The history of Qual Spotter

Qual Spotter Alpha — A cloud platform to store and share qualitative user research data — tailored specifically for Large Organisations.

For close to a decade Small Studio has been working in the UX arena, more recently with clients such as Alfred Health, CSIRO and The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre on highly complex web projects.

In late 2014 we noticed something big.

Departments were needlessly doubling up on user research and were totally unaware of each others’ research findings.

Project team members gather critical insight from their experience and user research. However, these insights are rarely shared with other units, meaning the next web project team starts from scratch with discovery work.

So in early 2016 we started making a prototype to investigate the question:

How can user testing and research data be stored, logged, and have a life outside of the project the research was originally commissioned for?

Proving the concept

By May 2016 we had a working proof of concept, which we demonstrated at Web Directions Transform in Canberra. Feedback from researchers, community engagement professionals, UX designers and team leaders was so constructive that we kept working.

Pausing for research

We had a suspicion that focusing on functionality might result in a tool that is comparable technically with the more mature products out there, but we felt that it was important to learn more, so we undertook two research projects:

  • Discovery research with researchers about their methods
  • Discovery research with staff from large organisations, regarding how they handle onboarding and usage of new software

We also read a lot on interviewing, analysing, transcribing, visualising and workshopping. It took a lot of time, but we wanted to make software for large organisations that would actually be useful in the context of a large organisation, with the limitations, behavioural quirks and slow cultural change that comes with it. We had to fit comfortably with existing methods, and provide a starting point for smooth transformation, rather than disruption.

Launching our Alpha version and Beta plans

It’s January 2017 now, and we’re pleased to present our Alpha version, and plans for the Beta version.

Our Alpha version, which you can sign up for a pilot account successfully handles the core functionality:

  • Video and audio uploading, transcoding and storage
  • Reliable transcription of audio
  • Identifying interesting, positive or negative moments in the audio and video
  • Sharing those moments via a link, embeddable code, image or printing to a label printer (perfect for adding to whiteboards)
  • Member accounts and departments within an Organisation account

We also developed two nifty web apps:

  • An app that lets you identify interesting moments while recording interviews, and when the file is uploaded to our Alpha, those moments are automatically added
  • An app that lets you scan the QR code of printed moments, to play the original quote in a media player

Our Beta version will include:

  • Media, Transcription and Moment modes to have more control over how you can add moments and notes
  • More metadata for moments
  • An inbuilt sharing and notification infrastructure
  • Project structure that allows teams to broadcast their insights, and what insights they want shared to them.
  • Sharable ‘Quick Insights’, mini reports that include moments
  • Diagram and report storage

We’re proud of the work done so far, and excited about the potential for the tool to serve large organisations.