Archive for the ‘Opinion Research’ Category

Introducing our Delib AU office and ‘the owl’

Rowena Farr - February 20th, 2013

Delib Australia are currently set up and operating in a shared space with Reading Room. One of my immediate check-ins was to ensure that some of the similarities from the UK were visible in our new Delib AU home:

Delib AU office  300x224 Introducing our Delib AU office and the owl

Delib's Australian shared desk space

1) Alcohol on the shopping list (including cider) – check

Shopping list  224x300 Introducing our Delib AU office and the owl

2) Enthusiastic employees – check

Delib employees 300x224 Introducing our Delib AU office and the owl

James and Rowena smile for the camera

3) The owl – Lorna is this you in bird form?!

Owl  224x300 Introducing our Delib AU office and the owl

The Owl system

The Owl system ensures the office washing up is done on a daily basis. If the Owl is on your desk then it is that persons’ turn to clear up. Alternatively you could use other means such as a sharable animation to encourage employees to tidy up 😉

4) Pins on the map – check

Australia map 300x224 Introducing our Delib AU office and the owl

Reading Rom office pins on the map

5) Koalas on the wall – hmm not yet

Koalas  224x300 Introducing our Delib AU office and the owl

Koalas or are they drop bears?! on the wall our Delib AU offices

If your interested in meeting up with Dan or James then the team are based on James Street in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.


Who’s actually using RDFa?

Jess Henderson - February 21st, 2011

A year ago we were very excited about RDFa, and in particular about using it to mark up consultations in our Citizen Space software. By providing certain bits of metadata in a machine-readable format (for example the consultation’s title, start and end dates, target audience, author etc) the consultation record can be used by third-party systems, and potentially incorporated into applications that hadn’t even been envisaged when the data was originally published.

RDFa actually became a mandatory requirement for all central government consultations published after 1st January 2010, but in the past year we have seen very little use of this new wealth of freely available data. There were rumours that Directgov planned to use it to import consultations, but I can’t find any evidence of this on their site.

We were sad that we’d gone to all the trouble* to incorporate RDFa into our clients’ consultations, and nobody was making use of it, so we decided to do something with it ourselves. We’ve made an Aggregator that can collect together consultations from any website as long as it publishes its consultations in an RSS feed and includes the appropriate RDFa markup. It also publishes its own RSS feed so that the aggregated consultations can be fed into a further tier of applications.

We’d be really interested to hear of other apps that are making use of RSS and RDFa in relation to consultation data. Surely we’re not the only ones?

*actually it wasn’t much trouble at all thanks to the helpful guidelines from the COI.

Who says you’re any good?

- August 31st, 2010

thumbs up Who says youre any good?I’ve been reading Andy’s post on “What makes good?” and it’s got me thinking about what or who determines whether something is “good”.

Andy’s post is a philosophy on how to make “good” apps. It’s a great post on the principle of having 80% practicality, 10% glamour and 10% character. Ideologically, this will provide you with an app that people will love and make you a multi-millionaire! However, it doesn’t always work out that way. We’ve seen it many times on Dragon’s Den where a young, hopeful entrepreneur presents their idea, only for the dragons to rip them apart and leave them empty-handed with their dreams in tatters……So who says it’s “good” – my argument is stress the importance of user-centred design.

Who holds the purse strings? Your wife, your boss, the queen? I work in part of a team that develop large scale websites for government organisations as well as advertisers with large budgets hoping to attract millions. The app / pitch can sometimes appear to be king. It’s what wins the client over and wins us contracts. However, that doesn’t always define your app as “good”, just because the CEO of the company loves your app doesn’t mean Joe Bloggs who subscribes monthly and uses your app day-in day-out will too. If Joe Bloggs and countless others like him, hate your app and it flops……is your app still “good”.

Andy’s model sits perfectly in terms of assessing the values of the user. Ultimately, an app needs to work – 80% practicality. Too often products are thrown by the way side for not solving a problem or doing the job it was meant to do. This is particularly emphasised in our consumer culture today. The user’s value may indeed fluctuate between glamour/character and practicality as good marketing is always effective in blurring a user’s sense of need.

For an app to succeed, the user’s voice is priceless. An app will either thrive or dive by the user’s voice. This can be seen in Apple’s App Store. Angry Birds is currently no. 1 paid for app. This follows Andy’s model of 80% practicality – it’s essentially a great game. It’s engaging, not to difficult, but challenging enough to leave you wanting more. 10% glamour – it looks good, but more importantly it doesn’t distract from the game. The graphics don’t slow the game or make things difficult to see. 10% character – the birds are fun. There are talks of a TV series based on the strength of the characters in the game.

