Posts tagged “jared spool”

Don’t Bother, Braun

Today, I am proud to carry on the lively tradition of eviscerating… I mean, learning valuable lessons from other folk’s attempts at research. I will be examining a Braun-fielded poll that appeared on my Facebook page. (Recent notable additions to the oeuvre include Jared Spool’s 19 Lessons from United Airlines on How To Build a Crappy Survey and Steve’s imagined reaction to a Netflix survey, Effective Concept Testing: Getting the Answers You Want to Hear!)

OK, here it is:

I have a few questions.

1) Who? The pollsters don’t seem to care that I am neither a fan nor a consumer of Braun shavers specifically, or of electric shavers in general. They’ve got the audience all wrong. To respond would merely be to sabotoge their data-set in response to the absurdity. Which of course I wouldn’t dream of doing!

2) What is the purpose of this (Part I)? What is the marketing or social media team going to do with this information? What is the business question behind this? Knowing, as they must, that the data will be terribly corrupted, they can’t possibly believe that they’re actually getting useful information. So maybe it’s just one of these crazy social media ploys that appears to be important research but is really a bit of marketing designed at the level of a made-you-look joke?

3) What is the purpose of this (Part II)? If they just want me to look, then what did they want me to think upon having seen this survey/ad/poll? Is is supposed to intrigue me into thinking, “GOSH now I do wonder how new and different Braun shavers actually are! Let me look into that and then get back to them on this relevant question.” (If so, where’s the link?) Or is it, “Wow – Braun makes electric shavers!” Or is it merely an unconscious, Pavlovian Braaaaauuuuunn they’re trying to get? “Oh yeah, Braun is a brand. I need a shave.” Or do they really just want me to answer their ridiculous question?

4) Can it make sense, please? Don’t ask me to compare Braun, a brand responsible for a wide variety of consumer products, to the more specific but still questionable category of “other electric shavers.” I can’t compare things that are not comparable.

5) “New and Different?” Really? New and different are not necessarily positives, especially as those attributes relate to whirring blades that come into contact with your body parts. Is this the most important consumer response that the marketing team is really hoping to understand, if, in fact, they are hoping to understand anything at all?

6) Wait… anonymous or not? The question mark there, which (I know, I know) is a what-does-this-mean question mark probably linking to a privacy policy still reads like a sleazy wink. Fingers crossed! Your response may or may not be kept anonymous.

Even though I’ve no doubt that this is an insignifiant throw-away in the overall universe of Braun marketing, it definitely made an impression. If you’re going to bother to ask people questions, know who you’re asking and make it seem, even just a little bit, like the whole exercise matters to you.

We’ve learned quite a bit from other people’s surveys many times before:
Bad Survey Design. Please Stop!
Son of Survey
Son of Survey Madness
Thank You For Voting
The Space Between Yes and No
Does Calling it a Report Card Make it Not a Survey?
Survey Revenge

Thanks Bolt | Peters, for a great URF10

All of us here at Portigal Consulting participated in Bolt | Peters’ mostly-annual User Research Friday conference (URF10) last week. URF is a conference designed to be

A full-day conference all about user research! This time it’s also two optional half-day workshops on advanced research techniques you can choose from on the preceding day. There has been an explosion of apps and services to conduct research over the past year, and so this year’s theme is “Vendor Circus.” We’ll bring user research experts together for advanced discussion, beverages, relaxed learning, and heavy socializing.

Steve and Julie also co-led an aforementioned half-day workshop on the preceding Thursday (you can read more about that here).

Friday’s line-up of presentations was interspersed with just the right amount of mingling and networking. Thoughts were provoked! Here, in no particular order, are some of them:

Steve sez
I’ve been part of “user research” type events for well over a decade, but on Friday I finally felt that our field has reached a point of maturity where events like these are effective venues to address some of the issues we’re facing. I saw a remarkable absence of posturing, very few “Gaze upon our perfect case study!” presentations, and none of the “Here’s why we can’t do research in my organization” whining. The best presentations of the day were those that explicitly raised (and often didn’t answer) questions that we should be thinking about. They brought out a certain collective humility that I found refreshing and compelling. Of course, organizers Nate and Cyd helped set the right tone through their deliberate planning to make that possible.

Julie goes on
The day featured great pacing and a spectrum of perspectives and styles of presentation. And cake-pops. I enjoyed the tension between the group’s characterizations of User Research as sometimes highly qualitative and sometimes very technology-driven/quantitative. Both camps were represented without bias. Nice! I guess we can all just get along. Several conversations I had touched on the challenge of selling the value of qualitative, consumer-based insights in a world increasingly influenced by complex tools that derive assertive analytics. Why do numbers seem to have more credibility than stories? Naturally, this seems counter-intuitive to me. Jared Spool gave some compelling ammo in his discussion of the importance of inference as a step in the analysis process of quantitative data. From a methodology standpoint, Dana Chisnell’s simple but provocative observation will stick with me: when research requires people to “pretend” to do something it exposes its flaws.

Wyatt burbles
The highlight for me was Dana Chisnell’s presentation, which reminded me to check myself before I wreck someone else’s user experience- specifically, pointing to something I would call “legacy metaphors” (although I’ve just learned they are actually called skeuomorphs), which are things like the “cc:” and “bcc:” fields on an email, the 12 key configuration on mobile phones, or the clicking sound when you take a picture on a digital camera. These conventions, appropriated from the analog world, may be a step forward in aiding adoption of the new and unfamiliar, but the question Dana threw out to the audience (and I’m paraphrasing here) is, “Are we really helping people, or are we propagating some archaic interaction convention because it’s easier than figuring out a better one?”

Video Notes from the Field: Advice to Aspiring Designers

Liz Danzico of the School of Visual Arts MFA in Interaction Design asked several people to create a 30-second video response to this prompt:

So you’re thinking about becoming a designer? If I could tell you only *one thing* about going into the field, my advice would be ___________ .

The results are compiled here and are really fun. As you’d expect, everyone’s video looks different, everyone interpreted the question a little differently and everyone has different advice. It’s about 7 minutes of content across 15 or so videos and you’ll get a kick out of ’em and maybe even learn something. Check it out!

My submission is below:


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