Perception Analyzer: Frequently Asked Questions

Questions or Help?


How does the Perception Analyzer system work?

The Perception Analyzer system consists of three primary components: dials, console, and software. Questions and recorded media (video or audio) are programmed into the software. The console connects to the computer running the software and wirelessly communicates with the dials in order to set the response range for each question and poll dials to capture real-time feedback.

M5 W Console_colorcorrected Questions are displayed to research participants on a monitor or screen. Research participants are each given a dial, which they use to respond to questions and give continuous moment-to-moment feedback on live content and/or recorded media (video or audio). The software and console poll the dials either discretely for each question, or continuously for moment-to-moment rating, and instantly display the results for the moderator and observers in the viewing room.

At the end of each research session, and aggregated at the end of the project if applicable, data are compiled and delivered as charts, cross-tabs, video/audio overlays, and raw data files (.csv, Excel, SPSS).

How many dials can I use in a session?

The most common range is 10-50 dials. For focus groups, it’s generally 10-15 dials. For larger dial sessions, we will often start with anywhere from 20-50 dials, then you can review the results from the larger dial session and optionally select respondents for breakout groups to be conducted with or without dials. With that said, we have conducted IDIs with one dial and larger events with more than 100 dials, and we’re happy to explore all options to find the best solution for your project.

What kinds of things do people test with the dials?

Perception Analyzer dials are regularly used to test concepts, product features, brand messaging, communications, presentations, commercials, infomercials, TV shows, speeches, debates, and much more. Industries that heavily use the dials include healthcare, financial services, consumer products, politics and public policy, television and entertainment, litigation research, and many others.

In addition to moment-to-moment rating, what other types of questions are the dials suited to answer?

The most common question types are discrete choice (categorical), intensity scale (attitudinal), and moment-to-moment. With discrete choice and intensity scale, you can use any number of response options between zero and 100. For example, if you ask a gender question, the response options on the dial will be 1 or 2 (for female/male or vice versa). If you ask an age range question, or perhaps a Likert scale, the range may be 1-5 or 1-7. An intensity scale question may be 0-10 or 1-10. And, a moment-to-moment rating exercise is generally only a scale of 0-100 where 0 is the negative side, 100 is the positive side, and 50 is neutral.

Beyond those most common question types, the Perception Analyzer system supports various more advanced exercises such as point-allocation trade-off, van Westendorp price elasticity, X-Y Scattergram, and more.

How fast can I see the results?

A key benefit of the Perception Analyzer is that results are available instantly. As each question is polled with the dials, a real-time results chart is immediately viewable on moderator and viewing room screens. For moment-to-moment rating of live or recorded media, the continuous line chart is plotted over the media in real-time as the material is being rated.Presentation1

What kinds of deliverables are available after my group(s)?

At the end of each research session, and aggregated at the end of the project if applicable, data are compiled and delivered as charts, cross-tabs, video/audio overlays, and raw data (.csv, Excel, SPSS).

Can the dials be used to test live content as well as recorded media?

The Perception Analyzer dials can be used to test both live content and recorded media. Live content may be live in the room (captured by a video camera), or from a television broadcast or online stream. Recorded media gets loaded into the software in advance and the software controls playback of the media synchronized with dial polling and data collection.

For more detail on required media formatting see the Perception Analyzer Media Specs page.

What’s the longest duration of content I can test?

There is no technical limit to the duration of content you can test. In a practical sense, it is always recommended to keep the material as short and focused as possible. That will help keep participants active and engaged. We regularly test everything from 30-second TV commercials to 60-minute TV pilots and everything in between.

Can I hire Dialsmith to help with just one project?

Yes, you can hire Dialsmith for single projects. We also offer contract pricing for volume commitments.

Can I buy a system?

Yes, you can buy a system. We include everything you need to set-up and run the system yourself, including an in-person training session to ensure you’re good to go. We also offer remote technical support for when you’re in the field and need some help. Some clients prefer to hire Dialsmith indefinitely and let us handle all things related to the Perception Analyzer. Others use the tool more frequently and/or prefer to be more self-sufficient and opt to purchase a system. We’re happy to work with you to figure out whatever path is best for you.

How much does it cost?

Pricing on for-hire projects and system purchases vary based on project and system specifics. Contact us with questions and to get pricing.

Does Dialsmith offer moderating or recruiting?

Not directly, but Dialsmith has relationships with facilities, recruiters, and moderators that are well versed with using our dials and can certainly add on those services as needed.

Can Perception Analyzer results be viewed remotely in real-time?

Yes, through FocusVision or other screen-sharing tools, results can be viewed remotely.