Methodological approach

Central point of view in the work of MICT is the audience or the user. The application domain is new media and ICT innovations.

In order to get and remain close to that end user, his expectations, (the quality of) his experiences, and the diversification of his media consumption patterns, MICT relies on a unique and broad diversity of methodological expertise. Main differentiators in that methodological approach are its interdisciplinarity and its user-centric innovation approach.

User centric innovation research

Innovation has become the main challenge in the strategy and mission statement of possibly each media and ICT company. Moreover, innovation often doesn’t suffice in this highly competitive market: user-centricity is increasingly becoming the main differentiator and necessary condition to stand out.

One of MICT’s missions is to take duty of the most optimal combination of methods and expertise in all phases of innovation development. As existing methods are insufficient to guarantee this user-centric innovation development, MICT continuously invests in the exploration and development of new methodological approaches to get closer to digitizing media consumer.

Some examples:

In the 'User Innovation Toolbox', the majority of these methods are gathered in an easy-to-digest cardbox. Interested? Download a sample here.

Interdisciplinarity

To persist and ameliorate the extensive methodological expertise, MICT attaches great importance to interdisciplinarity on different levels: one the one hand in the background of the research team (communication sciences, sociology, psychology, economy…), on the other hand in our research collaborations.

For the QoE-QoS research for example, MICT cooperates closely with technical groups in engineering sciences, to optimize the ways of combining subjective declarative user measurements with objective (technical) measurements, in order to identify tipping points which are actionable for the developer.

MICT works together with:

  • iMinds-WiCa-Ugent
  • iMinds-IPI-UGent
  • iMinds-UA-Mosaic
  • NTNU Trondheim
  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • Belgacom
  • ...

To date, we are also exploring opportunities to bridge gaps with physio and EEG measurement expertises to add an extra dimension in grasping and explaining end user experiences.

But also for the assessment of market potential and willingness-to-pay, the development and fine-tuning of new digital research methods and tools (e.g. harvesting data via API’s), or learning effects of digital media, we have long standing collaborations with other disciplines and faculties.

Data collection

Getting closer to the user of media & ICT requires a broad methodological expertise, but also a constant access to data about the user and his environment. MICT relies on unique ways of data collection:

  • DIGIMETER: In 2008, prof. dr. Lieven De Marez started this initiative within iMinds-iLab.o. Goal was to allow access to representative data on the use of media & ICT in Flanders in a consistent and continuous way. This results in an annual DIGIMETER-report: a state of affairs concerning the adoption and use of media & ICT in Flanders. The DIGIMETER also ensures the MICT-researchers a permanent access to a unique dataset and panel for further research.

In order to transcend the limitations of declarative self-reporting, MICT also has its...

  • living labs, as a good understanding of user needs and user experience often asks for a combination of contextual observation and logging. MICT continuously invests in a proper living lab approach in a continuous quest to optimize the iterative process of explore, co-create and validate innovation ideas.
  • API/Digital methods to leverage the power of big data harvested via social media APIs (Application Programming Interface). We use these APIs not only as a tool to interact with respondents in internet research, but also to retrieve media objects’ metadata in the broadest sense: objects’ descriptive data (e.g. tags, duration, time of upload) or user interaction with the object (e.g. number of comments, views). Likewise, data, such as date of subscription, number of posts, or previous uploads, can be collected on subjects as well.
  • Media Experience Lab for controlled experimental testing on the determinants and tipping points in the quality of experience. In this lab we use different types of observation technologies (Noldus Observer) and physiological measurement techniques.