After the early access pre-launch of Recollective On-Demand
, a free simplified version of Recollective, we’ve had a very busy October. To keep the momentum up, the Ramius developers have been back at it with some great new improvements to the platform. Here’s what we released in November:
While it’s always been possible to perform a “Support Login” and experience a Study from the perspective of a specific participant, client or moderator, we wanted to make it easier to do this kind of check before a study was opened and participants uploaded.
Similarly, Recollective had the ability to preview a single activity or task but you could not remain in this preview state to test all screens or traverse through complex linkages between activities and discussions or even across studies.
Now, that’s all changed. Analysts can select “Preview As…” in the control panel to immediately experience their study as one of the various user roles supported (Participant, Client or Moderator). It’s a single click operation and the study can remain in a draft state.
- While previewing as a participant, analysts can can assign themselves into one or more segments to see the impact that has on the visibility of segmented activities and topics.
- Activities completed while previewing as a participant appear in the activity response table at the top with a yellow highlight (they are fast and easy to remove). They can only be seen by other analysts and are never summarized with participant data in task overviews, reports or transcripts.
- Note that if an analyst posts comments or participates in discussions while in the preview mode, it will still appear to everyone as if they had posted it normally.
Improved Prompt and Poll Routing
In previous releases we provided the capability to have a Poll or Prompt task route the participant out of the activity based on their response choice. That left the activity in an “incomplete” state.
We’ve improved the process to have that kind of branching action mark the initial activity as completed (i.e. any remaining tasks are marked as skipped). This setting is enabled by default but can be disabled if you plan to direct the participant back to the activity (which tends to be rare but occasionally is necessary).
What that means is complex task branching scenarios can now be achieved with greater ease as there’s no need to route participants to a final prompt task to generate a proper “Completed” status (e.g. you can, for example, disqualify a participant in one step).
Inactive Participant Handling
In longer-term studies, participant churn is inevitable. People are either removed from one study (but left active) or their entire panelist record is deactivated. In either case, your feedback has indicated it’s helpful for that person’s past contributions to remain easily accessible and accounted for in statistics.
For example, if a study has 10 active participants but only 8 did an activity, the response rate is 80%. If two past (inactive) participants had responded to that same activity, Recollective previously showed “10/10 (100%)”.
Following this update, we now add inactive participant responses to the denominator so the response rate becomes “10/12″.
We’ve updated our chart library to its latest version which solves some issues with pie chart labels that could occasionally appear cutoff.
- A new flatter look and brighter colour scheme has been implemented as well.
- Pie charts have been given legends that can be selected to toggle the appearance of select chart segment.
- Performance: The use of drop shadows was greatly reduced to create a more flat and performing design. Page rendering and CSS transformations should be much smoother in all browsers but especially Firefox and Internet Explorer.
- Study Header: A new setting allows the study name to be hidden in the study header. Note that this does not hide the name entirely, only the appearance of the name next to the site logo.
- Photo and Video Overviews: Greater visual separation has been added to these overviews to ensure the metadata below the thumbnails are visually grouped. The tooltip for each photo/video item now follows your mouse when hovering which makes it easier to notice and read.
- Email Invitations: Validation has been added to identify existing participants in the list of emails provided. It now prevents the form from being submitted until the duplicate emails are removed. Previously, the process would simply skip the duplicates but it caused some people to think email invites were not being sent (i.e. admins would invite themselves to test it out but no email would arrive since they’re already part of the study).
- Sort and Rank: The third data table citing individual card placements can now be exported into CSV
- Next Activity Prompt: The prompt for participants to start the next activity no longer appears in the Control Panel, it only appears under the navigation tabs (previously seen only when the control panel was closed). This is to ensure that prompt is not missed.
- Study Setup Guide: The guide is now positioned along the top of the page and not below the navigation tabs. This ensures the main appearance of the study is not altered by its presence and reduces confusion about the location of the guide (i.e. it is not part of “Summary” tab).
- Study Setup Guide: The order of steps was revised to focus on Activities first and that step’s description was dramatically simplified. The step about Segments was removed and various other small changes were made for usability.
- Support Login: While logged in as another user, analysts will see a new bar that’s fixed along the top of the browser frame. This is strictly a style change.
In the past few releases we’ve spent a lot of effort improving the functionality of the response streams in Recollective. This September release is the culmination of that work and we think it introduces some amazing new capabilities for researchers. Plus, in addition to the features described below, we have introduced support for Italian language to Recollective.
Excerpting in Stream
A unique feature that Recollective has always had is the ability to save any text submitted by a participant so you can store interesting quotes. We call these ‘verbatim excerpts’ and we also allow you to categorize them with codes such as “Positive”, “Negative”, “Great Quote” or any other custom code you like.
