Thousands of studies took place on Recollective in 2018 and hundreds of thousands of participants came through our virtual doors to respond and interact. Countless task responses, videos and discussions posts were contributed which add up to millions of words. Before we knew it, another insightful year had drawn to a close.
Before we kick off new a series of blog posts in 2019, we thought it would be fitting to summarize all that we accomplished in the development of Recollective in 2018.
Our customers add their unique research expertise to Recollective and ultimately it is they who take it to market. This shared-success model means the quantity and quality of feedback we get is invaluable. We never stop improving and only wish we could deliver on these ideas faster.
What I’ll do in this post is summarize the most significant platform updates from 2018 and then highlight some of the smaller, yet important, usability improvements that were directly inspired by our customers.
Video Review Task Type
We had a strong start to the year by launching an entirely new task type in January 2018. The Video Review task type was introduced to tackle a common yet challenging need – collecting contextual feedback on video content.
Regardless if a video lasts 30 seconds or 30 minutes, linking feedback to a point in time in the video is key. Categorizing these comments is also essential.
Video Review allows any number of comment markers to be defined as a text label and icon. Participants are guided to use the markers during task completion and it ensures usage limits are respected.
Once responses are in, new interactive charts allow marker frequency to be assessed and comments to be filtered by user profile, time range or marker type.
Learn more about the Video Review Task Type
Automatic Video Clipping
Late in 2017 we introduced automated video transcripts with interactive playback capabilities. In 2018 we went further by combining Recollective’s powerful text-excerpting capabilities with video transcripts.
Every saved snippet of text on a video transcript now creates a video clip that is precisely timed to match the selected text. No video trimming tool is needed. You can quickly create a bank of categorized video clips ready to playback and export.
Learn more about Automatic Video Clipping
Email Broadcast Scheduling
Recollective had superior email broadcasting tools but now you can schedule the delivery of those messages. Have an invitation, announcement or simple reminder to be sent at 6 AM on Monday next week? No problem.
To make use of this feature, simply compose an email broadcast in Recollective as you normally would and preview the message. Next, select “Send Later” instead of “Send Now” and you’ll be prompted to pick the desired date and time.
All scheduled broadcasts are listed together so they’re easy to reschedule or cancel. You can even remove individual recipients while preserving the message for others.
New Panelist Attributes & Panelist Export
For medium and long-term Recollective studies, monitoring the level of participant engagement is essential. With this in mind, we introduced a host of new built-in metrics for panelists such as the quantity of contributions they’ve made and the date of their last activity. This new data is available for each study and can be aggregated across studies.
We also ensured these new attributes are easy to export by offering a new Panelist Export utility. Analysts can select which standard attributes, agreements, segments, profile fields and study-level attributes they want to export. They can control if study-level values are grouped by attribute or study.
The new attributes are exposed in advanced panelist filters and are therefore available for use with Smart Segments. Segments can in turn be leveraged to target messages, activities, discussions and more.
Bulk Export of Files
We made it possible to bulk export all the files collected in a study in the same way we offer the bulk export of videos and photos.
Recollective excels at collecting photos and videos but it can also be used to collect files from participants. Customers make use of this feature to collect rich response data in unique ways.
A Multimedia task might offer an Excel sheet template for participants to complete. Another task might ask that participants create a collage and upload a final PDF. Any number of creative exercises can be devised that require the submission of a file.
Privacy Improvements (GDPR)
A blog post about 2018 wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the GDPR. It’s Europe’s new privacy legislation that went in effect in March. One benefit for us all was a renewed focus on data security and data privacy.
Recollective did its part as we completed a number of product improvements to ensure we and our partners could be compliant with the GDPR in time.
For example, an entirely new method was developed to wipe personally identifiable information (PII) for one or more panelists all the while preserving response data for the long term.
The new personal data removal option exists in the Site Administration area while viewing Panelists but also Segments. You can, for example, create a Smart Segment of panelists that have not logged in for over a year and then initiate personal data removal on just that subset of individuals.
You can also identify which of your site’s custom fields will be collecting personally identifiable information. These field values are then also wiped during the personal data removal process.
With regards to photo and video response data, Recollective allows you to decide if these response types should be kept or discarded. If videos are removed, Recollective will still preserve the audio and text transcript along with any related text excerpts.
Collecting consent and other legal acknowledgements is a very common need in research and it’s one that has been amplified by the GDPR. Having participants opt-in when joining a study ensures you have permission to collect and process their personal information. It is often necessary to also include a set of terms for acceptance.
Recollective updated the ability for sites to configure these agreements. Each agreement is a statement and an optional sub-page of related content. Participants must accept any required agreements before joining or re-entering the site. Most importantly, every opt-in and opt-out is carefully logged and timestamped as evidence.
Note that agreements can also be set as optional and thus can be ideal for less critical marketing opt-ins as well (i.e. “I agree to be contacted by Company ABC after the conclusion of this study.”).
Learn more about Agreements
Image Review Improvements
One of Recollective’s most popular task types is Image Review. It allows any image or photo to be marked up with comments by participants. The image under review might represent a single concept or a collage of visual elements.
