Knowing More Than the Number

Sometimes as researchers, we get caught up in the numbers. We want to know what percentage of people prefer Option A to Option B. Or we need to know the Top 2 box score for a concept. However sometimes the best information to make the decision is in understanding what influenced that answer. Why is Option A preferred? How could this product be improved?What are the likes and dislikes of each concept?

Online communities are qualitative in nature and focus on understanding the whys, hows, and the whats.  This method ensures you are getting the whole picture and can help you uncover potential issues with your design that may be missed in a strictly quantitative based study. Sometimes by only focusing on the pure numbers, we miss an important point. You might miss why one concept was more appealing or what made another concept less appealing, or you might miss what was missing or confusing.

We recently ran a packaging design study comparing two new concepts. Ideally, we have a very clear winner. However, for this project, that was not the case. Overall, Option A was slightly preferred in every close ended metric. However, when you looked at Option B’s open-ended data, one thing stood out. The colors on this packaging were appealing and stood out to respondents. By looking at all the data together we could conclude that while the design of Option A was preferred overall, the colors on Option B were more appealing to respondents. This led us to recommend our client to use the overall design from Option A with colors from Option B.

Understanding what influences someone's answer is usually just as important as the answer itself. While we might never know all the facets of what goes into a respondent's answer, asking some simple questions can help get a better idea.  Next time you are looking to make a change, big or small, make sure that you ask the right questions: The whys, hows, and whats.

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