Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

The new digital ethnographer’s toolkit: Capturing a participant’s lifestream

A great user experience is grounded in the insights gained from understanding users’ needs, behaviours and motivations. One powerful way of gaining this insight is by simply observing users in their natural environment, often over a long period of time by means of ethnographic research.

However, this isn’t always possible, due to factors such as a lack of time or resource. In these circumstances, a good alternative is to use a Cultural Probe. A Cultural Probe often, simply, takes the form of a paper diary that the participant uses on a daily basis to record their thoughts.

In this talk, Dr Chris Khalil of News Digital Media (NDM) will explain how NDM are using an innovative web/mobile based approach to Cultural Probes (digital scrapbooks) and other research tools, utilising an array of low cost and freely available web and mobile applications such as Tumblr and Facebook. He’ll step through a specific case study based on one of Australia’s best known transactional websites, taking the audience through some of the lessons learnt and giving examples of some of the actual digital scrapbooks generated.

The new digital ethnographer’s toolkit: Capturing a participant’s lifestream

  1. 1. The new digital ethnographer’s toolkit: Capturing a participant’s lifestream Dr Christopher Khalil Senior Experience Architect 9/4/2009 News Digital Media 1
  2. 2. The talk will explain what the 'new ethnographer's toolkit' is, and how it can be used to reconstruct user behaviour and thus enable better informed design decisions.
  3. 3. WARNING / RELIEF: No theory will follow We’re talking about the toolkit remember So, we’ll look at a Case Study & Try out the Tools
  4. 4. Lifestream Digital fingerprints • Twitter • Facebook • Email • IM • Blog posts • RSS feeds • Mobile: – SMS/iPhone/Voice
  5. 5. Cultural Probes • A great user experience is gained from understanding a user’s – Needs – Behaviours – Motivations • Ethnographic research gives insight based on observing users, often, over a long period of time • Isn’t always possible due to lack of time or resource • Good alternative is to use a Cultural Probe. • Cultural Probes can sometimes take the form of paper diaries
  6. 6. Some issues with conventional probes • Asynchronous (you do it once a day) • Minutiae and richness of the everyday is often lost in the edited and processed view the participant takes in their diary entry. • Self-referential (talk about my day through a frame I think is important)
  7. 7. Digital Probes • Synchronous: Capture lifestream automatically – i.e. twitter, delicious, facebook, blog, rss • Less self-referential: ‘Real time’ capture ensures a more realistic, natural record of the participant’s life than asking them to fill out a diary entry alone • Natural: Recording mechanism is in the same medium & context the researcher is trying to find out more about (i.e. web)
  8. 8. Other advantages • Closely connect the researcher to the participant • Facilitates easier analysis, versioning and distribution • Still allows conventional diary entry (i.e. capture offline events & reflection)
  9. 9. Using Tumblr as Probe Platform Integrates several technologies into one lifestream • Twitter • Email • iPhone • Voice • Images • Videos • Bookmarks • Flickr • RSS EXCEPT: Facebook (to come) We setup a FB account participants ‘friended’ us for a week
  10. 10. Case Study
  11. 11. Moshtix • Moshtix is one of Australia's largest ticketing sites • WHY: Deeper understanding of audience – Personas • WHY: Broader view of user behaviours, activities, philosophies in a specific mental space (music, events) – Mental Model – Common Scenarios • WHY: Identify new opportunities – Mental Model – GAP analysis • WHY: Base the product strategy on real, observed user needs and activities
  12. 12. Process • Recruit users • Pre-Probe Interview (30 mins) • Run the Probe (1 week) • Post-Probe Interview (1.5 hours) – This is the key stage
  13. 13. Recruiting
  14. 14. Recruit Users ETHNIO • Recruit real users from your site • Relatively inexpensive • Easy to use and setup • Screen based on existing models or business targets (e.g. Roy Morgan, Prior Research) • Does take time to recruit users, but good results • Let’s have a look
  15. 15. Ethnio Demo
  16. 16. A few Ethnio tips Screener: • Keeper as short as possible, use follow up email to focus in • Speak audiences language • Be very clear on incentive, location • Don’t offer users options Frequency: • Adjust the frequency as required depending on – Number of participants – Time to research – Page traffic – Business needs • Generally better to start high then turn down Organisation • Factor in a good amount of time to organise • Create 2nd tier list and backups
  17. 17. So, you have some recruits now what? 1. Pick the ones who most closely match your criteria 2. Let others know you’ll use them down the line (focus groups and further research) 3. Ring users 1. much faster and reliable than email 2. ensure they have enough time to participate 4. Send privacy agreements for review 5. Follow up call to quickly explain process 6. You’re good to go…
  18. 18. The Probe
  19. 19. Pre-Probe Interview Objective: Encourage participation by making probe as easy as possible 1. Need access to their machine or demo on your machine 2. Get everything setup for them – Login all setup – Take them through what they need and why. – Set the expectation that we really need their help, incentive isn’t enough • Explain what you want from them – Anything relating to music, events or just general interest • Let’s have a look & create our own probe
  20. 20. Tumblr Demo
  21. 21. Join in the UXA Tumblr URL: | Login: Password: uxa2009
  22. 22. Lets have a look & see what we’ve got (has the voice been added)
  23. 23. During Probe Period • Monitor probes and contributions • Try to interfere as little as possible • Be encouraging • Direct them in how you’d like them to use the probe (i.e. more commentary) • If it looks like they are not contributing, gently remind them of probe timescales
  24. 24. Post Probe Interview • Ask users to take you on their journey • Reflection rather than conjecture • Open questions, get at the why • Expound on context • Get them to ‘show and tell’ on activities
  25. 25. In Practice • Record screen if possible • Transcribe – Pay professional service – Playback audio/video – Have 2 people, one to take notes
  26. 26. What’s next
  27. 27. Analysis • No way around it, this is hard work • Probes generate a tonne of data • Need to live with data for a while • Use a methodology such as Grounded Theory – Codify, Cluster, Categories – Generate model – Generate personas – Some tools: MaxQDA, Excel
  28. 28. Probe Mental Model Examples Persona
  29. 29. Conclusion • Effective qualitative research can be carried out using digital cultural probes • Wide variety of technologies enable us to capture user’s activities • Probe can be used to create a mental model based on authentic: – goals – behaviours – motivations. • Probe can be used to create personas using authentic: – behavioural dimensions – examples i.e. sites visited (bookmarked in probe) • VERY useful for finding things that might be out of scope: gap analysis • Probes are also good for organisational buy-in
  30. 30. Questions ? Dr Christopher Khalil Senior Experience Architect News Digital Media