User Experiences: Using SSI Web CAPI Module to Gain the Advantages of Online Interviewing Offline

Sawtooth Software has an ongoing, open invitation for users to submit stories regarding innovative ways they are using our tools. The following represents one such story, submitted by Cory Schwartz, President of ConsumerQuest.

The Situation

A leading developer and marketer of innovative, technology-based educational software was considering 60 new titles for a limited number of openings in its 2005 product line. A screening test was needed among 300 mothers of target-age children. Using SSI Web 3.5’s CAPI research module, ConsumerQuest quantitatively assessed the relative appeal of the 60 new product candidates. The most appealing titles were identified and the combination of titles that reached the most moms was discovered. The study also provided insight into what moms liked about the titles they’d most like to buy and what they disliked about those they’d least like to buy.

Methodological Challenge

Our client’s business – technology-based educational software – is in an extremely competitive category where premium value is placed on design innovation and ideas. The need to determine consumer preferences for new products had to be weighed against security concerns. Exposing consumers online to the new concepts was a risky proposition because of a lack of control over who saw the concepts and over the a bility to prevent new ideas from being captured in screen shots and circulated over the Internet. Traditional central location testing via pre-recruit was desirable because 1) respondents could be screened for security from research facility databases, 2) the research could be conducted in less sensitive markets where the client’s direct competitors did not exist, and 3) respondents could be monitored so they could not “capture” the images of the new products.

On the other hand, central location testing via pre-recruit interviewing posed other limitations. First, each mother had to be exposed to a pre-determined, select number of new concepts according to a randomized rotation based on her child’s age. Results were needed within ten days of when electronic versions the concepts were available, necessitating the need for interviewing small groups of moms simultaneously, which in turn would mean printing and controlling several hundred color concepts. The need for rapid turnaround also posed challenges on the back end in terms of a lengthy keypunch process and the need to de-rotate the data file.

Why We Chose To Use SSI Web’s CAPI Module

Fortunately, SSI Web 3.5’s CAPI module offered a solution that met all of our needs. First, our staff is well acquainted with the software, having used it to program and conduct a plethora of studies online. Custom JavaScript routines could easily be incorporated, such as one that instructed moms with more than one child to focus on a particular child by name of randomly selected age. The software also provided the flexibility to have respondents read questions while simultaneously seeing the concept on screen. Thus, respondents did not have to scroll back and forth, up and down, between concept and questions: The respondent could contemplate the question while simultaneously seeing the concept. SSI Web allowed the order of exposure to the concepts to be randomly rotated. After seeing and evaluating 25 of the 60 concepts, each mom was asked to build a library by selecting her first, second, and third choices for her child from among the 25 concepts. Each mom also had to see all 25 concepts at once via thumbnail-sized images. Happily, we found that SSI Web could allow moms the option of clicking on any thumbnail to see the concept again in its full-sized form. Writing field instructions for installing the CAPI module and activating our survey on a local server (without any access to the Internet) was straightforward.


We were able to complete interviewing over a three-day weekend. And since the data was already “keypunched and de-rotated” by SSI Web, we generated data tabulations and a subsequent TURF (total unduplicated reach and frequency) analysis the following week. The technology-based educational software company successfully identified the most appealing titles and the combination of titles that would attract the most moms to its product line.