SMART Board Interactive Whiteboards: Improving the Flip Chart
Tragon has added SMART Boards to their discussion rooms, allowing moderators and facilitators to project any image onto a white board, take notes on the projected image with electronic markers and save the image with the notes included.
New technology brings note-taking to the next level
No one welcomes the moment during in-person research when you turn to the stack of folded, sticky flip chart pages filled with your not-so-lovely handwriting and start strategizing about how to fit them into your luggage. Even worse, when you get back to the office, you need to begin the painful process of transcribing the drawings, notes, lists and feedback into a separate document to send out to the research team.
It has always concerned me that valuable insights get lost in this process. I worry my circles around parts of concepts won’t translate well to a text document. Or that the vitality of the discussion and the passion around certain ideas is represented better by the voracity of underlinings or x-marks on the original flip chart pages.
During a recent San Francisco QRCA chapter meeting, I encountered a way of taking notes during focus groups, interviews, concept evaluation or ideation sessions that offered a solution to these concerns (smarttech.com).
Tragon, a workspace and facility in the South Bay of San Francisco, has added SMART Boards to their discussion rooms, allowing moderators and facilitators to project any image (concept, attribute list, prototype etc.) onto a white board, take notes on the projected image with electronic markers and save the image with the notes included. This saved image can then be directly emailed to the collaboration/research team.
As Steve Willis, Senior Sensory and Consumer Insights Manager at Tragon, says:
“You used to have to take pictures of your notes in the board or use huge sticky notes to take them with you. Now all you have to do is write on the board and send that document to yourself.” He cautions that “some people tend to be afraid of them because it’s a technology that many people haven’t seen” but “it’s great for collaboration and the team here uses the SMART Boards almost everyday.”
SMART Board technology allows multiple interactive displays to support collaboration by enabling teams to amalgamate information from different sources and work together on multiple files, at the same time. The company’s usage instructions explain more about how the process works.
While SMART Boards are being used in a number of educational settings, I would love to see more qualitative research facilities install this system! Ask your favorite facilities if they have heard of SMART Boards and if not, spread the word.