Raising the Bar for Online Focus Groups

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Transcript of recording with Patrice Wooldridge – generated automatically by HappyScribe which means it will be about 80% accurate – if you spot confusing errors, please email ray@new-mr.com. The timestamps are included to help you jump directly to a point of interest.


[00:00:10.510] – Patrice Wooldridge

When my husband and I decided to open our qualitative research post in some 30 years ago, one of our first clients accused us of doing this so that we could write off our tech toys. Yes, my name is Beatrice Wooldridge, and I’m addicted to tech toys and the kind of person who so very long ago saw the iPad being introduced and ended up with one of the first three hundred shipped. This is just to say that trying new tech toys is in my DNA and since our businesses elevator speeches that we help our clients see the world through the eyes of their consumers.


[00:00:44.200] – Patrice Wooldridge

Right now, our consumers are seeing us through the eyes of a video screen. So first, let’s look at a little history late in the nineteen nineties said that the first video focus groups were held and WebEx has been around for about twenty five years. Adobe Kinect became the platform that was most used for qualitative market research. But then there became GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, which is now Google meets Microsoft teams. And Zune, of course, is become a big player.


[00:01:19.340] – Patrice Wooldridge

It was introduced in 2013. But what’s the one thing these apps have in common going back to the beginning? They all are basically using the same box layout of video participants in group discussions, so I’d like to do three things in this short talk. One, examine some basics to consider when you’re hosting a video conference to look at how you might decide between what app is best for your purpose. And three, consider ways to break out of this box.


[00:01:52.600] – Patrice Wooldridge

So while we can go into a debate about how well each of these different apps basically work, they’re all providing the same things, all provide a certain level of security. There’s a consistent quality of audio and video. There’s ease for the participants to download and use the apps. There’s a variety of features like recording screen sharing, et cetera, and each one gives you the ability to participate in the interview. But what you should consider, no matter what app you’re using, particularly if you’re hosting and leading the meeting, is how fast and consistent your wi fi is.


[00:02:33.670] – Patrice Wooldridge

Always check your device’s speed. I use the speed test app before starting a meeting. And if you need to reboot the modem and perhaps your router, do that before you start. You might even have to go old school and your router directly to your to your device with an Ethernet cord. And you probably heard before. Yes, it does help to close as many apps and windows on your device as possible before you start. But another thing you might not have considered is to always have a backup person, because in the worst case, if the Internet or the person leading the discussion breaks down, you need to have someone there who can tell who can continue to leave the meeting.


[00:03:19.490] – Patrice Wooldridge

I posted more than one hundred interviews and groups in the last year and fortunately only had my Internet go down three times. First time that it went down, I was in shock and it was only down for five minutes. But that’s five minutes of the one hundred and twenty that I had with that group after that time. I have kept a backup person in the room with me there in the back room, so there’s no video or audio, but just in case I get dropped, they’re there to continue the discussion.


[00:03:49.880] – Patrice Wooldridge

And one more thing. I tried once to do research where I had to show video ads and the research was being done the first week of December, but hadn’t dawned on me was that this is the heaviest Internet week of the year. My Internet speed went from lightning quick to a dial up speed, if you know what that is in the late afternoon. And in fact, it was so bad I had to reschedule the interviews. So please keep in mind the time of day and how dependent you and your participants will be on a good Internet connection.


[00:04:24.010] – Patrice Wooldridge

When it comes down to it, there are really two apps that have risen to the top for live online focus groups, and these are Zoome and Adobe Kinect because they’re so easy to use and they offer many features. Yes, Adobe connectors and some bad press due to using the Adobe Flash, which made it difficult for those in the Apple Macintosh world. But those issues now have been largely addressed. So the software is once again in play. And yes, Zigmas had some very bad press about security, but they continue to address this with their many updates.


