Especially in times of Corona, it seems like a kind of digital jungle, with so many new apps and so many new methods to learn. On this page, we would like to help you by comparing QANDR with two other tools; Mentimeter and Mural.
We started building QANDR back in 2017, closely cooperating with Motivaction, a market research agency that helped us to shape the product. Market research agencies organise a lot of focus group meetings whereby they discuss/evaluate certain product propositions before they really go into market. During our first meeting with them we found quite some of Motivaction researchers reacting sceptical on the idea of QANDR. This was because in their understanding, a focus group discussion needs above all a good conversation, and in their eyes this means turning your phone off. Mentimeter was and still is a great tool that proved the opposite. Smartphones are very convenient tools and they can help in a group setting to collect simultaneous ideas and opinions from different people.
So both Mentimeter and QANDR are using phones as a starting point for the way the interaction with participants is organised, but for the rest the tools are quite different. The main difference arises from the average group size that both tools are aiming at. There where Mentimeter is often used in large groups like conference halls, which are more anonymously and whereby the group is anyhow too big to discuss all the opinions, QANDR is developed for the setting of a focus group, which have mostly 6 up to max 20 participants, or at least a group size whereby everybody can still elaborate on their opinion. Hereby we don't want to say the QANDR cannot handle large groups, on the contrary, our new clients are often working with group sizes of 60 up to 150. But these groups have different dynamics than a qualitative discussion, QANDR becomes in that context more a quick survey to collect all opinions, but not really also discuss them during the meeting.
An important technical feature that derives from the focus on the social dynamics in smaller groups is that QANDR is really instantly projecting the behaviour of the participant operating the tool. All interactions are in a split second also projected on the main screen. The best example of this, is the pointer module of QANDR that reflects every small finger movement on a phone, directly also on the main screen. This interaction is so fast that it can also reveal a certain doubt or unclarity on the side of the participant, something that for qualitative focus group discussions is of high value.
The real-time response does not only help to bring a more personal presentation approach whereby opinions are also matched with the person giving them, it also helps to really create focus and synergy in the meeting. Where Mentimeter is a kind of large fishing net that you throw out and gives you minutes later a collective result, QANDR creates a more instant and personal output on the main screen that also helps to get your audience to stay focussed. If your pointer is not moving the facilitator will also ask you what you are really doing during the meeting;-)
Another difference is found in the type of data that modules of Mentimeter en QANDR focus on. With distinctive modules like the moodboard and the pointer QANDR is clearly focussing more on non-numerical data, so more subjective information that is in the mindset of people. Responses to these modules give the facilitator a small glimpse of this mindset and open the floor for a deeper discussion on the reasoning behind this response. In market research they call these system 1 responses which in short, stand for more fast, emotional and unconscious responses. We are convinced that these answers are not only interesting for market research, but that in any qualitative dialogue, this more intuitive way of thinking determines much of the decision-making. Bringing these intuitive associations to light and discussing them openly provides a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding. And this helps the facilitator, together with the group, to formulate a more sophisticated strategy.
In summary you could say that the real-time response and focus on more subjective and intuitive responses makes QANDR, compared to Mentimeter, a more appropriate tool to open a real discussion. As it is designed for smaller groups, a facilitator will be able to dive deeper and create a qualitative dialog that overcomes the pitfall of a black-and-white discussion.
Another well known tool is Mural. This is a kind of whiteboard solution that allows you to digitally work together. You can easily create collective boards and insert different ideas mostly organised as a kind of sticky notes posted on ready-made canvases, a function that is also possible with the Brown-Paper module of QANDR. Furthermore Mural is popular among professional creatives. These are people that also have a certain digital literacy and mostly work together as a team. And in that context Mural is mostly used on desktop and therefore seen in situations whereby everybody has a computer in front of them, a situation that in times of Covid, is certainly happening very often.
Although Mural is not difficult we do believe that in certain situations, especially when you want to involve a target group that is not so digital literate, it has a certain threshold in its way to use. Participants will always have to navigate themselves inside the canvas, they will have to know how to zoom and understand the way to insert responses on specific spots inside the canvas. Everybody in that sense is really going through its own experience, and if you combine this with video conferencing (VC) setup, it becomes even more complicated. All participants will have to be able to switch between this VC environment and the Mural canvas, which is all running on the same device. So, back to the group that is not so digital literate, which are not creative professionals, and which we believe are part of many participation projects, we believe Mural is not the best environment. Instead of doing a deep dive on the subject that you like to discuss, you as a facilitator, will end up helping you participants learn how to use the tools, where to click and what to do.
QANDR, on the contrary of Mural, has a very natural division between the device that shows the central group visualisation (the main screen on the computer) and the devices that are used for the interaction, the phones of the participants. The main screen is controlled by the facilitator of the session, and when a facilitator moves from a wordcloud to pointer, the participants phones will just follow. So your participant will never have to navigate on any aspect of your session, only in the beginning of the session they type a link and a code, and from that point, their phone is the natural pall of the main screen, always showing the interface that is relevant for that point of the session. We strongly believe that this ease of use removes a threshold that makes it possible to also involve people that are not highly educated and working with digital tools as professionals. On the contrary, we have seen QANDR sessions with people from all ages and different backgrounds. Whether it are children in an elementary school or seniors during a meeting of their housing corporation, everybody that knows how to operate the touch screen of their smartphone, is a successful contributor to a QANDR session.
A second difference regarding flexibility of deployment is also related to the device used for input, and should be taken into account if you are looking for a method that is also beneficial when these whole Covid restrictions become a story of the past. Although QANDR is currently used a lot in online meetings, it was originally built for a physical setup, with people in the same room and a central beamer or TV to display the main screen. In these meetings, whether it is a public participation evening or a brainstorm during a focus group, you are way more flexible if everybody can just take their phone from their pocket instead of asking everybody to bring their laptop. Now in times of Covid this might be less relevant, but let's hope that in the short future we will be able to see each other in real live again, and in that situations, whereby some people are maybe standing instead of sitting, you can still quickly start working together.
So, looking at both Mentimeter and Mural, we believe that QANDR is somewhere in the middle and will give you the best of both worlds. QANDR has the user-friendliness of Mentimeter but it's diverse modules and real-time response make it more suitable for in-depth discussion with an exchange of personal views. And compared to Mural it has a similar impact in terms of options for visualisation and personal expression, but QANDR is more easy to use and more flexible to deploy. Main reason for this is the split between the main screen, controlled by the facilitator, and the participant phones that are used for the interaction, and that automatically follows the main-screen.