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How Fjord Mixed Diary and Live for Iterative Insights

Discover how Gretchen McNeely and Al Millenson of Fjord used dscout to create both an engaged panel and new go-to templates.

As a design and innovation consultancy, the team at Fjord tackles their fair share of research projects. Tasked with building a cohort for a long-term client, Design Director Gretchen McNeely and Senior Service & Interaction Designer Al Millenson turned to dscout to find the right participants and do transformational work for their COVID-impacted client.

Gretchen and Al sat down with us to talk about how they used dscout Diary and Live to build an engaged panel, seamlessly keep stakeholders looped in, and add new elements to their team and client toolkit.

On project ideation

Al: One of our objectives was to create mindsets to help us think strategically about how to target our solutions and identify features and functionalities that would help meet those user expectations per mindset.

We knew that we wanted to get information from folks via Diary through ranking, scaling, and open-ended questions, but also go deeper with a subset of that group through in-depth interviews via Live.

We had colleagues on the client-side research team who were part of the stakeholder landscape and we needed to include their work to ensure the success and implementation of our findings.

On cross-team collaboration

Gretchen: dscout is an excellent external collaboration tool. Our clients were able to participate in every interview that we conducted. They were able to easily get in, talk with us, and funnel questions to the facilitators.

I like to say, "The client doesn't care about your tools—they just care about the information." I want the tools we use to be as invisible as possible. dscout made that happen through a comparatively elegant video interview experience.

"Our clients were able to be highly engaged in the conversation. They didn’t have to stumble through logging into the tool and getting set up. I don't think the client ever asked us a question about, ‘How do I do dscout? What do I click on?’ It was just…easy."

Gretchen McNeely
Fjord Design Director

On client impact

Gretchen: I think dscout helped our clients continue their advocacy for user research. I think they started to think a little more creatively about the methods they can use to achieve certain answers. Maybe they’ve been doing A/B testing or quant for years—that's fine. But after working with us, we’ve given them four new methods that they’ve never used before.

They will hopefully approach their next engagement saying, "Hey, we saw this team do this really neat thing on this project," and that raises the bar for other researchers, and for us in repeat engagements.

Al: The other day we were making some clips and my colleague downloaded them and was doing it in a separate software program, but then I thought, "Oh, but we can just create a link and send that instead of having to upload it to a shared drive." I realized that we didn’t need to do that extra work because all the clips were shareable in dscout.

I remembered how easy it was to create those clips and then send them to the top client leadership so that they can have them on hand for presentations and really bring in the voice of the customer very seamlessly. I don't know if clients will make the connection, "Oh, that was a dscout functionality," but for us on the backend, wow, what a gift to be able to do it that way.

With dscout, I never feel like there's ever a moment of, "How do I do this?" because there are so many channels of help available. If you have something creatively that you want to do, somebody can help you troubleshoot or think through it. I always felt very supported throughout the whole project.

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