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When Live Really Means Live

Posted on Sep 25th, 2007 by Everyone
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A couple weeks ago, we were doing research onsite at a client’s office. We had an audience of about 10 and we were live recruiting. It was a high traffic site and we were catching most users within 5 minutes. The interviews were good, but since the focus was on form filling and error message handling, we decided nothing could replace seeing users encounter the pages for the very first time.

So for the last few, we decided to go really, really live. We wouldn’t call a user more than 30 seconds after they filled out the screener, and instead of scrolling back up the list, we’d sit and wait for a qualified user to come in, each time.

We felt a little funny sitting there not doing anything for minutes at a time…and we found out a lot about our clients’ weekends, kids, and hobbies as we all sat watching the response screen, ready to pounce (actually, that was fun). But the quality of the truly live intercept interviews was unparalleled. Users stumbled, reacted to minor issues, and hardly ever said “I would think this” or “I would do that.” Because they were really doing it, right then.

A great reminder about why we do things this way, and how it’s worth it to wait to catch someone “really” live.