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Understanding anyone's social network in 60 minutes
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Understanding anyone's social network in 60 minutes

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A research method for understanding why people choose one communication tool over another.

A research method for understanding why people choose one communication tool over another.


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  • I’m going to talk about a research methodology we recently started experimenting with at Google. It’s called a Social Map. Social Maps have taught us things like: - People’s groups are almost always separate. - Many people don’t use I.M. in many contexts as they think it inefficient and time consuming. - Many people use SMS when they want to avoid an awkward conversation.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Social Map
    • 2. Ultimate yet impossible research goal To understand how humans communicate.
    • 3. Communication products need to understand ‘human communication’
    • 4. Need: to think beyond Gmail
    • 5. Need: to think about broad communication
    • 6. How, why, when, where people choose different communication tools
    • 7. Why the need for two phones?
    • 8. Meanwhile… Meanwhile…
    • 9. Stopping self-referential design
    • 10. Early vs. later research vs.
    • 11. Need: user insight fast We need to start designing next week…
    • 12. Field research not feasible
    • 13. Only time to pick some people
    • 14. 60 minutes to understand communication behaviour 60 minutes
    • 15. Social Map
    • 16. Social Maps in our offices
    • 17. Social Maps on the street
    • 18. Required materials: paper + post-its
    • 19. Building layers of understanding over time
    • 20. Layer 1: People + Groups
    • 21. Layer 2: Communication Tools
    • 22. Layer 3: Recent Events
    • 23. Layer 4: Sharing Content
    • 24. Layer 5: Mapping Actual Behaviour
    • 25. Layer 6: Sticky dots
    • 26. Social Maps in China
    • 27. Meanwhile… Meanwhile…
    • 28. Development team observing research Research Participant Researcher Product Manager
    • 29. Early trumps later research vs.
    • 30. Social Map
    • 31. Strong buy-in from the development team
    • 32. Research finding: People’s groups are almost always separate
    • 33. To understand how humans communicate. in 60 minutes some