Fraunhofer IDMT presents a new data collection tool

Press Release /

To detect weak points of products preferably during the product development phase, and to assess a product’s market potential, usability tests are extremely helpful. Unfortunately, these tests are usually quite expensive and require a lot of time. CoALa (Collaborative Analysis Lab) by Fraunhofer IDMT is an easy to use tool for efficient determination of users’ assessments and preferences. The tool will be presented for the first time at the CeBIT 2015.

Driving home devices via smartphone
Inwieweit Nutzer sich vorstellen können, Ihre Geräte zu Hause per Smartphone anzusteuern wird gerade mit CoAL evaluiert. If users can imagine to drive their home devices via smartphone is part of a current evaluation with CoALa.

CoALa is a novel data collection tool that has been developed in the course of a project named »Universal Home Control Interface (UHCI)«, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The overall goal of the project is to develop multimodal, easy to use interaction technologies for the home of the future.

One of the project’s main objectives has been the user centered design of innovative application scenarios for smart home, with a special focus on different modes of data entry and application control. An important question here has been to investigate users’ assessments and preferences regarding the control of household appliances by means of speech input, gesture recognition, or mobile applications.

Representative samplings for collection of assessments, expectations, and scepticism

CoALa is based on the repertory grid method, an interview technique used in psychology, which was enhanced by standardized interrogation methods. The repertory grid method is particularly suited to detect users’ unconscious knowledge and needs. CoALa does not just help determine the users’ assessment of a tested product, but also helps identify the reasons that led to the specific assessment, and reveal their expectations or scepticism  regarding the product.

»CoALa allows us to conduct reliable, representative data collections using samples comprising as few as ten test subjects. Assessments and trends regarding new products and technologies can be identified with little effort. This makes the tool particularly interesting for opinion and marketing research companies, designers of innovative products, and research and development companies and institutes«, says Dr. Martina Lucht, who is responsible for the development of CoALa at Fraunhofer IDMT.

The next step in the development of CoALa will be to make qualitative data (collected in interviews, for example) usable for quantitative research, as the tool is able to partially derive highly valid and reliable scales automatically in order to create standardized questionnaires. This saves a lot of time in the process of creating questions for data collection, and it provides concrete percentage values regarding users’ acceptance and preferences of certain target groups.

We look forward to seeing you!