As a senior leader in qualitative research here at Magid, I’ve led a wide range of market research strategies and applications across many industries with a primary focus on the entertainment industry – including television, movies, marketing/promotion, streaming content/OTT, apps/websites, and gaming.
I’m constantly having the opportunity to work with a diverse set of audiences from preschool age to adult, and kids and family research has become an area of specialty for me over the years. It’s interesting, particularly in the entertainment industry so we can deliver a more holistic understanding of what kids and families are doing-thinking-buying-changing-wishing for across their entire entertainment ecosystem.
I employ a wide range of different methods to approach UX issues, based on client questions, the platform, and the intended audience. Common approaches include everything from straightforward one-on-one UI interviews, dyads and triads with family or friend cohort groups, focus groups, longitudinal online communities, ethnographies or even creative consumer sessions.
Regardless of the method, certain skills are fundamental to providing a set of insights or recommendations that will result in a good outcome for our clients.
8 most important skills and abilities for qualitative researchers
- Aptitude for listening with intention
Being a good listener above all – listening beyond just what a user is saying to figure out where they are coming from and what they are really getting at.
- Ability to establish rapport quickly
Especially in a one-on-one setting.
About how things work and how people think.
Knowing how to ask the right questions in the right way.
- Iterate in the moment
When appropriate, given the client and their expectations, the ability to come up with and test alt language, flow, etc., in the moment with users.
- Think and articulate both big and small
Ability to internalize the big picture questions, as well as the small details of the concept, feature, or content in question, so you have the ability to think quickly and adapt in real time.
- Articulate the findings
Summarize key findings and make actionable recommendations that are user-centered.
- Democratically represent the consumer
Be the voice of the user back to your clients – stand up for them.
This space continues to evolve just as technology and human behavior do. We’ve just come out of field with our own proprietary study exploring voice technology (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, etc.) with current owners/users and potential users. Voice is a unique UX and will have an impact on many different industries, including entertainment. We’re going into the study wanting to be poised and ready with an understanding of the current user experience, as well as what expectations and desires there are for the future of voice.
While evolution is inevitable in today’s rapidly changing world, applying fundamental skills to qualitative research will never go out of style.