Many companies are embracing the power of mobile research. As we discussed in an earlier post, eMarketer predicts that by 2015, 43% of the US mobile population will own smartphones and that smartphones will eventually outsell PCs. Which means that researchers could possibly be present in the pockets of their target audiences right now.
And now Survey Analytics is introducing SurveySwipe which is a community-based mobile research platform. Users receive occasional surveys that they elect to be a part of. Those responses generate information for researchers while also rewarding respondents with points for their opinions. Points for users. Immediate, site-specific feedback for researchers. And now, SurveySwipe is offering companies a free three-month demo of the Mobile Research Communities pilot program on the SurveySwipe website. This seems like a great opportunity for companies that are looking for a direct line to their users, but also a great way for survey takers to gain rewards. I’m personally in it for the Amazon gift certificates.
Survey Analytics CEO, Vivek Bhaskaran, says “As the industry continues to trend more and more towards mobile interaction, it is essential to gather feedback from this source.”
That’s why you see Ideascale offering the iPhone feedback widget. That’s why businesses like OpenMaps and OneBusAway are making sure that they collect feedback from their customers in real-time, directly from a user’s mobile device.
How do you reach out to specific audiences? Is mobile the best way to get responses from your users?
Quirk’s Marketing Research Review recently published an article by Ideascale’s CEO, Vivek Bhaskaran. The article is all about the potential of the ascending smartphone and the advantages that our portable laptop/music player/journal/file system/best friend offers not only to the user, but to the researcher. Like Bhaskaran says in the article, “Smartphones have four critical constructs that make them valuable as a research tool: access, location, identity and deployment.”
A recent Nielsen report told us that 31% of US mobile phone owners have a smartphone as of December 2010. eMarketer tells us that by 2015 43% of the US mobile population will own smartphones. And Morgan Stanley reports that smartphone sales will exceed PC sales in 2012.
What does that mean? It means that we’re moving towards processing most of our information on little more than 4.3 inches of screen space and constantly able to give and receive feedback.
That’s why Ideascale offers the iPhone widget which collects the wisdom of the crowd from within the developer’s app that the user is operating. This type of interface and information-gathering is now absolutely essential. In a recent Forrester article, Thomas Husson wrote that all mobile developers ought “be prepared for real time consumer feedback and anticipate next steps […] Integrating live feedback should be the first step on your mobile application road map.”
But that’s not all you can do to collect valuable information from people wherever they might be, whatever they might be doing, just read the rest of the Bhaskaran article to find out more.
What do you think? How do you think smartphones empower both users and researchers? What do you think the future of mobile crowdsourcing is?
OneBusAway is an open-source project started by students at the University of Washington. Using publicly available information from a number of transit agencies in the Seattle area, OneBusAway provides easy access to real-time arrival information for buses. How does it work? The commuter can either use a website, call a phone number, txt message, or download an iPhone or Android app to their smart phone. IdeaScale is happy to see OneBusAway using our mobile feedback widget which is allowing OneBusAway (and a lot of other great apps) the ability to collect feedback right within their app. We had a short conversation with Brian Ferris of OneBusAway to ask him about his experience using the IdeaScale widget for mobile feedback.
IS: What’s your goal including the IdeaScale widget in your mobile app?
OBA: There are a ton of new features we could add to OneBusAway, but we have limited developer resources (aka even I have to sleep sometimes). IdeaScale is useful to us to get feedback on what new features users want and which features are most important. While the IdeaScale feedback link we’ve added to the main website has been great at generating feedback, a large portion of our user-base primarily interacts with OneBusAway using the iPhone and other mobile apps. The IdeaScale iPhone widget will help us receive feedback from them as well.
IS: What’s the best feedback or bug report you’ve received?
OBA: Our current #1 feature request is trip planning, which is not surprising to me. What was surprising to me was that for a while, stop approach notifications was the #1 feature request (it’s currently #2). While this is definitely a cool feature that we’ve talked about before, I would not have predicted that the community would want it so badly. It’s lead us to re-prioritize our efforts to get to that new feature sooner rather than later.
Also, I wouldn’t have predicted that there would be so much demand for a WP7 client, especially since you can’t even buy these phones yet. The guys over in Redmond must be voting a lot : )
IS: How quickly do you typically implement a suggestion or fix a bug?
OBA: For critical bugs, I try to fix it in less than a week. New features can take a bit longer. It’s really a question of how much I can get away with before my advisors at UW start complaining that I should be working on finishing my dissertation and not writing so much code.
OpenMaps is a feature, rich, fast, and accessible mobile application that displays and edits open map data of OpenStreetMap.org, the free editable map of the whole world. In early 2010, OpenMaps introduced the Ideascale iPhone feedback widget as part of the OpenMaps iPhone application in order to track bugs and feedback from within the application itself.
“We collected feedback via email, Twitter and GetSatisfaction too, and still do. The IdeaScale iPhone widget was simply supposed to be an experiment. It turned out to be a hit as we received much more user feedback than before. It seems people really like giving feedback right from within the application.”
Learn how OpenMaps collects feedback right within the iPhone app:
- Collects hundreds of suggestions for future versions
- Created and implemented 13 new features based on direct user feedback
- Rapid response to each bug while communicating with users
- Tracked what features and suggestions were most popular
- Established the Ideascale widget as one of OpenMaps’ premier offerings