The user ratings and reviews for Angry Birds has propelled the app to the top of the store where it has sat for a good number of months. When making a transaction decision, advocacy is key. A recommendation from a friend, a high rating or positive feedback can carry a lot of weight for a user in whether to take the plunge with your app. Andy’s model is the foundation for creating a “good” app but ultimately the end user will decide whether the app is indeed good.

Hopefully, you’ll see the importance of valuing the user in every stage of the development of an app. User-centred design starts and ends at the user. It continually comes back to the issue of “who is this for?”, “what problem are we solving” etc. it uses usability testing to measure how we’re doing in the process, whether we’re still on track or veered way off course. It isn’t a launch and cross fingers….

Leaders Debate Live Analysis

Tim Wintle - April 22nd, 2010

I’ve just put the finishing touches to a quick tool to give you immediate analysis of the tweeting surrounding the UK leaders debate in Bristol tonight.

You can find it here:

On a separate note, Google Analytics now provides an official way to insert their tracking code asynchronously, which is really cool.

We’re making Citizen Space join up with Linked Data (through RDFa)

Andy Parkhouse - January 29th, 2010

With so much chat and buzz at the moment (and rightly so) about Tim Berners-Lee et al’s, I thought it’d be timely to say a bit about how we’ll be doing our bit towards publishing online consultation information as Linked Data (Steph Gray has recently blogged on a similar subject).

We’ve built (and are continuing to iteratively improve) Citizen Space, an open-source online consultation management and creation system designed primarily for local authorities and other governing bodies. It’s currently being used by Bristol City Council, Sutton Borough Council and a large partnership led by Cumbria County Council, with more rollouts hopefully coming soon.

Through Citizen Space, organisations can store, organise and publish details of all their consultations hopefully, exactly the kind of information that it’d be really useful to be able to access from a variety of sources, to include in apps and to run analyses/queries on.

As you probably know, that’s what Linked Data is designed to facilitate; it’s a way of marking up web pages semantically so that software (like browsers, search spiders etc) can understand more about the content and so that it’s easier for citizens to ‘cut and combine’ the information in ways that are relevant to them. The Government’s into it in a big way: all central government consultations need to include this markup as of the start of 2010 and DirectGov already uses it to pull consultation details into its listings.

We’re currently making a few changes to the code of Citizen Space so that all consultation details entered using the system are marked up as Linked Data using RDFa, to be precise. This means that all consultations inputted into Citizen Space will include this additional metadata, making the information therein more readily and widely available. So, for example, DirectGov could pick up all of a local authority’s consultation details and pull them directly into the ‘local consultations’ part of their site, or someone could make an app to compare consultation activity with other data, such as population or earnings surveys. That’s a lot of potential added value for something that’s really not that hard to do and it won’t affect the appearance or user experience of Citizen Space for end users or administrators as the data will be taken from existing fields.

It might also be worth mentioning that this is in addition to the existing RSS functionality built into Citizen Space for example, you can create an RSS feed from any search query in Consultation Finder, meaning you can take the content and embed it into a blog or community website.

Basically, we like sharing and we like making the most of data so we reckon RDFa’s a good thing all round and an easy win in many ways.

Making things better from a hospital bed

Chris Quigley - December 2nd, 2009
0 Making things better from a hospital bed

Pain can be a beautiful thing. And in my case quite an inspiring thing too. For the last 5 days I’ve been stuck in hospital with severe back pains – which have meant I’ve been totally bed bound, and completely dependent on the nurses at Kings College Hospital London (who have – by the way – been really great!)

Anyway, lying in bed – in pain – inspired me yesterday morning: could I be of any use to hospital lying here? The hospital staff are being great – but could I add anything – could I help improve how the hospital is run?

And the answer is of course YES. As a patient I – and the hundreds of other patients – are in the best place to help the hospital improve, as we’re the ones at the coal-face, experiencing the end products that the hospital delivers – whether that’s a quick fix in A&E, or a longer stay in one of the wards.

The only issue is how you collate and make sense of this collective experience. And the answer to that is the internet – create a crowd-sourcing website with a focus on collating “ideas of how to improve the hospital” and let patients share ideas, and self-organise the value of those ideas via rating and commenting systems. Given I’m the co-founder of an e-democracy company – Delib – that specialises in citizen empowerment – this was the easy bit!

So lying in my hospital bed – I asked Andy, Jess and Dave in Bristol to quickly put together a patient crowd-sourcing site using our one of our apps – and 2 hours later we launched “Help us Improve Kings”.

