Understanding Users’ Mobile Phone-Based Search Behaviour

Project Brief

Facebook, looking to spur growth in the usage of their platform for all kinds of social information search in the international marketplace, identified Delhi, India as their largest non-US user base where they could look to supplement their existing insights around what users search for, with a better understanding of local frustrations, fallbacks and strategies regarding usability, information structuring and language issues.

Quicksand, being ideally placed with a well-demonstrated understanding of empathic user research in the complex Indian context, was thus commissioned to lead Facebook's team of researchers for an intensive five-day period of field immersion in Delhi.

The key challenges around planning and management were posed by the short timeline: we had to be adept at on-the-go refining of our lines of investigation as per a contextual understanding of the insights that emerged hourly in the field. Through a tightly planned combination of a series of Live Intercepts, In-Home Interviews and Usability Sessions, we sought to better understand how users in one of Facebook's largest Post Search user bases (Delhi) currently look for information.

Through a mix of imparting contextual understanding during in-studio workshops with the research team, interview scheduling, moderation, translation support and iterative refining of research tools, we helped Facebook delve into a wide array of users' search behaviour. The goals the study worked towards were,

  • understanding Indian users' mental models around finding information using a mobile phone
  • understanding Indian users' preferred navigation patterns on Facebook
  • understanding current usage of the Facebook search bar

The research team's findings will inform further rounds of development on both Facebook's search functionality as well as overall user experience for non-US markets. With the constraints that the short time frame put on sample size, Quicksand was pivotal in providing a firm contextual grounding for drawing out strong insights from the field research synthesis.

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