[00:04:56.740] – Patrice Wooldridge

In fact, you should remind everyone who’s coming into your meeting when using Zune to check to make sure that their app is up to date. And for consumers, this means being clear how they update the app because they may not know how to do that. Here are a few differences you might want to consider. Xoom is cheaper to rent and use versus Adobe Kinect. So if you’re going to do it yourself on the cheap, you’re not going to hire a vendor to help you with the technical stuff.


[00:05:26.260] – Patrice Wooldridge

Then you probably want to use Zune. Number two, many people have already downloading music, so the platform is much more familiar. But Adobe offers flexibility and how you, as the host and moderator, can set up what you want to show, and I’ll give you a couple of examples of that in a moment. And finally, get Zoome offers a variety of features that are easy for everyone to use and you don’t need tech support. So, again, it brings up the question, are you doing this because you want to do it on the cheap and be everything the tech person as well as the host and the leader, or whether you’re going to hire a vendor that’s going to help you with that?


[00:06:10.190] – Patrice Wooldridge

So let’s look at how clients might watch interviews when using Zoom versus Adobe Connect. If you have the viewers come into the Zoome room, they will show up as a participant. And you can see here that I have circled the participant down here because the number of people who come in doesn’t always match the pictures on the screen. And I’ve had in delicate conversation people, some of my participants ask, who are all those other people in the room so it can be uncomfortable for them?


[00:06:41.750] – Patrice Wooldridge

Then in addition, there’s no easy way for the clients to chat, because you can see here, if they hit the chat window, the chat is going to be seen by everybody if everybody’s chatting with one another. So you can then open a different app for the clients to chat and say Slack or ask them to chat with their Microsoft teams. And I’ve even had them send me a text. So if there are additional questions, they can easily get it to me.


[00:07:10.550] – Patrice Wooldridge

On the other hand, if you use Adobe Connect, they use a system called pods. These are independent windows inside the platform that you can use to show video chat in or whatever you’d like to share. So notice here the setup where the video and this is the only thing that the respondents see is right here on the left. But over here on the right, you can set up a whole set of pods that only the people who are the viewers of the clients can see.


[00:07:38.520] – Patrice Wooldridge

And in this case, they can have their own private chat and they can even have a chat where they can send additional questions to the moderator. But the world does keep on changing. And there’s at least one vendor that offers Zune where the clients come into their own room room and they can chat in their own chat watching the discussion. So there’s no risk of the research, participating participants seeing how many of them there are watching this or seeing their chat.


[00:08:09.920] – Patrice Wooldridge

In addition, this vendor, as well as several others, offer the option to place track marks into the videos. You can place track marks into the videos and machine transcripts after the groups are completed. You can get human transcripts for an additional cost, but it gives you, in addition to the transcript, a simple way of editing so that you can easily pull clips and send those off almost immediately after the groups are over. So one of the other things that you might want to consider as you are thinking about how to set yourself up, particularly if you’re the host or the person doing the interviews, it’s really important to have a big screen display.


[00:08:53.870] – Patrice Wooldridge

And you can see I’ve got a picture here of my setup. I typically use a big screen and I have my smaller, smaller screen so that I can you’ll see in a minute or so that I can have other windows open, even in zoom. So I have a zoom application here and it’s only been recently, actually, that Zoom allows you to share your screen. So this is me sharing my screen, but also open it up so that I can see all the participants who are in my discussion used to be if I shared my screen and zoom, I wouldn’t be able to get the non-verbal reaction of the participants because they there was no way to see everybody.


[00:09:33.170] – Patrice Wooldridge

But now Zoom has that. And one of the things is the zoom consistently adds more features. And that’s the point about making sure that you updated your zoom. But it’s really interesting to see all the fun things that they’ve added even in just the last year. So I want to spend just a few more minutes about a variety of features, talk about whiteboards, breakout rooms and additional cameras, and so quick in terms of what a whiteboard is, you know, way back easel boards, they were in the room.


