Far more accessible and cost-effective than actual in-person interviews, video conferences are proving an excellent medium for conducting or participating in research. At Discuss.io we work ceaselessly to expand these innate possibilities, as well enhance overall research speed, turnaround, and variety.
Primary research itself, however, can be frustrated if researchers, participants, or consultants struggle with communicating via audio and visual feeds. A specialty service, we have plenty of personal experience and feedback that influences our design decisions.
From navigation to consistent video streams, we design our platform to be an intuitive solution. Most people only require a few moments to confidently work the interface and access its options, a result of our tireless pursuit of the perfect interview experience.
The truth is that preparation is far more crucial than technical aptitude, at least when using most modern platforms. Be it ensuring clarity or an internet connection at all, here is a roundup of useful advice to maximize impact and minimize distraction for everyone involved.
Set the Scene
Like any video two-way, qualitative research interviews can become an A/V nightmare in a jiffy. Loud noises, outside conversations, and loud music or TV all detract from either side’s ability to concentrate and ease into rapport. The environment needn’t be a control room, but it’s a good idea to keep things calm unless otherwise part of the study.
Also make sure the lighting is good and adjust the device, webcam, or laptop hinge to offer the best possible viewing angle of your face. Part of a video interview’s strength is free-form communication with all visual and auditory details. Ensuring these are of good quality eases candor and improves overall reception for all involved.
Use Popular, Mainstream Browsers and Minimize Computer Activity/Bandwidth Consumption
As with about every software type on the web, a multitude internet browsers and cloud apps are available. Many are innovative or productive in their own right, but that does not mean they have the rapid-response capability of larger browsers. Our platform is quite effective on popular options like Mozilla Firefox, IE, and Chrome. That doesn’t mean other options won’t work, but they may have browser-based hiccups that mainstream options lack.
Bandwidth is also crucial for real time audio/visual quality. Discuss.io HD features the industry’s most bandwidth efficient platform, but browsers can handle only so much activity. Close tabs or applications with other video or audio streaming services, including Windows Media Player or iTunes, unless necessary for the interview.
Test and Check Devices and Their Connectivity
Hardware matters too, and not just for its speed. Make sure all devices or computers have a stable bandwidth connection, that the webcam driver is up to date, and other little tidbits. Further, make sure the lens and microphone are clear. That can require changing rooms or adjusting device location for better acoustics. If stationary, then placing the cam near or atop the screen is a good idea. Headsets, of course, are also a good option.
Take a Moment and Practice on the Webcam
Most people take to video interviews quite easily, but slight adjustments to comportment ensure far better communication. Eye contact, first and foremost, should be with the cam rather than the screen. Doing so connotes eye contact on the other end, a trick that newscasters and other professionals use every day. Similarly, make sure to pick up enunciation a notch and adjust your volume for the mic.
Remember to Review Questions and Context
Interview premises range from the impromptu to the highly categorized and structured. Depending on the study itself, make sure to review all pertinent information or questions. Doing so grants far better conversations that are more pertinent to the study’s focus and less likely to require off-topic clarifications.
Make Sure to Understand Pertinent Features
If described in a single sentence, Discuss.io simplifies logistics while maximizing validity and turnaround. Part of that is creating an accessible, yet compressive toolset for real-time distribution and analysis of data. Watch our demos for an even better idea. Near any researcher should be able to quickly navigate and use our platform, but doing so isn’t a requirement for teams designating specific responsibilities. Think creating video clips, overseeing transcription, or otherwise screen-sharing pertinent data, notes, or instructions. Such options typically enable quicker and better informed projects.
Webcam Interview Skills: A Smart Adaptation to Today’s Technology
Now well over a decade in the consumer market, most people feel quite naturalized to streaming video calls. Becoming familiar with best practices is far from just a matter of comportment or presentation. Communication is a large part of qualitative research, so make sure to express yourself. A bit of time and forethought really smooths the process when on video, making interviews all the more enjoyable, informative, and legit. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.
Zach Simmons is the Founder and president of Discuss.io. Zach has 20 years of experience building software. Prior to founding Discuss.io, he was the Technical Product Manager for Amazon Web Services (S3) where he ran the team that built the infrastructure that now powers a significant percentage of the modern Internet. Zach holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
An entrepreneurial leader, Zach is passionate about building disruptive and agile SaaS based market research startups as an alternative to traditional market research. Seeing a need for change within the Industry, Zach launched Discuss.io, bringing Market Research to the digital age.