeryville is recalling 186,000 Playground Activity Centers. A child’s arm can become caught in the activity center’s plastic tube.

— Olympus Imaging America Inc. of Center Valley, Pa., is recalling 1.2 million Olympus 35mm film cameras. A defect with the flash circuit in the cameras can cause it to smoke and overheat when the camera is turned on, posing a burn hazard.

— Syratech Corp. of East Boston, Mass., is recalling 10,000 frog, fish and duck lawn sprinklers. The plastic body of the lawn sprinkler can crack when placed under intense water pressure, and pieces of it can break off and be projected 5 to 10 feet in the air.

— Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, is recalling 4,300 Ming television stands. If a person leans on the stand’s drawer when open, the unit can tilt forward and cause a television on top to slide off, posing a risk of injury or death.

— Ballard Designs Inc. of Atlanta is recalling 775 candles and candle sets. The packaging or holder can ignite, posing a fire hazard.

— Agio International Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong is recalling 33,800 Garden Treasures steel dome fireplaces. Touch-up paint used on the fireplace’s exterior can ignite during use, posing a fire hazard.

— True Religion of Los Angeles is recalling 150 hooded fleece jackets. A drawstring is threaded through the hood, posing a strangulation hazard to children.

— Onward Manufacturing of Waterloo, Ontario, Mi-T-M Corp. of Peosta, Iowa, and Deere & Co. of Moline, Ill. are recalling 3,100 John Deere gas barbecue grills. Operating the grill in windy conditions can blow the flame under the control panel, causing the grill to overheat or cause flashbacks. Flames could damage the hose that supplies gas to the burner, causing an uncontrolled flame. Also, the grill’s control knobs could overheat, resulting in burns to hands.

— Deere & Co. of Moline, Ill., is recalling 16,000 John Deere X300 Select Series lawn tractors. A problem in the manufacturing process could cause damage to the circuit in the interlock module. If the module fails, the mower blades will be able to run with no operator on the tractor seat.

— Kindermusik International Inc. of Greensboro, N.C., is recalling 10,000 cage bells. If the bell inside the instrument is damaged during manufacturing, the bell can be pulled out of the instrument, posing a choking hazard.

— Triangle Tube/Phase III of Blackwood, N.J., is recalling 3,000 water heaters. The burner plate and flue hood seal on the water heaters can fail due to an improper seal, causing a leak of flue gases and deadly carbon monoxide.

— Gotham Architectural Lighting, a division of Acuity Lighting Group Inc. of Conyers, Ga., is recalling 4,700 lighting fixtures. The reflector/trim pieces may not be properly attached to each other. The lower portion of the reflector/trim assembly could detach and fall from the ceiling, striking people below.

Of course, being injured by a product you’ve purchased is not funny, but something about the tone of the descriptions is funny (if you find police blotter sections of local papers funny, then you’ll know what I mean here) in a Simpsonsesque fashion (or the famous German Forklift Safety Video).

And in blogosphere synchronicity, Niti’s last story in this post is a slightly more sober take on a product recall.

A test post

The new blog is here!

Not only a new blog, but now the entire site is in WordPress – this makes for some interesting things (like trying to have separate feeds for FreshMeat and this blog; or titling this page “All This ChittahChattah” while titling the rest of the site “Portigal Consulting”).

FreshMeat is definitely not working right now, but maybe within 24 hours we’ll have them all back up and sorted out (they are still up, under the old URLs, but whatever)

If you see other weirdness with the site, let me know


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