While collage exercises used in qualitative research generally have consumers assembling cut-out images from say, a magazine, onto poster board before coming to a focus group, there are occasions when creating a collage is part of the focus group itself.  I’d like to explore how feasible it would be to apply technology to the in-group collage-building process.

Replace the cardboard, glue stick and magazines with eight or so iPads, loading each with the Corkulous iPad app and a plethora of pre-selected stock images.

If you haven’t heard of this app, Corkulous is a digital collage board that allows users to collect, organize, and share ideas through notes, labels, photos and tasks.


  • Creating collages in the focus group setting eliminates the need for pre-group respondent homework.
  • On-the-spot activity can get closer to revealing unconscious feelings about a product or brand. (Creating collages at home allows respondents time to get too “conscious” about the collage, altering their initial thoughts and opinions.)
  • Using a pre-set pool of images can allow for measured comparisons and ensures that respondents’ image selections aren’t limited to what they find in the magazines they happen to grab
  • Digitally “passing” collages to the moderator’s iPad allows the moderator to places collages “in the clients’ hands” in the back room
  • Opens up the possibility for streamlined digital archiving for both moderator and client.


  • iPads are not cheap.
  • Must take the time to train respondents on-site how to use both Corkulous and the multitouch interface to ensure efficient use of time in the group.
  • Photo “thumbnails” are rather small on Corkulous compared to magazine pictures
  • Corkulous doesn’t permit images to be rotated or enlarged, limiting how respondents can lay out their collage on-screen

So, can the Corkulous app be used to create collages for a focus group setting?

Eight Ball says:

Right now, the Corkulous iPad app is serviceable, but roadblocks must be overcome to be ideal for creating collages in a focus group setting. Testing may prove me wrong, but I’ll go with…not yet.

Full_greg  8BALL_NOT YET

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