Compile list of questions for marketing research company
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Description

During the promo sprint we talked about employing some of the money we obtained from the Pineapple Fund to employ a marketing research firm.

What we need is a list of topics that would help us work on plans that will help us expand our userbase.

These topics will be then turned into questions so we can submit them to a marketing research company and they can find the answers for us.

As our resources are limited, we thought that it would be best to divide the topics into three categories:

TopicWe have to find outWe can ask others to find outInfo that is probably already out thereTarget audience
DesktopsHow many Plasma users are there?How many Linux desktop users are there?How many desktop user are there?All
ApplicationsWhat would you use these applications for? Krita/KdenliveGraphic Artists
ApplicationsWhat would you use these applications for? GCompris/Kalgebra/Minuet/...Educators
DesktopsWhat are the 3 things you would most like to change about your computer's desktop/operating systemAll
ApplicationsWhat three computer programs do you use most with your students?Educators
FLOSSCan you explain in your own words what Free Software/Open Source software is?All
ApplicationsWhat Free Software/Open Source software do you use at home/at work/at your business? __________All
DesktopsWhat devices do you use to interact with the computer? Mouse / Keyboard / Touchscreen/ Devices that improve accessibility (which? _______ )/etc.All
DesktopsWhat apps do you use on your current operating system that stop you from migrating to Linux?All
DesktopsWhat support would you need to be able to migrate your institution to Linux?All
FLOSSWhat skills do you think you need to learn to be able to work with a Linux-based system?All

Please propose your ideas in the comments. Think of topics that can directly help with our job of growing the number of users and contributors. The example above, for example, would give us a baseline, an idea of where we are starting from. necessary to help us see if what we do works.

paulb created this task.Apr 19 2018, 10:12 AM
paulb triaged this task as Normal priority.
paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)
paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Apr 19 2018, 10:16 AM
paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)

I recommend that we conduct research asking receptive institutions--such as primary schools, universities, nonprofits, and small-to-medium-sized businesses--what the barriers are to adopting KDE Plasma and apps. Most of these institutions use Windows but are dissatisfied with the headaches and cost. Also, they typically already have an IT staff (if even a small one) to ease the transition and provide rudimentary user support.

Since our software offerings are geared more towards productivity then leisure, I think it makes sense to focus on increasing adoption by institutions. Users will then follow!

paulb added a comment.Apr 19 2018, 6:05 PM

I recommend that we conduct research asking receptive institutions--such as primary schools, universities, nonprofits, and small-to-medium-sized businesses--what the barriers are to adopting KDE Plasma and apps. Most of these institutions use Windows but are dissatisfied with the headaches and cost. Also, they typically already have an IT staff (if even a small one) to ease the transition and provide rudimentary user support.

This is a good idea. Let's limit the target. It probably won't be helpful to phone up random people in their homes.

paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Apr 19 2018, 6:06 PM

+1 for asking institutions (especially in education). KDE has some great educational apps (GCompris, KStars, KGeography...) and there are even special distributions designed for schools (e.g. the "lernstick", a german project that is pretty much Debian with tons of edu-apps added in).

A few sample questions (not refined):

  • Have you heard of KDE or specific KDE applications before?
  • What is your biggest problem in regard to IT right now?
  • How do teachers use digital devices in their lessons (inspiration for future apps)?
  • Have you considered using FOSS/Do you use FOSS at your institution?
  • Do you use touch screens regularly? (devs could consider making better touch support a priority)
  • Which problems stop you from using Linux as the main operating system at your institution?

I must say that I have absolutely zero experience in marketing research, so maybe the questions are utter garbage ;)

paulb added a comment.EditedApr 22 2018, 9:43 AM

+1 for asking institutions (especially in education). KDE has some great educational apps (GCompris, KStars, KGeography...) and there are even special distributions designed for schools (e.g. the "lernstick", a german project that is pretty much Debian with tons of edu-apps added in).

A few sample questions (not refined):

I think these are good questions, but, yes they can be better defined

Please, anybody with some marketing/survey experience correct me if I am wrong, but...

  • Have you heard of KDE or specific KDE applications before?

Do you think asking about something specific, depending on context, may work better?:

To art community: "Have you heard of Krita?"
To filmmakers: "Have you heard of Kdenlive?"
To teachers: "Have you heard of GCompris/KAlgebra/Minuet/etc.?"

  • What is your biggest problem in regard to IT right now?

Again, making it more concrete may work better:

"What are the three things you would most like to change about your computer's desktop/operating system (in non-nerd speak the desktop environment is called "operating system")?

  • How do teachers use digital devices in their lessons (inspiration for future apps)?

Do you meant for ICL, as in "NOT Computer Science", but learning other stuff with the aid of a computer, like music, physics, etc? If so, maybe:

"What three computer programs do you use most with your students?"

