Earlier today I had the pleasure of a chat with Daniel Fazekas from KwaliTools, a new service for market researchers which provides a powerful and flexible way to conduct video online focus groups. Daniel is an interesting person to be running this sort of company as he has a background in ‘real’ qualitative research and in software development.
One of the key things about KwaliTools is that it is highly focused on creating online, video focus groups. The system is not compromised by being multi-function, and multi-market, it is allows researcher to conduct synchronous web video, qualitative discussions – it is not a conference platform, it is not an asynchronous tool, and it is not a text-based focus group.
Daniel gave me a demonstration of the system and I look forward to giving it a proper trial at some future point. Key things that stood out for me were:
- It seemed really easy to use and quite flexible
- Creating joint tasks, such as creating a collage board, was a lot of fun
- The system seemed to work well with an ordinary browser and connection speed
- Of particular interest was the way that a group could be split into separate rooms, allowing them to work on tasks separately (with everything recorded)
I think one of the key things for anybody wanting to make a success of video chat focus groups is to move beyond just replicating what happens in a face-to-face group, to take advantage of features like the separate rooms and the power of virtual white boards.
Compared with a text-based online focus group the video group is much more like a face-to-face group. In a text-based group everybody tends to speak (type) at the same time, in a video group normal patterns of taking it in turns to speak prevails. In a text group the transcript is immediately available, with a video group there is the positive of having all that useful video, but it takes longer to review, especially if several rooms have been used and recorded.
One of the most surprising things about Kwalitools was the price. I can’t reveal the price (KwaliTools will tell you it if you contact them), but I was amazed at how cheap a one hour group was.
For any qual researcher looking to offer something different to their clients, perhaps in conjunction with traditional face-to-face research, this looks like a really interesting option, one well worth giving a try to see if it suits you.
Going forward another option might be to link KwaliTools to other systems, for example community panels, via an API, to allow qualitative depth to be added to quantitative breadth.