#MRX TWITTER ROUND UP

Here’s a collection of some of the best #MRX posts on Twitter recently, which includes a couple of funny pieces so you can get in the mood for the upcoming three-day weekend.

Also, for this week’s round up we used Twitter’s “logged out” experience that they introduced in April. Have you used this feature?  It’s a great way to become exposed to content you may not otherwise see.

Enjoy the extra time off, everyone!

The Human Element

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We’ve automated a lot of our lives. We can have AI help schedule our appointments, unlock our homes remotely, change the color of our lighting on a whim, share our location with friends and loved ones, and so much more. We’ve entrusted many things to the assistance of machines, and we have reaped the benefit.

Many things still require a human touch, however. watchLAB knows this, and for that reason we put people first in the design of our studios, recruiting methodologies, and interactions with clients and respondents alike. But this year, we’ve begun to see the companies that once entrusted in The Algorithms have now begun to put Real Human People between big data and the end consumer.

A recent example of this shift is Apple, who made a big hubbub about their newest service, Apple Music, this June. Launched on June 30th–and the inevitable conclusion following their acquisition of Beats last year–the service is their answer to Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and Google Play.

Apple has the same approximate number of songs as Spotify and the others. However, Apple focused on one feature above all: human curation. Beats 1, their new global radio station, is manned by DJs with distinct tastes in music. Apple Music has playlists across all their genres, compiled by editors. All of this in the name of providing a better product.

Apple isn’t the only one betting on (and promoting)the human element. Twitter will roll out a new feature, currently dubbed “Project Lightning” that will be manned by editors at Twitter who will compile the most relevant tweets into topic-based timelines. Google is verifying eyewitness accounts of breaking news through YouTube Newswire. In response to Apple Music, competitor Rdio is also launching curated playlists. Buzzfeed’s newest app, Buzzfeed News, compiles the news of the day into a bullet-point format, followed by a handful of big stories—then you reach the end, which never happens these days.

Each of these endeavors are an answer to the quintessential modern problem in the developed world: information overload, or what media critic Douglas Rushkoff calls “present shock.”

Collectively, these companies are all discovering the value of human focus and attention–something that watchLAB and our clients have known all along. Qualitative research is more than just about gauging sentiment: on both sides of the mirror, it is about creating an environment for focused attention.

Consultant Linda Stone calls attention “the most powerful tool of the human spirit.” And she is right. That is why watchLAB works tirelessly to forge environments that make our clients and respondents comfortable, relaxed, and focused. Our rooms are modular so that they may fit the group size. Our waiting rooms are designed to evoke a kitchen table. Our food is comforting and wholesome.

No matter how much of our lives are augmented by the machines and algorithms we’ve built to assist us, the human element and the human touch will always be important.

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#MRX Twitter Round Up

Here’s the best #MRX content we’ve found on twitter recently. Enjoy!

The Secrets to Online Board Success

Online Board Participant

Online boards offer many advantages, from a deeper line of questioning over an extended time frame to a widened geographical reach to minimal travel and overhead costs. But what appears to be a straight-forward approach on paper can quickly spiral into uncontrolled territory if potential problems aren’t anticipated and planned for.

Having worked on a wide array of online bulletin boards on different platforms over the past few years, I’ve found certain key tricks and systems yield the best results. These projects are different from the typical in-person qualitative project, and as recruiters we have to treat them differently. Here are six steps we take to make your online board go smoothly.

1. Approve an outline of tasks for recruiters to review with potential respondents.

These may include uploading photos/videos or writing a blog. Respondents will need to have a clear picture of their required tasks from the very beginning.

2. Have respondents consent to a “Platform Agreement.”

In order to keep our online communities successful, we require each respondent who participates to sign a Platform Agreement. This agreement operates as a mini-contract, and respondents who agree to it generally abide by the requirements and complete everything the platform requires of them.

These agreements state that the respondent must:

  1. Actively participate each day the platform is live;
  2. Confirm that the email we have on file is the one they want to use for the online board;
  3. Agree to stay in touch with the watchLAB team in the event they fall behind on tasks or need technical assistance;
  4. Confirm they have working knowledge of their laptop, tablet, or smartphone and are capable of posting photos and/or videos, and;
  5. Acknowledge they will complete all the tasks required of them to be paid the full incentive amount.

This agreement must be completed within 24 hours of recruitment, via email. It lays out expectations of their participation and lets us weed out any participants who are not responsive to emails or are unsure about their commitment.

3. As an extra incentive, set up a budget for respondent bonuses.

This will help encourage some friendly competition between respondents, and the monetary incentive will encourage everyone to give their best effort.

4. Include a 2-day pre-platform phase in your project timeline.

These two days act as a grace period. At watchLAB, we use this time to onboard all the respondents, make sure they can all login to the board, and have introduced themselves to the other participants. We follow up with everyone via phone call to make sure they don’t have any technical issues and are good to go when the project begins in earnest.

5. Timing of your project is key.

For example, when a project is open for 5 days, it’s good to include a weekend so people can spend a little extra time with it.  We also recommend keeping the platform open through Monday so Monday can be used as a catch-up day. This improves overall completion rates for respondents who may have fallen behind.

6. Daily management.

After you set up the structure, we take it from there. We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure everything runs smoothly: from weekend tech support to daily reminders and follow ups. Many of the better online boards have great tools that help us quickly see who we need to nudge along.

The watchLAB difference

Our level of high-touch support helps us keep the boards consistent and personal. We send emails from a watchLAB email account that will remain in constant communication with the participants each day there is a new task. This process includes personalized emails directed to the respondent telling them a new task has opened up, emails about missing or incomplete tasks (along with directions on how to get the task completed), and constantly telling them how much their insights are valued to the research project. If a respondent is having issues, we also follow up by phone to walk them through a task or any technical problems they experience.

This process allows our team to build a relationship with the respondents, so they are comfortable in asking help for any tech issues or confusion they may have.  We’ve found this boosts participation rates as compared to sending emails and messages directly from the faceless platform. It all serves watchLAB’s goal: to make online boards as personal as a focus group, and as convenient as possible for everyone.

And there you have it, the keys to hosting a successful online platform! I look forward to making your next project a success as well! Email me directly at emira.morina@watchlab.com to discuss design and pricing.

What We’re Watching: Long Weekend Edition

It’s almost time for the 4th of July, so we’re posting our weekly videos a day early.

Here’s what we’re watching:

First, 15 seconds of relaxation. (It’s got to be good to be a turtle.)

Up next: Amy Poehler repurposes everyday objects.

Third: The Verge explains why last week’s E3 was the best in years.

Finally, a video devoted to colors. We’re celebrating the red, white, and blue this weekend–but the other colors are pretty great, too.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!

Connect With Us

Bay Area

Stephanie Mahley, Associate Director

Chicago, Portland & Research Services

Emira Morina, Associate Director

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