Mobile Audience Research
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Mobile Audience Research

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“Know thy users for they are not you.” The best way to understand the folks we design for is to go hang out with them, but that can be scary if you’re shy or unprepared. We’ll share some ...

“Know thy users for they are not you.” The best way to understand the folks we design for is to go hang out with them, but that can be scary if you’re shy or unprepared. We’ll share some stories from our recent mobile-focused field studies and offer lots of suggestions for how to plan, conduct and analyze such out-in-the-wild audience research so you get what you need out it.

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  • “Know thy users for they are not you.” The best way to understand the folks we design for is to go hang out with them, but that can be scary if you’re shy or unprepared. We’ll share some stories from our recent mobile-focused field studies and offer lots of suggestions for how to plan, conduct and analyze such out-in-the-wild audience research so you get what you need out it.
  • We are surrounded by strangers. Oneof the hardest things to remember as we design is that real people use the digital creations we touch every day. Real people? Yes, real people. Strange as it may seem, that’s an incredibly hard thing for many involved in digital communications to understand….Out of sight is out of mind, right? We don’t see these ‘people,’ so in essence they don’t exist….And too often we talk about the folk we are designing for with dehumanizing vocabulary. They are “users,” “consumers,” “targets.”Often this is why projects fail. If the stuff we create doesn’t work for real people, what’s the point?...But to design for real people, we have to get to know them. “Know thy users, for they are NOT you!”So, how can we begin to infuse our designs with a bit more empathy?
  • Personas – like ethnographic portraits -- bring people to life by identify motivations, expectations and goals responsible for driving behavior. Personas are archetypal users that represent the needs of larger groups of real users. Although personas are fictitious, they are based on real knowledge of real people. They act as 'muses' and help guide decisions about functionality and design.Persona spectrum boards can be useful in facilitating dialog where consensus is lacking.Arranging personas along story paths, grouped in tribes or spheres of influence, or along a continuum accentuating their differences can be quite revealing.Wherever possible, we prefer to base personas on a balanced mixture of solid data and first-hand knowledge.
  • Where data and first-hand interactions are not possible, DIY fills in gaps and at least reveals assumptions.It’s great, before diving into field research, to gather the team and unpack these assumptions around your audiences.Then you know what you need to validate or discover about them.
  • Role playing allows us to vicariously explore stereotypes and areas of experience that are not available in our real lives. And role playing ideal vs. worst case scenario can result in lots of creative solutions that might not have otherwise emerged.
  • One way to start to get a feel for the real life contexts of your potential audiences is to “tryon” their various situations or challenges in role playing (ex: single-handed usage, poor eyesight, Lee Press-on Nails, etc.).
  • But all of that is just pretend play…. To really get to know people, you have to get out there amongst them.Adapting field research methods from anthropology, psychology, and sociology, we can learn a lot about people and design more usable products by observing and talking with folks in their own native environments to understand their natural behavior and the context of their activities. Sometimes you just have to BE there to understand the journey folks are on. What people say (ex: report in a diary study) vs. what they actually DO is often very different.Field studies give the advantage of delivering the team information they just can't get in any other way:Users, especially those who are very experienced at what they do, can’t always articulate the details of what they do. An outside observer will see and document these "unspeakables” to make the user experience feel natural and well considered.'Intuitive' interfaces are easier to build when designers have a deep understanding of the users' context, terminology, and processes. Innovation happens when designers get direct exposure to users' entire context including subtle variations and accidental similarities. Field studies can eliminate 'opinion wars' by replacing strongly-held hunches with real information that describes what is really happening. Source: http://www.uie.com/articles/field_studies/ (Jared Spool) Unobtrusiveness is critical to avoid guinea pig syndrome. Listen more than you talk. Don’t forget to gather artifacts. A picture speaks volumes. Always get permission for use of images, videos or verbatims.
  • Sometimes this kind of research looks a lot like secret shopping.In our work with a large regional bank, we observed customer experiences across channels, auditing them for usability, quality, consistency and crossover of experience from one channel to the next. We visited branches in urban, rural and suburban environments. We used ATMs, navigated the IVR and spent a day as a fly-on-the-wall with the one woman (“Lavonda”) who processed their thousands of emailed customer service inquiries. Along the way, we gathered artifacts, snapped pictures, videos and screenshots, culled through mountains of customer survey data and learned an awful lot about what was falling through the cracks. Out of this, we produced a comprehensive cross-channel customer experience scorecard with illustrated improvement recommendations that shaped their customer experience strategy for years.
  • A couple of years ago, when we redesigned a website for what was then one of the largest independent mobile carrier in the country, we started by interviewing customers, lurking in cell service forums where the company’s service was discussed and spending several days listening in on call center assistance calls. Then we spent a week observing customer interactions in a broad cross-section of retail locations throughout their coverage regions to better understand group decision-making processes and customer service needs. This research resulted in prioritizing customized online account service features in their ecommerce implementation.
  • Lokion has been working with Viking Range for over a decade. We manage all of their interactive endeavors. A couple of years ago, when we set about to redesign the in-store kiosks that their dealers use to configure and manage customer orders, the first thing we did was get to know their dealers and distributors through interviews and focus groups. We established a panel who collaborated with us on designs throughout the project. And we visited retail locations to see the old kiosks in action first-hand. Observing this heavily mediated and highly visual sales process directly lead us to design a much more usable, focused, brand-appropriate visualization device interface for Viking Range showrooms. The new kiosks’ simple yet elegant touchscreen interface has been such a hit, that we adapted it this year for tablet usage so dealers can carry the experience of custom configuring your dream kitchen with them anywhere.
  • This summer, one of our clients sought new ideas for mobile interactions that would engage younger “GenY” folks with their services. So, we interviewed 33 smartphone owners in their 20’s & 30’s at Beale Street Music Fest and Bonnaroo. During these in-the-wild conversations, they eagerly showed us what they do daily on their phones, expressed what they like and don’t like about mobile sites and apps, and envisioned all sorts of new possibilities for features our client hadn’t yet considered. We distilled the input into some key personalities, bolstered them with related 3rd-party research, conducted a lively full-team ThinkFactory brainstorming session to expand the possibilities and then prototyped the ideas that rose to the top.
  • At the end of the summer, in support of a regional airline’s intranet redesign, Lokion spent several days “out on the tarmac” observing and interviewing employees in various roles. We explored work-related technology usage, preferences and behaviors – uncovering a much higher than expected likelihood to do work-related computing on mobile devices. We learned that for MOST their mobile devices are their primary or ONLY Web access, which is a problem if your web site or crucial chunks of it don’t work mobilely. We especially enjoyed meeting the flight attendant who kept referring to her “iPhone” & “iPad” which when shown turned out to be Androids (like Kleenux for tissues), seeing the dusty old untouched desktops in the corners of the ground service break room and mechanical hangar and watching a mechanical engineer who claimed not to be a “computer person” use his iPhone to take a picture of a plane’s cracked windshield to email to his boss.
  • Ok, ok…. All this first-hand audience research sounds great, right?!... But really?Do we really have to get out from behind our computers and go meet strangers?That sounds scary!!!And it can be, especially if you go into it unprepared.I’ve been doing it for decades, and I still get sweaty palms going into each interview.But I’m gonna arm you with some tips to help you get started.At a certain point though, you just gotta get out there.They’re just people, right?
  • Tip #1 (perhaps the hardest): It’s NOT about YOU.Let go of YOUR perspective so you can embrace theirs.Go where they are.Dress for their world.Speak their language.Take answers out of questions.
  • Tip #2: Be here nowFocus on the interview, not recording / taking notes.Unobtrusiveness is critical to avoid guinea pig syndrome.Be on time.Eat & tinkle before you go.Body language matters.Maintain eye contact.Recognize with head nods, mmm-hmm.
  • Tip #3: Let there be silence, but not too much.Listen more than you talk.Watch more than you show.Share just enough to build rapport.Don’t interrupt.
  • You may have to ask questions from several different angles before you get insights.Bring a palette & follow you gut.
  • What = people, places, goals, actions, emotions, outcomesHow = processes, sequence, interactionsDon’t forget to gather artifacts. A picture speaks volumes. Always get permission for use of images, videos or verbatims.
  • Field GuideIt can be very helpful to prepare a bit ahead of time.Agreement in making your field guide can be a great team consensus-builder.Make a list of what to bring.Outline topics & timing as a reference, not a script.List desired observations / artifacts.Draft a collection mechanism.
  • But what does it all mean?Get your notes out & regroup ASAP.Analysis = rip it to shreds to look at all the details (moments, stories, stats, artifacts, observations)Synthesis = bringing it all together (clusters, themes, patterns, implications, opportunities)Sense-making through iterative refinement of data into actions (“How can we ___?”)
  • 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.

