Prevalence and State of User Research
Usability testing is not very common in France, as it is quite unusual to critique the design decisions of an engineer in a country where engineering is among the most prestigious and respected careers. Instead, a product is usually evaluated in France by how many features it has, its technical capacity and emblematic technical references.
Mon to Fri 8 am to 9 pm
We are located 1 mile from the Paris city limit (close to Paris Sciences and Technics Museum at La Vilette) Our lab address with Google Maps is: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=fr&q=5,+rue+regnault,+Pantin,+France
We can offer facilities for web services, mobiles and medical devices and a wide range of products (from heating control home devices to franking machines) We can offer simultaneous translation services in all main languages
Day rate for one testing room and one observation room with 1-Way mirror is €850 This includes catering services We have 2 large observation rooms (can fit up to 9 persons) and 1 smaller room at discounted price (on demand) We can sell our lab even when we don't run the study (for external moderation and recruitment)
Our cost per person ranges from €100 to €200 or more when profile is very specific (i.e. physicians in cancer research, patients with uncommon disease...) Recruitment is always sold with lab and moderation (we are not a recruitment agency
We propose in-house recruitment, we have a dedicated staff for candidates selection in our panel
Language and Translation Considerations
Most of our staff can speak English, some speak Spanish or German
Testing design and protocols
Technology and connectivity
Two technical points to keep in mind when testing with computer in France: keyboard format is AZERTY (and not QWERTY) and power sockets have a specific format.
Travel and transportation
Travel within this country
A foreign practitioner visiting France would not generally be surprised by anything, other than some common cultural behaviors, and that there are elements of truth to many of France’s cultural clichés. For example, French people, especially taxi drivers, are always in a bad mood and it is not uncommon to encounter a work strike while traveling in France.
In Paris, due to the high density of population, there is a lot of traffic. Therefore, travel times are difficult to estimate and should be taken into account when preparing a schedule for test sessions.
It is important to keep in mind that Paris represents only 20% of France’s population and is very different from the rest of the country. There are few differences between the North and South of France, but in order to get a true representation of technology adoption across the country, sessions in a small town in the countryside (around 2-3 hours away) should be conducted in addition to those in Paris, since in some ways Paris is quite unique, even within France.
Another important point to be mentioned concerns the French population composition. Due to several historical events, about 5 million immigrants (about 8% of the total population) are living in France. These people mainly come from North Africa (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) and Sub-Saharan Africa, and are mainly concentrated around big cities like Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse. Their cultural background is a mix between French traditional culture and their mother culture.
When a researcher conducts a study in France, it is important to keep in mind that French people have real concerns regarding their privacy rights. Therefore, it is advisable to divide the consent form into two parts: The "confidentiality" part can be signed before the session, but the privacy part must be signed after the sessions. Participants will be much less spontaneous during the sessions, otherwise. When testing consumer participants (as opposed to business users), researchers should accept this limitation.
Holiday, seasonality, and timing considerations
The entire month of August should be avoided for sessions taking place in France due to more than 50% of the population being on vacation at that time. Another problematic time of the year is the month of May, with two banking holidays very close to each other (Labor day on the 1st and Victory day on the 8th) and Catholic “Ascension Day” on the third Thursday of the month. When sessions have to be run in May, only 50% of time should be considered as available for testing.
French people tend to have a long lunch break (around 90 minutes) in the middle of the day, and some practitioners do not work more than 7 hours a day (the official daily working time in France). These practices should be taken into account when testing here, since running more than four 90-minute sessions in a day would be difficult.