We are proud to announce Live Video Interviews. A new and fully integrated activity type in Recollective that permits participants to self-schedule live one-on-one video meetings.
Our customers have been repeatedly telling us about the valuable insights they can achieve through face-to-face interactions and how in-depth interviews are increasingly moving online. More so than group discussions, one-to-one meetings are ideal for generating thoughtful and nuanced insights by allowing moderators to ask deep probing questions until they uncover a person's true feelings and motivations.
A group discussion has its own advantages but we received consistent feedback that individual interviews yielded better insights overall. Conducting separate meetings takes more total time but this is partly due to a lack of tools to help researchers automate the end-to-end workflow. Luckily, creating easy-to-use and well-integrated workflows is our specialty.
Improving the Workflow
Another reason Recollective decided to focus on one-on-one interviews is that it allows scheduling to be flipped on its head. Instead of imposing a meeting time, researchers can ask a set of participants to book a time that fits their individual schedules. We developed a new meeting calendar that's easy to set up, respects everyone's availability and prevents meeting conflicts across the entire site.
Live Video Interview activities are started by inviting participants to book a meeting within a predefined range of days and times. Thoughtful features are included such as ensuring there is a buffer between meetings and preventing last-minute bookings. Customizing availability for one or more hosts is effortless and efficient.
Self-scheduled meetings are assigned only to available hosts. If a follow-up is needed, Recollective allows a host to request an additional meeting and ensures those recordings appear together as a single response.
We were told that automation was essential. To that end, all meeting notifications are automated from the invitation, confirmation to the last-minute reminders.
Moreover, participants can reschedule their own upcoming meetings and are automatically prompted to rebook missed meetings without incurring any overhead for the hosts.
Our customers made it clear that the meeting experience had to be great-–some did this by sharing their horror stories. Joining or hosting a meeting has to be instant and free of technical hurdles. Recollective has removed most meeting headaches by supporting live video meetings directly in the browser. There is no desktop application or browser extension required to host or participate in a meeting. Recollective's live video meetings work equally well on mobile devices without a dedicated app.
Mobile device support ensures participants can be untethered while completing an interview in their home or on location. A single-tap interaction allows participants to flip between the front and back cameras which expands what can be captured during an interview. The platform even handles mid-meeting mobile device rotations to ensure the final recording is properly oriented.
Each meeting room is composed of three key elements: live video streams, a text chat area and an attendee list. The chat is a text-based communication channel with participants but also a private channel for meeting observers in the backroom. The chat is also where the host will post any prepared questions and stimulus.
During a live meeting, the host can also choose to share their screen or request that the participant share theirs. This feature can be used to share interactive stimulus or to watch a participant experience an online resource in real-time. During a screen share, the participant's webcam video remains in view at all times to allow monitoring of non-verbal cues.
Another important driver in the creation of this new feature was to allow multiple administrators to share the workload while also improving consistency across a set of interviews.
When multiple hosts are configured for an activity, Recollective automatically balances self-scheduled meetings to even the workload. Scheduled meetings can then be easily transferred among hosts without alerting participants. During a live meeting, the host seat can even be passed to another administrator in the backroom.
Consistency of interviews is achieved by allowing questions and stimulus to be prepared ahead of time. During each meeting, the host scan browse and re-post these prepared items to stay on track. These items may be text, hyperlinks, photos, videos or files.
We also learned that a private backroom experience is a must for researchers and its a key requirement that traditional video conferencing tools simply cannot address. Clients and fellow moderators need the ability to observe live video meetings without participants being made aware of their presence.
Recollective enables such a backroom experience and gives the host control over its access. Private chat messages allow backroom members and the host to collaborate in real-time without distracting or influencing the participant.
Analysis and Video Clips
Recording a meeting for analysis is of course essential in a research context. Recollective automatically starts recording a meeting when the host and participant are present. The recording does not depend on the strength or reliability of the host's computer or Internet connection. Participants and hosts can exit and re-join a meeting, change devices, change cameras and even pass the host seat without ever interrupting the recording.
It's important to note that a meeting is more than its video streams. There are chat messages, prepared items and backroom posts that must also be included in a timed sequence to create a full representation of the completed interview.
Recollective already possesses superior video analysis tools including automated speech-to-text transcription, coded text excerpting tools and automated video-clip creation from these excerpts. What Recollective has now achieved is a single comprehensive transcript that includes everything spoken, typed and shared in the chat. Transcribed speech is intelligently split up and attributed to the correct speaker to reproduce the conversational flow of the meeting in a visual manner.
We know that an interview activity rarely stands on its own and thus we feel strongly that its inclusion in a broader platform can have countless advantages. The process of inviting, onboarding and screening participants is a core strength of Recollective. Participants can be profiled and segmented in advance to automatically identify those worthy and willing to be interviewed.
One can also leverage all of Recollective's existing asynchronous activities before and after the interviews. For example, homework can be assigned in advance and follow-up questions can be surfaced at the end.
A final pain point we sought to resolve was how such a service is sold. We want to revolutionize the market by introducing per-minute billing and only counting the time while a host and participant are actively meeting. Customers will not be penalized for short meetings, missed meetings, starting late, running long, leaving early or meeting a participant several times. Each minute will be carefully counted and any "Live Video Minutes" balance will be available for the interview activity.
Although consumer-grade technologies are inexpensive, they lack the essential capabilities needed for research. They typically require software to be installed, necessitate manual scheduling, don't automate notifications, have weak recording capabilities, lack audio transcripts, cannot store prepared items, are missing a backroom and offer no way to systematically review and clip the final recordings. Other video chat tools in the marketplace have depended on traditional telephony and/or impose a series of billing inflexibilities that drive up costs.
With the inclusion of Live Video Interviews, Recollective supports an even greater mix of methodologies in a single study. We are grateful for the insights our customers have provided and hope to return the favor by creating a revolutionary approach to conducting in-depth interviews online.
I'd especially like to thank the dozen companies that participated in our private beta of Live Video Interviews throughout the month of February. Your enthusiasm, ongoing support and feedback have been invaluable.