Probably CS studies would be in a category of its own. In most cases, to know what is taught during CS classes at schools, you have to look at the national curriculum and maybe the books and tests they use for a more in detail description.

  • Have you considered using FOSS/Do you use FOSS at your institution?

Probably have to start of lower (depending, of course, on the audience):

"Can you explain in your own words what Free Software/Open Source software is?"

You would be surprised of how many people get this wrong or really don't have a clue.

"What Free Software/Open Source software do you use...

  • ... at home? __________
  • ... at work? __________
  • ... at your business? __________"
  • Do you use touch screens regularly? (devs could consider making better touch support a priority)

How about this?:

"What devices do you use to interact with the computer?"

  • Mouse: [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • Keyboard: [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • Touchscreen: [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • Devices that improve accessibility: (which? _______ ): [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • etc."

Or something like that.

This informations is probably universally accessible. We just have to find it: third column.

  • Which problems stop you from using Linux as the main operating system at your institution?

This is a very useful question. In my non-systematic experience, this usually comes down to the user perceiving, often incorrectly, as Linux lacking applications they may need, so:

"What apps do you use on your current operating system that stop you from migrating to Linux?"

Also, maybe:

"What help do you think you would need to be able to move/move your institution to Linux?"

Ore something like that... Also something about "What do you think you would need to learn...?". Many end users are under the impression they need to know how to program to sue Linux for some reason I don't fully understand. These questions would not only help establish the users' needs, but also help identify what misconceptions they have.

I must say that I have absolutely zero experience in marketing research, so maybe the questions are utter garbage ;)

Definitely not garbage. In fact an excellent starting point. They got me thinking. As you say, they can be refined.

In T8554#139259, @paulb wrote:
  • Have you heard of KDE or specific KDE applications before?

Do you think asking about something specific, depending on context, may work better?:

Yes, the chances of actually getting a "Yes" as a response is probably higher (e.g. some people might not know that Krita is a KDE project).

Again, making it more concrete may work better:

"What are the three things you would most like to change about your computer's desktop/operating system (in non-nerd speak the desktop environment is called "operating system")?

Sounds good, +1.

Do you meant for ICL, as in "NOT Computer Science", but learning other stuff with the aid of a computer, like music, physics, etc? If so, maybe:

Yes, that was indeed my idea.

"What three computer programs do you use most with your students?"

We could also ask them how satisfied they are with those programs, as the folks at KDE edu might then take such applications as an inspiration to improve their offerings.

  • Have you considered using FOSS/Do you use FOSS at your institution?

Probably have to start of lower (depending, of course, on the audience):

"Can you explain in your own words what Free Software/Open Source software is?"

You would be surprised of how many people get this wrong or really don't have a clue.

"What Free Software/Open Source software do you use...

  • ... at home? __________
  • ... at work? __________
  • ... at your business? __________"

Of course we will need to adapt the questions to the level of the audience. I intended this question to be directed at an IT person (probably the person who provides support for this institution).

  • Do you use touch screens regularly? (devs could consider making better touch support a priority)

How about this?:

"What devices do you use to interact with the computer?"

  • Mouse: [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • Keyboard: [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • Touchscreen: [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • Devices that improve accessibility: (which? _______ ): [ ] always [ ] sometimes [ ] never
  • etc."

    Or something like that.

    This informations is probably universally accessible. We just have to find it: third column.

Sounds good.

  • Which problems stop you from using Linux as the main operating system at your institution?

This is a very useful question. In my non-systematic experience, this usually comes down to the user perceiving, often incorrectly, as Linux lacking applications they may need, so:

"What apps do you use on your current operating system that stop you from migrating to Linux?"

Yes, this is probably a question that people can answer more easily.

Also, maybe:

"What help do you think you would need to be able to move/move your institution to Linux?"

I am not sure why you put "move/move" there, was that simply a typo? But apart from that, definitely +1. We should know exactly where we need to improve the experience and if we can collaborate with others to accomplish that.

paulb added a comment.EditedApr 22 2018, 3:39 PM

"What help do you think you would need to be able to move/move your institution to Linux?"

Should probably be two questions for clarity:

"What help do you think you would need to be able to move to Linux?"

and

"What help do you think your institution would need to be able to move to Linux?"

Or even something more detailed.

paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Apr 23 2018, 11:34 AM
paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)
paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Apr 23 2018, 4:55 PM

I think we need to be careful to only ask questions whose answers are actionable for KDE and can help us choose where to focus our energies, such as "What apps do you use on your current operating system that stop you from migrating to Linux?" and "What support would you need to be able to migrate your institution to Linux?"

By contrast, I have a hard time imagining what KDE could do differently in response to any answers to the question "Can you explain in your own words what Free Software/Open Source software is?"

