Best Digital Apps for Market Research

Filed Under: Immersive Online Discussions, Qualitative Research


Shaili Bhatt

Alum, Online Qualitative Research

Some of you may recall my previous posts: Qwiki for Video Collages and Exploring Popular Memes as New Projective Activities. I recently presented at the QRCA Conference in San Diego to share these ideas as well as a few other favorite apps for research purposes.

Working back from Qwiki, I will share a new series of posts called the “App Series,” illuminating our current possibilities with digital apps and beyond.

Many of our projects now include a bevy of visual stimuli. For example, what can we suggest after participants have taken their pictures? Or what if you want them to mark-up a picture with positive or negative impressions?

While many digital research platforms have built-in mark-up tools that are powerful for back-end analysis (i.e., with aggregate mark-ups, heat-maps), those tools are useful for extensive communications testing. This app below works well when there is time to manually view and trace patterns across pictures from mobile devices.

Check out Skitch by Evernote: This is a FREE app available on Droid and iOS (App Store), and it offers tremendous possibilities…

Skitch has a series of intuitive controls and quick mark-up tools that pop-up (with a simple finger tap) from the bottom-right side of the screen–perfect for on-the-go callouts! Participants can snap a new picture or use pictures from an existing photo library to mark-up with text, arrows, stickers and other special effects. These drag-and-drop tools include:

  • Resizable arrows and other basic shapes (lines, circles, etc.)
  • Stickers for positive and negative callouts
  • Blurred effects to hide private, sensitive or irrelevant visuals (unique!)
  • Two levels of highlighters: one that’s opaque, another that’s transparent (see what’s underneath)
  • Text and basic captions

Hint: the word-wrapping attached to stickers can chop text when the picture is shared. I suggest utilizing text (from the “a” icon) and sticker callouts separately.

Sharing finished pictures is easy. To fully preserve mark-ups on most devices, snap a screenshot (press the round “Home” + power button on iOS; varies for Droids). The icon in the top-right corner also includes options to share the image by messaging, mail or social media; this allows participants to selectively upload it to a more secure research platform. A $4.99 paid version of the “Evernote Premium” app lets you save the image directly to the phone’s photo library. For a longer project, consider gifting the app as part of the incentive.

This app is useful for more exploratory qualitative projects, like shopping or journaling activities, which could benefit from something more than a simple picture upload.

The best part is that these FREE apps are quite powerful! Perhaps you are already thinking of new ways that you can use tools like these in your projects.

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