[00:10:07.020] – Patrice Wooldridge

We were in the room. And you could write everything down and zoom. You can share your screen and open up a document so that you can capture whatever you type in there and adobe connected and just be one more of those pods that you set up. And you can again, use that pod to capture what you would capture in an easel, on an easel if you want participants to share their thoughts individually. So way back in the day we sat around the room, people, the people at the group had a pad and they could write down their thoughts so that you could direct them back to what they were thinking when they first were shown an ad or shown a product or whatever.


[00:10:49.020] – Patrice Wooldridge

You can do that as well. You can have them open up the chat and you can have them send the check just to whoever is leading the group so that nobody else sees it. And this is done in the same way, basically, and Zoom as well as Adobe Connect. But then there’s the question of why not mix up the conversation. I really enjoyed doing groups where you can break them up into smaller groups, but of course, then you have all these people talking and it becomes very patinas.


[00:11:20.470] – Patrice Wooldridge

Now with Zoom, you can have breakout rooms. So if I had nine people participating, I can put three groups of three and have them work on a task and then come back and present that to the main group. But remember, if you do this, you have to be very clear about the task. It’s imperative that you clearly describe describe what you expect they’re going to discuss or do during the break room. And as a side note, you can drop the directions into the chat window before opening the breakout rooms.


[00:11:50.850] – Patrice Wooldridge

And the chat will still show up in everybody’s breakout room. So that’s just one thought about how you can change this up. Another thing that you can do is using additional cameras. So way back in the day we had apps like this overhead projector and now there are our whiteboards at Project and phones that project. One of the apps that I like to use is called Overview, which shows only what your phone camera sees. So I’d like to give you just a little idea of what the overview app looks like.


[00:12:30.000] – Patrice Wooldridge

So there’s some really neat apps that you can use during your video discussions. This one’s called the overview or app, and you can see that I’ve turned it on. And in Zoom, this is the zoom window here. What the people in the conference would see is what they’re seeing right here. And that’s my camera display. So you can see that sort of thing that the camera is picking up. So let’s say I need to show the internals of a particular product that we’re talking about.


[00:13:02.820] – Patrice Wooldridge

I get here and it’s still a little hard to read. But if I turn on the. Like, you can see that it makes it easy to turn the flashlight on and then you can read it very easily, and the nice thing is that this app allows you to take horizontal so landscape or portrait. And it’s just one of the many things that you can do to break out of the box of how we’re what we’re showing during video discussions. OK, so that’s an example of one of the times that we can use an additional camera, another way to use an additional camera is a set up I did to do a product sort and in the product sort, you can see I wanted to show all of my people these different products and move it around so that they could compare them.


[00:14:03.390] – Patrice Wooldridge

And I didn’t want to share the screen. I wanted them to see one another. And that’s the reason why I used a setup that looks something like this. So you can see I had to climb up on the ladder to get my additional mobile phone up here. And then when you look down the relight, which kept everything nicely lit, you can see the products that you have around here. And I made sure again, with that big screen display that I could see everything that I was working on, even though my respondents, again, were only seeing what you see here and this zoom display here.


[00:14:39.600] – Patrice Wooldridge

So maybe that’s a little complicated. But the bottom line that I’m trying to express is that you can use a variety of different cameras and add displays that give texture throughout your focus group. I would like to say that there are many options coming up in person, focus groups can be done where you can break out of the box and have people actually in the focus group room where there’s the three hundred and sixty degree camera. So the person leading the group and the and the clients viewing can be off site, but the people in the room would be able to touch, feel, taste things.


[00:15:22.360] – Patrice Wooldridge

So you can be bringing in food for them, that they can then put their reactions into the chat window and have this conversation. And again, some of these really cool three hundred and sixty degree cameras are nice when you’re having it actually in person. But let’s think even bigger. Why not go out into the world? Why not drones? Why not go probes? Why not see people in the moment that we’re at where they are and having a conversation with them?


[00:15:51.520] – Patrice Wooldridge

There’s really no limit to what we can do if we use some ingenuity. So we just need to break out of the box and enjoy the adventure. Thank you very much. And I look forward to your questions.