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Posted by Vidya Drego on May 17, 2011
While most design researchers and practioners would agree that surveys aren't the best tool for designing experiences, I'm still suprised that we get pushback on the value of other (primarily qualitative) research methods from customer experience professionals and of course their business colleagues. While many of these people will argue to the grave that surveys are "better" than qualitative research methods because they mitigate risk by being both quantifiable and statistically significant, they don't realize that when designing experiences, surveys introduce "risk" well before a survey is analyzed. How? Well, surveys:
The analysis that goes into surveys can be impressive, and their responses can hold interesting trends and insights for customer experience professionals and their colleagues. But don't get so enamored by the analysis that you miss the fact that the technique had its own drawbacks to begin with. Qualitative methods might not come with the fancy charts and statistical analysis (although many social scientists might disagree), but when done right, they offer the most promising way we've seen to overcome the limitations that survey-based techniques impose when trying to design an experience.
If you're interested in learning more about some of these techniques or learning how they're used in other enterprises, join me for the Understand Your Customers track at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum. Speakers from Wells Fargo, Frog Design, and the Design and Usability Center at Bentley University will be sharing their real-world experiences.