2013 Was a Great Year for Quester and Mobile Research

As I look back over 2013, one of the great successes for Quester was our initiation into mobile research. While we had dabbled in mobile research prior to 2013, 2013 was our break out year. Mobile research is here to stay and while there are still a lot of questions and challenges to be addressed the technology and methodology is only going to grow.

This past year Quester was able to expand the use of our software moderator – Socrates® into several mobile platforms. Both native apps and mobile web browsers. Our software moderator excels at getting additional depth out of respondents. Socrates does this by intelligently probing the respondent, to get them to provide more details. One hesitation we had with using Socrates in the mobile arena was whether or not the responses would be robust enough for Socrates to provide a meaningful probe. While Socrates does a great job of probing respondents for more depth, the old saying “Junk in – Junk out” still applies. Given the tiny keyboards and shortened language and acronyms, which often goes along with texting and emails on a mobile device, we wondered how Socrates would perform.

To our delight we learned two things:

  1. People are typing a lot on their mobile devices! They have become very efficient with the keyboards provided (both onscreen and physical keys) and are actually typing full sentences and words. In fact, study after study has shown respondents are actually typing MORE on a mobile device compared to a traditional computer. We have seen this same result from our in-house studies and this same behavior was echoed from vendors and presenters at the MRMW (Market Research in the Mobile World) conference I attended in Minneapolis over the summer.
  2. Socrates can be customized to some of the different language verbiage and differences seen when comparing responses typed on a mobile device to a non-mobile device. While responses are typically longer, punctuation can suffer. Our research analysts are experts at identifying these differences and our IT staff keeps Socrates updated based on their research and feedback.
    Below are some real respondent responses from a path to purchase survey Quester ran to learn more about people’s beer buying habits. Socrates probed all of these responses. When you compare the initial response to the follow up responses, the insights gained from Socrates probing is very clear.
Initial ResponseFollow Up Response after Probe
All the colorful boxes really draw my attentionThe variety of colors and bottles make me want to see all the different flavors and styles
the color of the canMonster is always dull. This color makes it stand out
Good priceI can get enough to drink and still have some cash in my pocket
looks goodthe guy on the bottle looks cool and honey crisp apple wheat sounds good
Stacked in the aisle.It stands out because it’s not on the shelf and brought to focus

As we start 2014 Quester’s expertise in mobile research is only going to grow. We encourage anybody who is currently doing market research to look at the mobile side. As mentioned before, there is no question it’s here to stay. If you have hesitations about mobile, one approach we have found successful is a hybrid approach combining traditional online research with mobile research. This is a great first step to test the waters and see the benefits mobile has to offer. You can then scale up your effects later on.

Stay tuned to the Quester blog as we will be publishing more posts and tips on mobile research.


  • Jereme Thomas

    Jereme heads up an innovative team of programmers in developing and improving Quester's market research technology. He constantly works to improve the capabilities of qualitative research methodologies and Quester's proprietary tools, Socrates and Aristotle. He also manages all of Quester's day-to-day technology needs.Jereme loves boating and being on the water in the summer with his wife and two children. Problem solving and building both tangible and intangible items are his passions.Jereme appreciates the flexibility to choose the best technology for the job and all of the different challenges he has solved over the years.

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