Internet Usage and Emerging Needs in Thailand & Indonesia (2013)

Participants at home in Bangkok creating a “Day-in-my-life” Journey Map (August 2013)

Participants at home in Bangkok creating a “Day-in-my-life” Journey Map (August 2013)

Project Description

In August and September of 2013, the Mozilla Firefox user research team visited Thailand and Indonesia to conduct Firefox qualitative research. The goal of this research project was to understand how people in these markets experience the internet and to learn about emerging trends that could provide insight into new and current product features. Additionally, we hoped to understand why our historically high browser market share in Thailand had fallen dramatically in recent years, while our large market share in Indonesia held strong.

My Role: Lead Researcher
I was the lead researcher for our Thailand research and, along with my field team, interviewed 22 participants over a two week period in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand. We conducted research synthesis and analysis as a field team, and collaborated with our Indonesia field team to report on and socialize our findings and recommendations.

Research Questions

  • What user experience and product needs can Mozilla identify and address that are specific to Thailand & Indonesia?

  • What are the primary ways in which users access the internet?

  • What motivates users to access the internet? What are their expectations when they access the internet?

  • What are the primary activities that engage users online?

  • How do users perceive online communities and social networks?

  • What are users’ frustrations and obstacles when using or accessing the internet?

  • What are users’ notions about privacy and security?

Bangkok participant’s Internet & Identity Collage (August 2013)

Bangkok participant’s Internet & Identity Collage (August 2013)

Chiang Mai participant demonstrating mobile phone connectivity (August 2013)

Chiang Mai participant demonstrating mobile phone connectivity (August 2013)

 

Process & Methods

I was the primary researcher for our Thailand research and, along with my field team, interviewed 22 participants over a two week period in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  • Background Research:

    • Desk research on telecommunication infrastructure, income ranges, internet and mobile penetration, social/cultural themes around communication with friends and family, etc.

    • Discussions with our Thailand-based Mozilla contributor community to help inform our research locations, schedule, and recruitment criteria.

  • Stakeholder Interviews: Interviews with senior leadership and product management teams to understand internal knowledge, articulate research questions, identify assumptions, surface project constraints, gather field team member nominations, and build organizational support for the research efforts.

  • Recruitment: Using recommendations from our Thailand contributor community and our professional networks, we identified local recruitment and interpretation firms in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to contract with and began recruiting participants based on a range of demographic, socioeconomic, and device usage criteria.

    • Relationship Pairs: We focused on recruiting pairs of participants for this research project for two primary reasons. 1) We were interested in investigating the social aspects of internet in daily life and 2) we were interested in interviewing younger participants (12 y.o +) with a guardian present.

    • Pre-work: We recruited 15 relationship pairs asked them to create a digital scrapbook as homework before our interview. This activity allowed us to look beyond basic recruitment details and gain a more holistic view of participants and their lives. The scrapbook asked participants to use photos and text to introduce themselves and give us an overview of their friends and family, their home, a typical work/school day and leisure day, how they use the internet at home and when away from home, and to describe how not having access to the internet would impact their life. Based on these answers, we selected 11 relationship pairs to visit in-person in Thailand.

  • Field Team: Each time we conduct a field study, we invite non-researchers to join us in the field and participate in analysis. This immersion helps other people in our organization understand the work of user research, build deep empathy with users, understand the context of use of our users, share their expertise throughout the process, and become internal advocates of our research findings and recommendations. During this fieldwork, members of the Mozilla design, engineering, and marketing teams joined us.

    • Before colleagues enter the field with us, we conduct hands-on field training to introduce the participants, interview guide, debrief forms, and other field materials, set etiquette expectations, roles and responsibilities, note-taking and digital documentation best practices, and share self-care tips for long interview days.

  • Contextual Inquiry: We met our research participants in their homes for our interviews, and in some cases we also visited their work places and/or schools. This allows us to spend time with participants in the context in which the behaviors we are investigating commonly occur. In this study, contextual inquiry allowed us to experience any difficulty participants encountered with connectivity, understand how their homes were networked, investigate usage of a wider variety of devices, and gain a deeper understanding of social dynamics, hobbies, and home life.

  • Semi-Structured Interviews & Activities: We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants to understand methods of internet access, device usage, motivations and expectations when accessing the internet, their primary internet activities and workflows, communication strategies and social network engagement, any frustrations or obstacles they encounter when accessing the internet, how they perceive of privacy and security online, and a discussion of their scrapbook prework . Throughout the 120 minute interviews, we switched between interview methods and other activities including:

    • Day-in-my-life Journey Map: Participants constructed a cognitive map that outlined a day in their life with digital content. The purpose of this activity was to reveal the role that information technology and online resources have in shaping their understanding and experiences.

    • Internet & Identity Collage: Participants constructed a collage that outlined the role that digital tools play in various parts of their lives (self, family, school/work, country). The purpose of this activity was to reveal the role technology plays in shaping identities in various parts of their lives.

    • Show and Tell: Using the journey map and collage, participants enacted archetypal moments from their every day lives to show and tell how browser features help or hinder their experience.

    • Browser Participatory Design: Finally we provided materials for participants to develop their own “ideal browser window” and then narrate the story of how this ideal browser would be customized to their unique personal and social needs.

  • Ethnographic Research: The field team also engaged in various ethnographic research activities to add additional context to our interview data. Along with members of our local Mozilla community, we visited app side-loading kiosks, purchased examples of low-cost laptops with pre-loaded (pirated) software packages, visited co-working spaces, malls, and 7-11 mobile data payment centers, and other locations.

  • Debrief Activities: After each interview, field team members filled out a short form to capture their initial thoughts and takeaways from the participants. Each evening, the entire field team gathered (typically over dinner) to share their debrief thoughts, add to our high-level field notes, and identify areas for further inquiry. Additionally, each day I shared field updates with our primary stakeholders and sent the interview audio recordings out to our transcription service so they would be ready for coding once our field work wrapped.

 
Mozilla contributor community dinner in Bangkok (August 2013)

Mozilla contributor community dinner in Bangkok (August 2013)

Bangkok participant engaged in an “Ideal Browser” participatory design exercise (August 2013)

Bangkok participant engaged in an “Ideal Browser” participatory design exercise (August 2013)

Synthesis & Analysis

After our fieldwork, I created detailed participant profiles for each interview based on our field data (demographic data, photos, interview activity artifacts, team debrief notes, etc). The Thailand and Indonesia field teams met in our Portland, Oregon office for a week of synthesis and analysis activities.

Deliverables & Socialization Activities

  • Weekly emails to stakeholder groups with project planning updates and observations from the field.

  • Final report document

  • 10 minute video highlight reel

  • Company-wide recorded talk on our “Air Mozilla” channel.

  • Targeted internal talks to various executive, product strategy, and UX teams.

  • Remote ideation workshop with UX team.

Chiang Mai participant’s desktop (August 2013)

Chiang Mai participant’s desktop (August 2013)

Bangkok participants in their mall shop (August 2013)

Bangkok participants in their mall shop (August 2013)

Primary Findings

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Outcomes

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