Even "What are the 3 things you would most like to change about your computer's desktop/operating system" may not be very useful since the answers are likely to be specific to whatever OS the user uses, which is probably not Plasma on a Linux distro. For example I imagine that a typical windows user might answer:

  • "I would like for <some annoying crash> to stop happening"
  • "I would like more flexibility to schedule updates at times that are convenient for me"
  • "I would that annoying NVIDIA pop-up to go away"

Not very useful for KDE.

paulb added a comment.Apr 23 2018, 6:49 PM

I think we need to be careful to only ask questions whose answers are actionable for KDE and can help us choose where to focus our energies, such as "What apps do you use on your current operating system that stop you from migrating to Linux?" and "What support would you need to be able to migrate your institution to Linux?"

By contrast, I have a hard time imagining what KDE could do differently in response to any answers to the question "Can you explain in your own words what Free Software/Open Source software is?"

I was wondering what are the perceived advantages users may see in Free Software, so they can be used as selling points. In retrospect, asking the above question is a very roundabout way to get to that information.

Even "What are the 3 things you would most like to change about your computer's desktop/operating system" may not be very useful since the answers are likely to be specific to whatever OS the user uses, which is probably not Plasma on a Linux distro. For example I imagine that a typical windows user might answer:

  • "I would like for <some annoying crash> to stop happening"
  • "I would like more flexibility to schedule updates at times that are convenient for me"
  • "I would that annoying NVIDIA pop-up to go away"

Yeah... I was wondering how we can use shortcomings of one system as a way of giving us guidance (or a selling point) for our own . Say you see a trend in the answers that feature X is super-annnoying under Windows (e.g.: re-starts after updates)...

In T8554#139379, @paulb wrote:

Yeah... I was wondering how we can use shortcomings of one system as a way of giving us guidance (or a selling point) for our own . Say you see a trend in the answers that feature X is super-annnoying under Windows (e.g.: re-starts after updates)...

We already offer a less annoying update experience, so learning that piece of information would teach us nothing, though. It's the same with most potential answers to this question.

People don't use Windows because it's technically superior to KDE offerings or more pleasant to use, but rather: because it's what they're accustomed to; or what their sysadmin/school installed; or because it runs their AAA games; or because they need or want MS Office and can't or don't want to use LibreOffice instead; or because they have some specialized piece of Windows-only software that they rely on. Windows is a terribly user-hostile OS, but the above considerations override that for most of its users.

We don't want to sell our offerings by tearing down windows or macOS; we want to show people that they can do all the same things with KDE software that they can on those other platforms. And when this isn't the case (e.g. file handling on samba shares for non-KDE apps run in Plasma), that should be a major focus area for us.

With this in mind, I think the question should be phrased more like, "What are the things you couldn't stand to give up if you used KDE Plasma on Linux instead Windows/macOS/whatever?"

This would be actionable information, and could help us focus on specific transition workflows and pieces of software that would be important for people (or more likely, institutions) considering making the switch.

paulb added a comment.Apr 23 2018, 7:24 PM

We already offer a less annoying update experience, so learning that piece of information would teach us nothing, though. It's the same with most potential answers to this question.

Yes, I know this. It was an example.

People don't use Windows because it's technically superior to KDE offerings or more pleasant to use, but rather: because it's what they're accustomed to; or what their sysadmin/school installed; or because it runs their AAA games; or because they need or want MS Office and can't or don't want to use LibreOffice instead; or because they have some specialized piece of Windows-only software that they rely on. Windows is a terribly user-hostile OS, but the above considerations override that for most of its users.

I know this also.

We don't want to sell our offerings by tearing down windows or macOS;

Well... Users will have to come from somewhere. Pointing out the advantages of one product over another is an age-old way of increasing market share or, for us, user base. I mean, why would someone switch if it wasn't because they believed the alternative were better in some way?

For the record, while I disagree with bashing all other FLOSS projects, I have zero qualms in pointing out Plasma's virtues over Windows' and macOS's vices if that is what it takes. I have no respect for either Microsoft or Apple (or Adobe or Oracle for that matter) and consider bashing them perfectly legitimate in view of their appalling histories. So, yeah, tearing down Windows or macOS in favour of Plasma? All for it.

we want to show people that they can do all the same things with KDE software that they can on those other platforms. And when this isn't the case (e.g. file handling on samba shares for non-KDE apps run in Plasma), that should be a major focus area for us.

With this in mind, I think the question should be phrased more like, "What are the things you couldn't stand to give up if you used KDE Plasma on Linux instead Windows/macOS/whatever?"

Yes, that question is already up there.

This would be actionable information, and could help us focus on specific transition workflows and pieces of software that would be important for people (or more likely, institutions) considering making the switch.

Yes, good point. Actionable information is exactly what we need. Thanks!