Documentary :: User – Testing

Something I forgot to do initially in my design phase was user testing. So yesterday I set up a survey on the free online survey supplier Survey Monkey.

So far it’s been a great help to see some outside opinions on certain aspects of my project I’ve been dwelling on. It’s also great because it’s an anonymous survey, so you really know people are telling the truth and being brutally honest which is good to hear at the best of times.

Here’s the list of questions I asked.* (click image to see bigger)

Click here to take survey

Survey questions

Does the user play music?

Another important aspect to see was if the people taking the survey were musicians or non-musicians. My target audience isn’t only musicians but people who have a passion and love for music too even if they don’t play themselves. So I thought it would be an important part of the survey to see this.

Here’s the results so far:

Musician or not

Attention Span

One of my main worries was peoples attention span today when watching videos online especially with regards to my final year project as I’m making a documentary so it will most likely be longer than your average video you watch online. I phrased the question in a scenario way, saying:

What’s your normal attention span when watching a Documentary online?

The feedback so far has been better than expected, there is till hope for modern society! I was really worried that the majority of people would say 3-5 minutes but so far (what I was hoping for) people are saying they will watch a documentary between 15-20 minutes. This is a weight of the shoulders cause I really thought people’s attention spans today was much lower, especially when watching stuff online. My set target for the finished documentary is somewhere between the 15 to 20 minute mark so if people are telling the majority of people will watch the whole film.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 12.58.39

Will people watch if they don’t know the people?

Another interesting point I had been dwelling on was would people watch the documentary if they didn’t know any people involved?

So far the results have been quite positive with the majority of people saying they’d watch it whether they knew the people involved or not. I asked this out if curiosity more than anything. So far I have two well known songwriters set to interview but that may not be the case for the others I interview but so far the results give a good outlook on what people think.

InterviewsHow many Interviews is enough?

Through my research of watching documentaries on various different topics I sometimes found they would spend little or to much time on one person so this was a test to see what people think is the right balance.

I asked the question in a scenario case relating it back to the set target time of my finished project, saying:

For example in a 15 min documentary would you prefer only a few people were interviewed (4-5) or a wide range of people (5-10)

The results to this are also what I hoped for aswel. After watching some documentaries where they interviewed to much people I found it hard to take on board every one’s opinions preferring a doc with only a few people interviewed jumping between their different views.

Here’s the results:

How many people


The last question on the survey was if anyone had any suggestions on what people would like to see covered in a Documentary on the process of songwriting. I included this at the end to see other peoples views and ideas on what they would put in a film on this topic. I’ve been really surprised at the brilliant feedback and suggestions people have given me.

I’m going to bullet point some of the best suggestions that people said later this week.




Creating a Timeline Structure

A few weeks ago we received a very inspirational talk of Mark Doherty writer and actor of the Irish feature film ‘A film with me in it’ starring Dylan Moran among others.  If you haven’t seen it, would definitely recommend giving it a watch.

Throughout his talk, Mark laid on the class many words of wisdoms he’s picked up over the past few years writing stories, scripts and screenplays for various different productions. A good technique and habit he mentioned of getting into when writing a script or treatment is creating a physical timeline of your story and putting it into your workplace. By creating this physical thing/entity your making it a real story so to speak, its also a way I think anyway of subconsciously sinking your idea into your head.

I may not be creating a short-film or story but I still need to make some sort of Narrative out of everything I film for the overall documentary. So by doing this, I’m hoping with this and many other cork-boards (just this little one for now) to piece together all my different plans and ideas so I can see it physically and begin to tie all different stuff together and really see if things fit with each other. A good tip Mark said aswel, is to just use as many add on’s as possible – Post it’s, string, whatever! In this messy narrative stage its good to experiment and just see what sort of stuff you come out with.


I’m still in the testing stages of the documentary, over the past two weekends I’ve been taking 3-4 hours to catch up with two local songwriters experimenting with filming styles, interviewing techniques and trying to think of ideas visually how songwriters go through the process of writing.


This weekend I spoke to Oisín Leahy Furlong, a local young songwriter who’s currently in his 2nd year of studying music and songwriting at BIMM Dublin college, a branch of DIT. Oisín has been writing since he first picked up a guitar, from an early age Oisin was exposed to great songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Elliott Smith and many more from his parents vast music collection. Both his parents are Art teachers and this creativity side has definitely sinked into his music. He made for a very good interviewee with some very interesting views and answers on the art of songwriting . I’m hoping to maybe include him in the real documentary, at the moment I’m hoping to maybe speak to two international acts and two local acts making for a nice contrast.

I’ll put up a tester of his video as soon as I get it done,

Until then.

Final Workshop – Stanford Design Thinking Process

So a few weeks ago we had our last creative workshop with Danny before our final year projects pitches which took place this friday (I will talk more on this later) It was a really fun workshop and really expanded everyones normal thinking process.

First Danny introduced us to the Stanford D T process and gave us a little background info on it.

This is a technique used by many creative designers and companies looking to discover a solution to a problem. For the workshop Danny gave us a task of re inventing the Gift giving process.

First we all broke into groups of 2 people and interviewed each other about our various opinions on the gift giving process, our likes and dislikes etc. During this music was played also to ease people while talking.

After this we then looked at each others results (during the interviews we were asked to take notes on each others answers). Through this we had to find a problem that our partner was having with the giving giving process. After this then in our groups of 4, we had to pick one problem one of us was having with the gift giving process and tackle it and think of a solution for.

In the next stage rather than brainstorming and each of us talking about what we thought was a good idea we had what I like to call, the 10 minute spitting round. We were given an a4 page and told to come up with as much as 100 ideas in 10 minutes. During this it was also important to stand up while spitting out ideas. This was a real fun exercise and something that really suited my group. We were the first group to reach over 100 ideas!

After this we then had to pick the 4 worst and best ideas we came up with. Next we were asked to try and make our worst idea and best idea work. We then went around the class and seen what peoples solutions were. Finally we were told to prototype the solution we came up with in our groups. For this we developed an app that would give people a better understanding of who the person really is so they would have a better idea of what kind of present they would like. I think our problem was Aza was having trouble giving presents that came from the heart (sorry Az!!)

I really liked this workshop, this style of tackling an idea is definitely something that I can see myself using in the future.

Create a free website or blog at