Welcome to Bellbird

our blog contains a great many articles on user / usability testing, plain language, research with 'older' people' and different research methods.


Tips for remote working and interviewing

Before Covid, we had been remote-working here for over over a decade.  Jane and I are in different Sydney suburbs. Our virtual administrative assistant at the time Heather was based on the NSW North Coast. Suzanne has been living part-time on the NSW South Coast for a few years now. We have used Zoom, Skype, Adobe Connect, Redback Conferencing - and that old technology the mobile phone.  We have not only worked together this way - as an agency, we have conducted probably about a thousand interviews remotely - and several remote presentations as well for international clients.  Lots of experience and our knowledge of semiotics, discourse analysis and sensemaking has given us some useful insights:

Here are the three main things we have learned about remote working and interviewing

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What do vegetarianism and retirement have in common?

Answer 1: they are both evolving and complex consumer landscapes that people try to 'make sense' of.

Answer 2: They are both topics of upcoming conference papers of ours!

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The Treasury Retirement Income Review report is out. Great to see our work cited!


Industry Super Australia commissioned us to conduct a survey to find out how much superannuation retirees and pre-retirees have, as well as how much they owe in debt. One of the significant findings of our survey was that people who retired involuntarily had less money and more debt in retirement. on average.


About half of retirees retire earlier than they expected to because their work opportunities ran out or because of their or someone else’s health problems

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The ESET Cyberawareness Index Australia for 2019 was recently published online.

This consumer survey was designed and distributed by Susan Bell Research and I was fortunate enough to be the pilot tester for the survey before it was made available to the public.

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Qualitative Research: 3 Practical Tips on What to use When

This article is for people who want to use re-emerging qualitative research techniques like individual interviews, focus groups and online communities but who lack the experience to know what technique to use when. 

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The Transformation of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research has broadened - and continues to broaden  - in scope as its applications and methods of delivery evolve to encompass different market trends and technologies. But is it now coming full circle? 

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Behavioural Economics has become accepted as fact by some people in the market and social research world. I am not one of those people. 

I have three problems with it - to be fair I should say 'problems with applied behavioural economics':

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How people really make decisions - a thought piece

I have been observing how people make decisions. One observation that fascinated me was how intertwined emotion and cognition are. I am really interested in  how different stages of the decision elicit different emotions.
Here are some examples.

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Situations drive consumer decision making. Here's how.

There is a common assumption that before people buy or use products or services they stop and evaluate various features of the product or service as if they lived in some kind of context-free alternative universe. This popular model in consumer research is, in our view, quite wrong and doesn't quite encompass what truly motivates consumers to make a purchasing decision.

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