Undercover in Dscout

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

Mission Photo, Title, and Description Text

Your photo, title, and description text are the first thing your users see about your Mission. And you have to entice them to want to be a part of it. Users have to apply to be a part of your mission, so this is key.


Reward vs Openings

If you do some quick math, you’ll see the budget that the researcher had for the study:


Once you’ve attracted your user to apply to be a part of your Mission, they have to fill out a survey. Remember learning about this thing called, “Survey Fatigue?” Yeah, it’s a real thing and it definitely applies here!


The Mobile Platform

For the end user, the primary way of interacting with dscout is through a mobile phone app. This is good and bad. I’ve been testing it out using the app on my iPhone.

Good Survey Questions

This final section is probably one of the most important ones because it’s just about creating good survey questions. By far, the most egregious errors I found taking application surveys were with the questions themselves. Here are some tips.

Ask ONE question at a time

Yup. Just one. Not two. Not three. Not 12.

Video Capture Screen on dscout

Radio Buttons vs. Sliding Scale

This is an interesting topic because it brings together many of the previous topics. On the mobile phone, when you have a radio button question, you invite your users to select one and only one response. This is very similar to the sliding scale question as well, however, the use of screen real estate to ask the question is different. The radio button question can ask the same thing as a 5-point likert scale question, but the implementation makes it so much easier with the radio buttons.

Example Radio Button question on dscout
Sliding Scale Question on dscout

Closing the Loop

Good surveys will have clear questions with defined scales which aren’t too long but still get to the most important parts of what you need to know. But not every Mission is for every person, and it’s nice to know whether you’re automatically removed or not.

Closing the Loop in dscout

Feature Requests

As I’ve been through the experience being a Scout, there are some things that I would have liked that could have improved the experience.

  • Indicate particular interest: I’d love to be able to indicate that I’m super interested in a particular study topic and really want to be selected. I’d love to just be able to flag for the researcher that I think I’m perfect for the Mission and I have a lot of interesting things to say about a topic. Perhaps this is just a checkbox somewhere in the application.
  • Not interested follow-up: When I’m not interested in a study, it would be good to be able to ask a question about why. For example, there was one about diabetes. I don’t have diabetes, so I marked one study as, “Not interested.” But it would be great if there was a follow up question about why that could then be tied to my user profile that could then be used in future Missions to help tailor better ones to me.
  • Mission application progress: I would love to be able to see how far I’ve progressed and know how much more there is coming. E.g. Question 5 out of 12 or 75% complete. When I was on the energizer bunny survey, I really would have liked to know how much more was coming, so I could perhaps finish it later or not even apply.
  • Scouts Selected: I’d really like to be able to see when scouts will be selected for a Mission… e.g. by date. Then I know I’m likely not selected if that date goes by.
  • Not selected status: Also would like to know that my application was reviewed and that I was not selected. It’s a good way to close the loop that so far, has only been closed when a survey response tells me.



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