When addressing projects in LATAM we should take into consideration a number of key aspects that ensure the quality of the project. Here are some reflections made by the team at the offices of The Cocktail Analysis in Mexico and Colombia, which has also led projects in other countries in the region (such as Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador …), that will help you ensure the success of UX research projects.
Please consider local peculiarities and poses a representative sample of the LATAM universe.
When carrying out UX Research Projects, one of the first activities is, based on the objectives of the project, define a representative sample that not only reflects the target of the product to assessed, but also consider the sociodemographic and cultural peculiarities of the LATAM market. Some of these peculiarities are:
- The importance of the Socioeconomic Level: In most Latin American countries there are government entities that measure and segment the population according to their economic situation. It is convenient to use this information to raise a sample that takes into account the different perspectives of each population segment and the relevance of each one; this becomes important if we consider that the class distribution is very different among regions and social gaps between each class are higher both economic, cultural level and in relation to consumer habits.
- The geographic dispersion: It is advisable to consider that due to the large of the Latin American countries is common to find substantial differences in the perception and the behaviour of the user/consumer regarding to the city where they live. If possible, it is ideal to select a sample that includes the most important cities in the target country. According to the object of study, if it is feasible, consider rural locations.
- Low levels of Bancarization: It is important to perform a general search on the levels of banking services in the target country, since in LATAM these are usually found below the world average. If they are not taken into account, this can skew the results of the research. Furthermore, it is possible that the barrier to the use of a product is solely due to the penetration of the payment contemplated is not available / usual in the selected country.
- Devices: If the research is focused on mobile, there are statistics that show the Smartphone penetration and the market shares that Android and iOS have in each country. Generally the Android market share is majority compared to the iOS.
- Do not underestimate the ability of the consumer: Even though it may seem that the digital market in Latin America is still in its infancy, reality shows a extense variety of consumption styles according to the technological knowledge of the user ranging from the most basic to a segment which behaves very similar to the way consumers in mature markets behave, so it is important to consider this variety in the sample.
The selection of the participants for the tests is a very sensible aspect that needs to be cared at maximum. It is recommended to have the greatest control and care about the recruitment, especially in markets less mature where this task is less professional. Some elements that from The Cocktail Analysis are considered for this task can be carried out in a successful way:
- Flexibility and opening with the recruitment agency: It is convenient to consider the agency as part of the team. In this way, if there are some complexities (E.g. it is difficult to find a profile or a participant has already canceled) the agency will have the confidence to tell you and offer you viable solutions. Creo que eso sobra: or to find them among both.
- Anticipate the recruitment: We advise you to ask the recruitment agency to start the searching of the participants at least 2 weeks before the fieldwork and that the agency gives you constant feedback during this time: this will help to avoid drop outs and plan the best schedule possible. Thus, the recruitment agency can formalize the invitation to the participants few days before the fieldwork is carried out and the participants have a clear schedule and they are able to know if they will be available at the time of the interview or the session.
- Consider backups: Depending on the size of the sample, it is recommended to consider a representative number of backups: so that, if a participant is unable to attend, he/she can be replaced quickly. Although this is a common practice in research, in Latin America it becomes very important because traffic issues and displacements in large cities.
- Preventive Schedule: In most major Latin American cities travel times are very long due to the large size of cities and the consequent mobility problems this entails. So it is highly advisable to choose a schedule in which there is at least 30 minutes between each interview: if an interview is delayed, there is time to spare and it is not necessary to rush things.
Be patient, plan with anticipation and understand the culture of the country where you are in.
- “Tropicalize”: When making a discussion guide or screener is necessary to approach and learn a little about the colloquial vocabulary used in the country to refer to digital terminology. For example, “computadora” in Mexico and “computador” in Colombia, “café” in Mexico and “tinto” in Colombia. A proper vocabulary always make the participants feel more comfortable.
- Internet Connection Stability: The quality of Internet services in Latin America in terms of signal and speed is often limited. If the tests planned for research require intensive use of Internet, you always have to perform speed tests at key points where the research will be carried out one day before the field day.
- Facilities: It is important to choose a place that is well connected in order to facilitate the displacement of participants (close to major access routes, close to public transport, with parking available …)
- Courtesy Bias: Culturally in Latin America there is usually a courtesy bias. In our experience, the same product assessed via survey in Spain, USA and LATAM, initially it is always better valued in LATAM. Therefore, the time in which the participants express their opinion, it is necessary to be emphatic at the time of telling them they are free to say what they think and if something does not like them, they can honestly say it. Otherwise you probably just find comments like “I love it!” and “It’s great!”. Another example in this line is, if you are planning to apply a SUS questionnaire (Standard Usability Scale) to evaluate the usability of your product, takes into account the results tend to be a little higher because culturally Latinos tend to assess positively the new services, products and interfaces.