Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spotlight on Flash Animation for Online Surveys

With the proliferation of broadband Internet access in recent years, the world of possibilities for online survey programming has become almost limitless. In the past, researchers were forced to conduct studies via slower, more expensive in-person interviews if they wanted to implement certain techniques such as dial testing for TV ads or complicated sorting exercises. While the in-person channel is absolutely still appropriate for certain types of studies, many of the techniques that were once thought of as “in-person only” can now easily be included in online surveys using the ubiquitous Adobe Flash multimedia platform. Some examples include:

  • Drag-and-Drop Sorting Exercises – A technique that harkens back to the classic chip allocation exercises, this method allows respondents to drag-and-drop any type of item (e.g., product attributes, brand names/logos, photos of politicians, etc.) into different buckets (e.g., scale rankings, usage occasions, etc.). In addition to being more engaging for respondents, this method also helps to reduce survey length, as respondents no longer need to navigate huge on-screen grids.
  • Dial Technology – Rather than being sequestered in a hotel conference room or a research facility as in the past, respondents can now view a video online and move a virtual dial up and down to indicate which specific elements of the video are more positive or negative. This is a fantastic technique for – among other uses – determining which segments of a 60-second spot are crucial to include in the abridged 30 or 15-second versions.
  • Image and Text Tracking – As a diagnostic tool for concept evaluation or print copy testing, respondents can click on important elements of an image or highlight the most/least meaningful text phrases, providing the research manager with more of the “why’s” behind their standard battery of survey questions.
  • Virtual Magazines – Rather than using static images to simulate a magazine or booklet that respondents are asked to evaluate, you can use animation to create actual turning pages to give a more realistic feel to your stimulus.
  • Custom Flash Programming – If you have a product concept that is too complicated for the standard one-page text description, a website idea that hasn’t actually been built yet, or an advertisement that hasn’t made it past the storyboard stage, you can create short Flash demos to provide as online survey stimuli. These can range from image slideshows (with or without audio) to fully animated interactive videos and any iteration in-between.

With all the possibilities available for online survey programming, there are really very few limits for research managers. If you can imagine it, chances are it can be executed. Accelerant Research can provide any of the above techniques, as well as countless others. Please contact us for additional details or to set up a demonstration.