Check the site here (and add ideas if you have any!)

With the prototype site up and live, I’m now in the process of getting patients to take part and share their experiences and ideas – a bit of a tricky feat given I can’t walk, but they’re coming in slowly as I lynch people walking past my room! I’m also in the process of talking to the Patient Involvement team @ Kings – as obviously to make this work, we really need them on board to actually turn the ideas generated into concrete actions.

So there you go – an example of bottom-up patient power – empowered by the wonders of broadband and a wonderful set of e-democracy tools. Social media empowerment at its finest!

And most importantly this is a lesson to all those brands / businesses / government departments out there who are trying to work out how to make their business work better – the answer: empower your customers and employees and they will in turn help power your business!

New search aggregator for creatives

Anthony George - October 27th, 2009

we like this !

daad New search aggregator for creatives

The Creative search box with the text 'how to kill birds' in

At last! YouTube rolls out comment search

- October 19th, 2009

Here it is:

Now you can monitor all the LOLs and WTFs to your heart’s content…

Thanks to Mark Pack

Marketers over-valuing Twitter?

Tim Wintle - October 18th, 2009

I’ve been arguing for a while that some marketers massively over-rate twitter when trying to measure on-line opinion. A majority of the “social media monitoring tools” put far too much emphasis on twitter in my opinion; and now two press release from Hitwise strongly support my argument.

To summarise, I feel that focusing on twitter ends up creating a very bad sample for any kind of opinion research, practically ignoring the effect of Facebook, Beebo, Myspace, Youtube, Search engines, News sites, Email, Blogs, Forums, Instant messaging, and all the millions of other websites on-line.

What is more, I believe that focusing on twitter so strongly is what throws twitter’s collective opinion out of line with the rest of the internet. Online marketers going to twitter to measure internet opinion is like a market research team only inviting people who work for market research companies to give feedback on a product.


Six Pieces about Sentiment Analysis

Andy Parkhouse - September 22nd, 2009

I’ve been researching sentiment analysis, and I think I’ve found pieces to suit a range of tastes and interests.


First the notes from a 2008 talk given by Lillan Lee from Cornell University. Lee’s topic is “…the flood of interest in: sentiment analysis, opinion mining, and the computational treatment of subjective language.”

This is a good ‘who, what, why, how’, featuring:

  • – background
  • – useful stats
  • – an exploration of the broader implications of sentiment analysis in politics and business
  • – a basic outline of the scientific problems in classifying sentiment.

Read Lee’s piece here.

Meanwhile, the epicly-named Dirk Shaw has a blog post from July 2009 asking Sentiment analysis, How much is good enough?. It’s a short post explaining the basic differences between manual and automated sentiment analysis.

Thinking Deeper

In a post from June 2009, Irfan Kamal describes the approaches Ogilvy PR are taking to make sentiment analysis work for clients.

The Ogilvy post is useful in one respect because it shows the debate is still fledgling and the possibilities are wide open.

In another respect it helps illustrate that the people-or-software-or-both question of classifying sentiment is only one dimension of the problem. Sentiment analysis has to actually be of value to the people using the results.

In my view, the most useful output would be actionable insight, i.e. information that is directly useful for making decisions. That comes with a health-warning though: if we’re to make decisions on the basis of data, we had better be sure the data is completely valid, and leads to accurate conclusions.

It’s not clear yet that sentiment analysis will be able to deliver in such a concrete way, and at the level, for example, of government policy, sentiment data will find a place, but should be treated with healthy caution.

Marta Strickland has a post on these issues from September 2009. Focussing on product reviews, she identifies Five Reasons Sentiment Analysis Won’t Ever Be Enough, and concludes “What are we really trying to decide with this data? And are we asking the right questions?”

Wrap Up

So it it hopeless then? Is sentiment analysis a turkey? Absolutely not. Asking critical questions absolutely indicates that smart people are taking sentiment analysis seriously, and figuring out how best to do it and how best to use it.

Team Rubber has a working model for how we want to use sentiment analysis – for both our advertising and policy-making work. We’re evolving the model on the basis of trials, and we’re asking ourselves hard questions about how sentiment analysis can be valuable for our clients.

Enough about that (but more in future). Meanwhile, I’ll wrap up with a piece from each of the manual and automated perspectives. Nathan Gilliat has a September 2009 post on Scaling Human Analysis, while an April 2008 paper from Google discusses software approaches for Building a Sentiment Summarizer. Enjoy.