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See: http://www.customercarewords.com/what-it-is.html

Summary:
You construct a list of around a 100 words/tasks and ask users to identify top five (or similar). You then analyses the results and create a prioritised list.

I would have thought a totally open ended approach would be just as valid, ie ask users to list top five tasks without any list whatsoever and then construct a prioritised list...?

Any thoughts?

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What exactly are you asking here? I don't really see a question. –  Charles Boyung Apr 22 '11 at 13:12
5  
with all due respect Charles, it's fairly obvious. –  colmcq Apr 28 '11 at 13:13
    
No, actually it isn't. –  Charles Boyung Apr 28 '11 at 14:43
    
@Charles - Sorry let me rephrase his content into a question that most of us can already put together: Does anyone have experience with customer care words? If so, was it helpful/effective? –  Matt Rockwell Apr 29 '11 at 17:14

2 Answers 2

The problem with this way:

ask users to list top five tasks without any list whatsoever and then construct a prioritised list

is that users are not experts in usability. They cannot recall all the negative aspects they encountered. In order to get the whole picture with out swaying them to a certain point of view, this practice you linked provides them with a list. It helps the user think about all the aspects. It helps them organize their thoughts while still maintaing some level of non-biast opinion.

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thanks! I would vote up but all my reputation got mangled in the switch from uxexchange :( –  colmcq Apr 21 '11 at 13:59

A two-step approach for constructing a questionnaire / rating scale is pretty common practice in psychology and test construction. The first step involves getting a list of item candidates, and the best items (according to criteria, including statistic metrics, that fit your specific goals) make it into the final version.

If you can find an existing list that has been tested and fits your tasks well, it's often preferable to use that instead of creating your own. There can be a lot of work involved in creating valid and reliable tests, and for proven tests this has already been done.

To create a good list from scratch it's often desirable to use user input. That way you can find vocabulary that closely matches the user's mental model, and make your items clear to understand. The alternative here is that you decide by yourself on which items should be included, which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

I would have thought a totally open ended approach would be just as valid, ie ask users to list top five tasks without any list whatsoever and then construct a prioritised list...?

I wouldn't ask users to list just the top five, but ask them to name as many tasks as they can think of. If you ask for only 5, you'll find a lot of duplicates among the answers, and you'll need to ask an enormous group of users in order to get to 100 distinct items.

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you too marielle, great post.... –  colmcq Apr 21 '11 at 13:59

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