Defining the Problem
The City of Malden had recently tranisitoned to a new majoral adminsitration, and was seeking to gather user data on its revamped online strategy focusing on incorporating social media and resident interaction (e.g., Facebook and Twitter).
I wanted to provide the client with a set of actionable recommendations for the categories of information that are most useful to the target user group – Malden’s social media subscribers.
First, I created a list of major municiplal information categories compiled from the city’s online communications (e.g., community events, city governance or legislative news, public works announcements, and local crime data.)
Next, I crafted a study protocol that included structured and unstructured interview questons, followed by a Likert scale rating of “usefulness” that leveraged this municiplal information list. My intention was to to gain insight into and identify trends among the relationships of personal interests, relevance of city activities, and general information foraging habits (including social media).
The Likert scale provided a quantitative measure of “usefulness” of the types of city information posted via social media, on a scale from 1-7. The scale also provided an opportunity to probe in conversation.
- Taking on the participant recruitment oneself is time-consuming. It’s helpful to utilize current communication channels (Facebook, Twitter).
- Building rapport with participants is key, and starts at your initial email or Tweet.
- Asking the right questions, but having a flexible script.
- Back-up recording mechanisms are mandatory.