While wandering around the NikonUSA site the other day trying to find a specific piece of information, I noted something that’s been in place for awhile, but is now starting to become a bit clearer. I’m talking about the “Take the Nikon X survey” links that appear on some, but not all of the camera product pages.
For example, these links appear on the current Nikon 1 cameras (S2, J4, V3) main pages in the Overview section, but not on the AW1 main page Overview. They appear on the Df Overview page, but not on the other DSLR Overview pages.
With statistics—and surveys are one of the methods of creating statistics—you want as much consistency in how you obtain data as possible. It appears to me that Nikon is trying to collect information about user opinions on cameras they themselves have some question about (why doesn’t the Coolpix A have such a survey?), but the problem I see is that they have no controls and the surveys are not going to give them answers as to why a product succeeds or fails (hint: value).
For example, the D610 and Df are similar cameras. How do they know that the Df surveys are telling them something useful? They ask about what you think of the 16.3m pixel count, for example. But what would a D610 purchaser say about its 24m pixel count? Does satisfaction really go up with pixel count? Or do the people taking the survey think the Df’s sensor is better than the D610’s (e.g. better in low light)? I’m not sure Nikon can make any conclusion on that from the way they’re surveying users.
If you’re going to go after data for deep analysis, you want more data, not limited data. Plus you want the same data from every camera. It’s the only way you could safely spot real trends in the data.
I won’t get into the wording of Nikon’s individual questions other than to say they’re not consistent. The Df survey, for example, asks how you’d rate “No built-in flash” while the V3 survey wants to know how you rate “flash built in.” Gee, I like the flash built in better than not, all else equal. Such wording won’t tell you whether you should have designed with or without the flash. Curiously, I think Nikon got this backwards in the actual products: the Df probably should have had a flash, the V3 shouldn’t have (to allow a larger flash to be used with the EVF via a second accessory slot). But I’m not sure that their surveys will tell them that. Indeed, Nikon’s not getting the “why” of survey takers answers other than perhaps in the freeform fields, which of course will require someone translate them before sending them to Japan. One has to wonder whether all of them are translated and forwarded, or whether that information is summarized or cherry picked to send to Japan.