In an earlier blog post we presented some findings from our web survey on the differences between iPhones and other brands of mobile phone. In this post we look beyond mobiles and give a brief overview of some of the other findings from the survey. If you’ve already taken part in the survey, thank you very much for your time and answers. If you haven’t (and you still can, by clicking here), we asked 10 multiple-choice questions about people’s everyday experiences of making audio recordings. These questions covered subjects such as what recording devices people commonly use, who/what the recordings are for, what the recordings are of, what people do with recordings once they’ve made them, what problems people encounter when making recordings (in terms of impaired quality), and so on. Here is a brief summary of some results so far:
So how do the survey findings help the project?
The Good Recording Project has a particular focus on audio quality in user-generated content. The survey helps us in that we can begin to develop a greater understanding of what, how, why and where people of different levels of expertise are making recordings – and what they do with them.
We have already launched a web experiment to investigate how audio quality is affected when speech is played in noisy conditions (you can – and should! – take part in it by clicking here). The survey provides reassurance that we started out in the right direction by choosing to focus on factors such as background noise, wind noise and handling noise as common impairments to audio quality.
The survey also hints at some interesting, slightly more speculative, conclusions worthy of future consideration. The finding, for instance, that (proportionally) experts report more recording problems is somewhat counter-intuitive. Perhaps it suggests that experts assess quality differently to non-experts in that they have the knowledge and motivation to notice and identify different sources of quality impairment. Perhaps their threshold for what constitutes ‘quality’ is simply higher. It is also noteworthy however that non-experts were most likely to report that “speech is too quiet” as a significant factor impairing quality in their recordings. The same group of people were found to be the most likely to record in domestic scenarios – settings in which speech is likely to be particularly important. Perhaps non-experts’ assessments of quality are more closely related to speech and/or ‘function’ than experts’ are? These sorts of findings are important to help guide our future research in the right direction and to properly explore the differences in the ways experts and non-experts form quality judgements.
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