Article #43: was formerly the software division of Ronin Corporation. Tim Macer finds out what else is new

A personal approach


In April, Ronin Corporation spun off its software division, responsible for the Results CATI and web interviewing suite into a separate autonomous company called According to 1by1's business development manager, Don Eigenbauer, this was because Ronin?s interviewing software business had little in common with the firm's other consulting activities. As for why 1by1, Eigenbauer tells me: "It is about being able to deploy surveys that have at their core a personalised experience for the respondent.
"Most surveys we see on the web are forms-based. Plenty of those run by leading companies often just don't make sense." He cites examples of questionnaires where respondents are asked for information that can easily be determined from other sources or to answer questions that, to the respondent, simply do not apply. Results for the Web lets you combine data from different sources and make use of every scrap of information already known about the respondent. An important source of information can be the trail of pages the user has just viewed during his or her visit to a site - the 'click-through stream' as it is called - and this can be combined with background to personalise the questionnaire and make it more relevant and engaging for the respondent.
Don Eigenbauer sees this as an inevitable development for web-based research: "We are finding that this really boosts the response rate. All sorts of companies in the US are now concerned with personalising content on the web and there is huge competition in this personalisation space. We need to do the same for surveys"
The latest version of Results for the Web certainly gives questionnaire designers unparalleled control over the appearance of their questionnaires. "Before this our surveys were powerful but they were stone ugly?, Eigenbauer explains. ?Now we can use cascading stylesheets to directly match the brand of the website".
1by1: pros and cons
Pros Control over design and appearence of interview
Ability to tune interview for ease of use
Fast clientside validation using Java applets
Some useful real-time reporting available
Cons Software and server required locally: not offered as an 'ASP' web-based service
Reporting overall is weak, though improvements are planned

'Companies in the US are personalising content on the web. We need to do the same for surveys'

Furthermore, by making ingenious use of frames, questionnaires can be played in one part of the screen while other stimulus material, suchas a part of a website, can be presented in another.
Questionnaire design and setup is relatively simple for computer literate users, though unlike its rival CONFIRM system, which allows you to design your surveys across the internet, you need locally installed software and your own web server.
Disappointingly, reporting tools are limited, compared to the rest of the offering. Most users export data to SPSS or Quantum for analysis. But some useful realtime reporting tools do allow you to track the performance of your survey, identify bottlenecks and learn about what works and what doesn?t in your survey design.
Ms. Elizabeth Rountree, v-p of operations at Cozint Interactive in Princeton New Jersey, uses 1by1 to interact directly with physicians over the internet for pharmaceutical research activities. "Physicians are smart people but are not necessarily the most technologically savvy. We've therefore done a lot of usability testing. The 1by1 software is very flexible. We can do a lot of custom programming from a design perspective as well as a data collection perspective. It is very important to design a survey that is easy to use. It has been very helpful for us to be able to incorporate

changes and feedback". John DiStefano is a project manager at Reality Research & Consulting, part of CMP Media in New York, publishers of high profile technology magazines in the US. RR&C specialises in testing new technical products on CMP's high-tech subscribers.
"For us, 1by1 provides the fielding horsepower. We do about 45 surveys a year, which are very well received - we can expect a 15% to 20% response. A large part of this is due to the 1by1 software. What is nice is that they do not take a CATI approach. Results incorporates both HTML and CGI scripting so we can get surveys into the field very fast - with other CATI-based software this takes considerably longer."
DiStefano also liked the interview customisation features and the way that Results incorporates a lot of 'clientside' validation as Java applets, which reduces the number of server calls, so that the interview runs quickly from the respondent's point of view.
But DiStefano advises caution with web surveys. "Every respondent is richer, smarter and thinner on the web. As good researchers we need to look at the results in a relative sense rather than an absolute sense and use parallel studies to mitigate the effects". It is just as well that 1by1 also offers an excellent integrated CATI solution.

1by1 020 7903 7095

Tim Macer writes as an independent specialist in software for market research. His website is at

Published in Research, the magazine of the Market Research Society, July 2000, Issue 410.

© Copyright Tim Macer/Market Research Society 2000. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

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