Mobile Audience Research Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Mobile Audience Research Sometimes you just gotta BE there…Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 2. passion :: purpose :: practicality Lokion is a proven, nimble team of experts crafting digital solutions that work for real people. @lokionProprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 3. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 4. Begin With the End in Mond • WHO are we designing for? • WHICH devices are they using? • WHERE and WHEN do they use it? • WHAT do THEY need / want / expect? • WHAT do WE need / want / expect? • HOW will this improve their experience? • WHY are we designing this for them?Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 5. Persona spectrum board 5 Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 6. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 7. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 8. Do Your Homework: Mobile EmpathyProprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 9. Contextual field researchProprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 10. 10Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 11. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 12. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 13. Do Your Homework: Audience Research Josh Sarah Ryan Tyler Festival Nomad Online Shopaholic Work / Play Hard Hardcore Mobile Native Print tix from phone Mobile purchase tracking Connection at events Delivery at eventsProprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 14. Do Your Homework: Audience ResearchJoe Sarah Helen JakeYoung Cocky Pilot Friendly Flight Attendant PT Ground Service Agent Pragmatic MechanicEvo Android HTC Inspire she calls iPhone Costco Samsung T939 iPhone with OtterboxProprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 15. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 16. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 17. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 18. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 19. Active Listening Phrases • “I see, tell me more about ____.” • “Earlier you mentioned ___, let’s go back to that.” • “Great! Now let’s move on to ____.” • “Can you show me how you ____.” • “Walk me through ____. What do you do next?” • “Draw me a picture of how you ____.” • “How do you do this differently?” (than other, than you used to, than you will in 5 years) • “But WHY?”Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 20. Observers’ Eye • Notice WHAT • Notice HOW • Avoid conclusions • Allow confusions • Collect artifactsProprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 21. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 22. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 23. Contextual Audience Research Tips • Let go of YOUR perspective to embrace theirs. • Be present and act naturally. • Listen more than you talk. • Use active listening and observers eye. • Prepare but don’t script. • Turn observations into actions.Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 24. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.
  • 25. Proprietary to Lokion and FedEx. Sample graphics from Google and Getty Images. Do not distribute without permission.