In 2018, the Image Review task type was improved by allowing an unlimited number of distinct markers to be defined for the review. Previously, a hard limit of 3 markers existed. Each marker icon can now be any emoji character (in addition to the previous marker icons).
The chart summary for Image Review tasks was also greatly improved by the addition of a new heat map visualization with full control over its appearance. As done for all other charts, the heat map can be exported for offline presentations.
Learn more about Image Review 2.0
Qualitative studies powered by Recollective are really all about the conversations they facilitate. Moderators start most conversations but participants are often invited to react to each other’s contributions or join ongoing discussions.
We sought to improve conversations in all areas of Recollective by allowing individuals to be directly mentioned (e.g. “I agree with @john but disagree with @mary”). Each mention triggers a notification that re-engages the individual.
Mentions are especially powerful for analysts and moderators as they are permitted to reference entire segments of participants or use @everyone reach all participants at once.
Learn more about Mentions
Sort & Rank Improvements
Another popular task type that’s unique to Recollective is a card sorting task we call Sort & Rank. It allows administrators to define a set of cards that can be categorized into named groups via drag and drop. Once in a group, the cards can be ranked.
We recently improved this task type to streamline its setup and overall appearance. Cards are now larger and have an improved style. Once the cards are in a group, they are less tall now and thus easier to drag up and down.
Randomizing Task Groups
When testing concepts in Recollective, it’s essential that the presentation of those concepts be randomized to avoid introducing any bias. It’s also critical that follow-up questions related to a concept remain grouped with that concept. With this in mind, we introduced the ability for tasks to be grouped within an activity.
To group tasks, you must first enable randomization of tasks in the activity. Once tasks are created, simply drag one task onto another as you do when grouping applications on a smartphone.
Tasks in a group can remain in sequence while all groups are randomized. Simply toggle the randomize icon shown on each card and group.
Bulk Import v2
Adding participants to a study is a critical step to the launch of any research project. While there are many ways to onboard individuals, importing all or some of their profile information is a very common need.
Bulk importing participants from a spreadsheet is not new but it hasn’t always been efficient for those including custom segments and profile data at the same time.
Instead of having to conform to a template, the updated Bulk Import feature ensures Recollective will adapt to the spreadsheet provided. Administrators are now encouraged to import as much data as they like. The only requirement is that the first row of the spreadsheet contains the labels for each column of data.
Recollective will examine the Excel sheet provided and attempt to map the columns (e.g. first name, email, segment, study, etc). It then allows administrators to configure or discard the remaining columns.
What’s most notable is that the new Bulk Import process can create new segments and profile fields as needed. When importing Poll data, Recollective will even create all the unique choices for a seamless import without data loss.
Bulk Import is available in the Site Administration area and within each study. Create an Excel sheet with as many columns as you like and give it a try.
Simplified Survey Integration
Recollective studies are often complemented by external surveys which expand the number of question types available to moderators. What’s important is tracking the completion of an external survey within Recollective. Although such tracking has been possible for some time, the process has been greatly simplified.
When linking from Recollective to an external survey (or any other external tool), you can now pass a single value we call a “Success URL“. The survey tool only has to redirect participants back to that address upon completion. Recollective will mark the original task as “Complete” and take the participant to the next step in the study.
Learn more about Survey Integration in our knowledge base.
Support for Google Sign-In
Recollective sites can now enable Google Sign-In support with a single click. It allows Google Gmail and Google G Suite customers to skip the creation of yet another account password. Google Sign-In support joins Facebook and LinkedIn as integrations that can be enabled in a single-click.
Visit the Site Administration > Site Setup area and then select Account Settings. Enable as many services as you like. Support for Google should help streamline the on-boarding of new participants and administrators.
A lot of our focus at Recollective includes listening to our customers and so we’ve accumulated a ton of great ideas to streamline the service. As such, not all our improvements we made are major product changes but they still add up to a qualitative improvement ;).
Here’s a list of some of the many usability improvements we made in 2018:
- Webcam capture is now simpler, faster and supports HD webcams
- Video playback speed can now be controlled (e.g. 0.75x, 1.5x, 2x, etc.)
- Analysts, Moderators and Clients can be invited by email to self-register
- Panelists can be screened via qualifying choices in addition to disqualifying choices
- New panelist-level metrics are now shown on all profiles and are linked to related content
- Large discussion topics load faster and are better paginated
- Summaries can now filter down to a single blank in a Fill the Blank task
- Word Cloud customization is now possible by hiding unwanted words
- The poster image of a video can now be customized (pause the video and select “Set Thumbnail” in the top-right corner)
- Emoji selection now includes categories and support for all the latest emoji
- A support contact can now be designated per study
- Site and study appearance themes now support gradients
- Chart titles are now included in chart exports (among other improvements)
- The profile field configuration of a site can now be exported to Excel
- Site Log now includes Bulk Imports and each links to the original import file
- Grid Task is now easier and faster to set up
- Study notifications to administrators have been streamlined and can include clients
- Pasted Microsoft Word content is now better handled by the text editor
- Incentive point adjustments can now be backdated to ensure they fall in a given period
- Video playback experience on mobile has been improved
Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about these or any of the other recent improvements. It would also be a great time to tell us what would you’d like to see us build in Recollective for 2019.
We look forward to working with you in 2019!