"Am rushing to pick up kids at school to get them home, fed, and off to soccer practice. Just made a call on my new cell phone for take-out -- and misdialed AGAIN 'cause the keys are so close together! Am SOOO frustrated with this device. It looked very small and lightweight in the store so I thought it would be perfect for my busy lifestyle.—NOT! Also had a problem this morning when I couldn't figure out how to use the speakerphone for a conference call with my client when I was on the freeway 'cause it doesn't have a separate button. I need to buy a new Bluetooth headset -- but it won't be the same brand as this cell phone. I won't buy this brand again!"
I am a big fan of homework. I loved watching my son Adam and his father struggle, then succeed, in building a sewage treatment plant out of popsicle sticks for an elementary school science fair. While my husband worried about being too involved/not involved enough in helping with homework, I took great pride in the "Aha!" moments as Adam made connections between process and outcome.
Assigning homework to respondents prior to their participation in a focus group or an In-Depth Interview often results in such exciting "Aha!" moments. While not new, homework -- photo journals, collages, video diaries, online diaries – is a surprisingly underutilized technique. The benefits it provides are tangible and many as it serves as a portal to accurate, candid data and authentic insights.
In a recent KS&R usability study on mobile devices, "alpha moms" were given homework consisting of video diaries – or "talk back sessions" -- using digital cameras installed on the dashboards of their vehicles. The in-car digital camcorder is an inconspicuous video recorder with a high quality zone microphone and low light handling, ideal for in-car use. An attached USB port allows for easy upload of respondents' video after each drive session.
Online diaries are another very effective homework tool KS&R employs to capture "in the moment" information and insights. Respondents make notations as they happen through a secure link that KS&R provides. This paves the way for deeper revelations that are key in successfully delivering on the research and business objectives.
Time to go and read some homework.
All the best,