We’ve had a lot of positive feedback about the excerpting capability and how you’d like to see it combined into the response streams to make reviewing and marking up data even easier. In this major release, we’ve done just that. You can now highlight any participant-submitted text you see in the stream to access the “Save Excerpt” option as seen when excerpting activity responses, comments, discussion posts and private messages.
To make excerpting in the stream easy to use, we’ve also added a new “Excerpt Mode”. This option appears above the stream next to the sorting option.
Excerpt Mode has a few important functions:
Highlights existing excerpts directly in the stream
Highlights which parts of the stream can be saved as excerpts
Exposes hidden text like photo captions and image review annotations (i.e. text that usually appears only when you hover your mouse over an image in the stream)
With each stream entry, there is also a count of excerpts (seen only by administrators). Clicking this icon will cause that single stream entry to enter ‘Excerpt Mode’ and show all details for existing excerpts with the option to modify them and collaborate via backroom commentary.
We think excerpting in the stream will save study moderators a lot of time. Let us know whether you like it and how it can be improved. Continue reading
There were a number of small improvements that we weren’t able to squeeze into the main release this month, so instead they were all pushed live over the weekend. Here’s a quick summary of what’s changed.
- New stream filtering options to highlight comments and ratings by a profiled user
Photo Task Type
After splitting the old Text / Photo task type a few releases ago, we’ve had feedback from some customers that they want to see it back. So, to help any die-hards out there, we’ve improved the new Photo Task Type.
- New option attached to Additional Commentary to “Place above photos” which enables text to be captured before photos are uploaded.
- Text responses appear above photos on the response view and stream
August is normally a quiet month, so we’ve taken the opportunity to make some further advances in the Recollective feature set. Chief among them are improvements to the Poll tool which were pushed live yesterday evening (6 Aug).
Improved Poll Task Type
The Poll task type was one of the very first we released back in 2011 and we’ve had some great feedback about how to improve it. In this release we’ve expanded it’s capability to include follow-on actions and new choice options.
- A “None of the above” and an “All of the above” choice in single and multiple choices polls respectively which remains on the bottom of the list when options are randomized.
- The ability to define actions per poll choice (in a similar way to the Prompt task type). These actions enable you to do things like drive task navigation (skip ahead / back / across / sideways / up / down and generally have fun), open external URLs, add or remove participants to segments and more. This feature applies to single-choice polls only.
The weather is hot in Ottawa and so it seems are our development cycles. Ramius’ engineers apparently can’t resist a customer challenge and following quickly after the major update we made to Recollective in June, we’re pushing out some great customer requests that improve the reporting and study setup options.
New Excel Activity Transcript
Top of the list is a brand new transcript option to export activity responses to a highly-readable Excel format (.xlsx).
We know how much you all love Excel and we’ve added in plenty of neat elements to this transcript including:
- Multiple activities can be exported at once to a single Excel file. Each activity has its own tab in that Excel file.
- The file includes a “Summary” tab that indicates the site name, study name, report date, report configuration and included activities, with links to other parts of the spreadsheet.
- A dedicated Participant tab exists in the sheet that acts as a participant appendix. This makes all other tabs easier to read.
- The existing transcript configuration area lets you choose which “Inclusions” you want in this output format. That means it’s still possible to include comments, ratings, excerpts, backroom and incompletes even in the XLSX report.
- If comments and/or backroom is included, an extra “Comments” tab appears in the spreadsheet. Comments link back to task responses and responses link to comments (e.g. a linked comment count will appear for each response). Backroom tasks also indicate if they’re completed and by whom.
- If “Incompletes” is enabled, it shows a list of people in each activity tab that never started or completed the activity so the list of available respondents is complete.
- If “Ratings” is enabled, a count of Likes and Dislikes is included with each response.
- If “Excerpts” is enabled, a dedicated Excerpts tab appears and each excerpt links back to the related task responses within the sheet. Comments on those excerpts are even included in the Comments tab and they link to each other.
- Every task response and participant profile is linked back to the actual live site. It also includes the #-style reference numbers in case it’s printed and you still want to quickly locate the data in context.
- Task types can be quite complex in Recollective, so some tasks require more than one column (e.g. this ensures Image Review markers take up one column and its additional commentary is kept cleanly separated).
- The header row and participant name in the first column are frozen so that they remain in view as you scroll through a large Excel sheet to improve readability.
- It includes rich task types like Video, Image Review and Sort and Rank. For Image Review, we embed the section of the image where the marker was placed for context.
- All embedded thumbnail images (for tasks data and participant profile photos) are embedded in the sheet so it works offline and there’s a link to view the full-size version of all images.
- In addition to the Transcripts control panel, you can quickly access this report from Activity Options, a link beneath the Activity Overview response table and in the HTML formatted transcript output.