‘The Big Issues’ – To get the right answer we have to ask the right question (Part II.)

This is the 2nd part of the post. I recommend to start here.

What, why, how and so on…

If the goal is to ‘know who uses Blender and why’, we have to be specific.
All of the questionnaires we make have to have an exact goal: to help the development, to help the marketing, to help the improving of the ‘user experience’ and so on.
All the questions we ask should serve this specific purpose; the way we put on our questions has to offer as relevant info as it is possible for us within the limits of the survey.

What does it mean in practice?

1. We have to ask relevant questions.
2. We have to understand that the ‘usability’ of the incoming data heavily depends on the competency of the user (in our case: if someone has no serious experience in other packages, the statements he/she makes could be completely useless for us to define the direction of development).
3. We have to accept that people lie. Because of the fact that the users belong to the human race, it means that they lie, too. So we have to try to eliminate the opportunities of lying as much as it possible.
4. We have to understand that in many cases a mistake could lead us to completely wrong results.

I will show you all of these examples in ‘The Big Issues’  survey and its interpretation.
And I will lie a lot.
Your challenge will be to try to identify when I’m lying related to the data.
And at the end of the post I will explain you, why I lied.
Let’s start!

Because of the copyright I suggest you to open this page and just read my notes to the points.

1. The first question was about the gender of users.

It is totally irrelevant for the development of Blender (I could be wrong if a new GUI theme called ‘Hello Kitty’ is planned by the developers). Waste of the time of the participant, but my heart is made of gold, so we can call it to a ‘warm up’ question.

2. The age of the Blender users

Very important question, could make us to think about hidden relations like ‘experience in the industry’ or ‘financial freedom to choose another app’. Unfortunately the survey asked almost nothing about these factors in a ‘useful’ way.

3. User experience in Blender – measured in years

This is the first question I had a serious problem.
Why?
It offers not enough precision in my opinion.
The intensity of  ‘usage’ is not specified; if it counts when I tried Blender the first time, then I’m a user for definitely more than 5 year.
Does it help to judge my experience?
I don’t think so.
I spent the last month with Blender, at least 4-5 hours a day.
This single month with the ‘focused learning’ gave me more knowledge than all my failed 1-2 hours trials before.
A Blender pro who lives from the money he/she earns with Blender, uses the app for maybe 8-10 hours a day (estimated).
A hobbyist uses it maybe just for a few hours on the weekends.
It would be more precise with the knowledge how big part of the monthly/yearly income of a user comes from commercial usage of Blender (pros are forced to be effective within the apps limits).
It also would be more precise with some kind of short technical tests, measuring actual knowledge (modeling methods, workarounds, estimating required time for a model, maybe identification of the hotkeys, etc.).
The point is that this question itself doesn’t work alone, not even with the next one in the survey.

But we can make fun from the results (without accessing additional data like ‘how the Blender user community grew in the last few years’, etc.).
For example I could state that people start to leave Blender after a year (do they give up?).
Or I could state that the 5th year is critical for Blender: if the user is over that, it is more probable that he/she stays with Blender.

But instead of this funny statements I just ask you to take a look on the number of ‘Less then a year’ and ‘1-2 years’ users: in numbers it is about 1400 and 900 users.
The whole survey had 3434 participants, 1400 is about 40%, 900 is about 26%.

And now the real fun part comes, with the next question:

4. Skill in Blender

I have to say that I hate when people have to judge themselves in anything: they almost always lie, it doesn’t matter what the question is.
Human psychology is a fun as always.
So, take a look at the numbers we have!
From the former answers we know that 66% percent of Blender users uses the app for less than 2 years.
Despite this fact only 36% say that he/she belongs to beginners.
And they do this while we know that there is a general ‘rule’ in the job advertisements for the CGI industry that 1-2 years experience with a 3D app  is still a  ‘beginner’ experience and we also know that Blender has a steep learning curve compared to other packages…
Nice, isn’t it?
Never trust humans.

5. Primary use of Blender

This is my favorite one, no question about it. Technically I started to write this post because of this question.

Let me to be a little bit ironic and write a similar question:

For what do you use your camera?

A. Hobby
B. Portrait photography
C. Landscape photography
D. Macro
E. Fine art nudes

Would it be true if I said that XX% of the camera owners use the camera for hobby and the rest use it for commercial purposes?
No.
Saying that would be a terrible mistake.
Why?
Because they can take photos from people, landscapes, bugs and tits as a hobby, too.

Therefore this question had to be divided into two like this:

1. Choose your way of using Blender, based on your motive and income generated by Blender!

– Earn money (Commercial purpose)
– Hobby

If we would like to get some more specific result (and it is a good idea), then we could offer more answers for commercial usage, like: full-time job, part-time job, freelancing, etc.
We can set up any conditions if we want, like ‘usage of Blender is commercial, if the user earns more than 51% of his/her yearly income from the results he/she made with Blender. Or he or she makes more than 1000 EUR per month with Blender.
Whatever, it depends on us.
But the goal is that we have to separate the ‘power users’ from the hobbyists, because the opinion of power users matter more in any development question.
Personally as a photographer I don’t take photos for charge.
I do it as a hobby.
Even if sometimes magazines buy my photos and I get money for photos, earning money with photography is not my goal and never was.
So despite the fact that I can sell photos, I never did it for commercial purpose, so I’m still a hobby photographer.

2. For what do you use Blender primarily as a CGI tool?

– Product Visualization
– Game creation
– Motion Graphics
– Scientific Visualization
– VFX
– Industrial Design
– Architectural Visualization
and so on….

Even this divided set will not give us precise results in some cases.
Let me to say some examples again: modeling the grandpa’s house once is not Architectural Visualisation, even if technically it is.
Modeling a house for a game level is not Architectural Visualisation either.
Modeling your iPhone is not Product Visualisation, even if technically it is.
I hope you see my point.

I continue the post with Part III. soon.

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