Image of the four members of the Gorilla support team: Will, Hannah, Klaudia, and Catriona
Meet the Gorilla support team!

Every month, the Gorilla support team put togeth­er several hours of live webinar broad­cast, help out over a hundred dif­fer­ent researchers, and run a range of work­shops with our keenest users to tweak and refine the range of new tools we have on the horizon. It’s a busy time, but we’ve managed to find a few minutes with them to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to keep the Gorilla engine running!

 

The team

The support team are a well-oiled machine: Hannah runs the support desk, answer­ing queries from our users, Catri­ona manages all of our doc­u­men­ta­tion, samples and Open Mate­ri­als, Klaudia runs our Early Access scheme for upcom­ing tools, and Will runs our devel­op­ment operations.

 

How did you join Gorilla?

 

Hannah: I joined Gorilla straight out of my under­grad­u­ate degree. I was imme­di­ate­ly gripped by the concept of being able to do behav­iour­al research online — no more fussing about with indi­vid­ual pro­grams for each task, the logis­tics of in person testing, and, finally, the chance to get a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sample. How could that change psy­cho­log­i­cal research? Now, 3 years on, both our tools and our team have grown, and I’m still excited by the possibilities!

Klaudia: I used Gorilla when working as a Research Assis­tant in addi­tion to doing my master’s degree. I valued the tools for being effi­cient and user friend­ly, and I loved the help I received from the Support Team at the time. When I was looking for a full-time posi­tion after grad­u­at­ing, I knew I would like to work for Gorilla so I got in touch and asked them if I could join!

Catri­ona: After two post­docs, I started to realise acad­e­mia wasn’t for me. I decided to look for roles in indus­try that involved my favourite parts of research (problem-solving, using my tech­ni­cal skills, com­mu­ni­cat­ing com­pli­cat­ed things in an easily under­stand­able way). I had used Gorilla for my research and I had worked for a small company before my PhD, so when a posi­tion came up, I decided to apply!

Will: My PhD funding was for three years only (with no option for obtain­ing more) so when savings started to run dry in the middle of my fourth year, I knew I needed more than bar work to make it through. A friend men­tioned to Jo and Nick at Caul­dron that I was looking for work and “knew how to code”. They agreed to take me on for a couple of weeks to see how it went — nearly six years later and I’m still here. So I guess I did some­thing right!

 

What is your favourite part of the job?

 

Catri­ona: I love cre­at­ing new samples and tuto­ri­als for our users. It’s all the fun of experiment design without any of the pres­sure to publish the results!

Klaudia: Being direct­ly involved in helping researchers to launch their studies and there­fore con­tribut­ing to progress in behav­iour­al science — it’s inter­est­ing and gives me enor­mous satisfaction!

Will: As most of my time is spent with the devel­op­ment team, the support desk gives me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see first hand the things users are having dif­fi­cul­ties with. This then informs our devel­op­ment work, so we can make the tools simpler/more intu­itive in the future.

Hannah: I get to work in psy­chol­o­gy, and spend my whole day problem solving research methods ques­tions, and helping others achieve their goals. Every day brings new puzzles to solve, and some cool research to learn about. My col­leagues have quickly become awesome friends. Hon­est­ly, dream job!

 

What is the most chal­leng­ing aspect of your job?

 

Will: Some­times a user will want to do some­thing that really isn’t pos­si­ble in the online envi­ron­ment. Even when you know you’ve exhaust­ed all other options, saying “This isn’t pos­si­ble at the moment” is still really hard. It moti­vates us to always be inno­vat­ing, to stay on top of the latest devel­op­ment in the online world. One day, we’ll be able to “actu­al­ly, you’re in luck…”

Hannah: Some­times, our users need help taking a vague descrip­tion of a research par­a­digm, and trans­form­ing that into some­thing you can think about screen by screen — only then can I start to help them with using our tools! Gorilla can do so much, so it’s always rough on the rare occa­sions that we find some­thing it can’t do. Our list of new fea­tures to add is never-ending — we love being able to say yes!

Klaudia: Having to under­stand com­pli­cat­ed design and advis­ing on advanced fea­tures — it keeps me stim­u­lat­ed and helps me grow though!

Catri­ona: Finding the clear­est and most intu­itive way to explain fea­tures to our users. It can be a multi-stage, trial-and-error process, but when you help someone reach a point of under­stand­ing, it’s very rewarding!

 

What do you love about our users?

 

Klaudia: That they come from such various back­grounds, doing lots of cool research and you get to support them in that process. Also that they are kind and gen­er­ous in showing their grat­i­tude — that really encour­ages you to do your best at work!

Will: Our users are inno­vat­ing just as much as we are. Seeing the way people combine dif­fer­ent things togeth­er (in a way I couldn’t have envis­aged) and the inno­v­a­tive research they’re making pos­si­ble online… it just con­tin­ues to be an inspiration.

Catri­ona: They used to be my col­leagues and stu­dents, so I under­stand their strug­gles! They’re under a lot of pres­sure but they still have the drive and passion to do research that increas­es our under­stand­ing of the world, which is really admirable.

Hannah: Almost every one of them is absolute­ly lovely. It’s great to be part of this amazing research com­mu­ni­ty. Every­one gets stressed by tech, espe­cial­ly close to dead­lines. Being able to help out? Priceless!

 

What is your favourite random fact?

 

Hannah: Just one? Sea otters have pockets for their favourite rocks. Snakes are born with a small tooth to help them escape the egg, it drops off after they hatch (not all snakes, some snakes are live at birth). Whoops. Two facts. Sue me!

Klaudia: Pen­guins spend a long time search­ing through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest, most perfect ones. They then present the perfect pebble to their love inter­ests to attract and com­mu­ni­cate their inten­tions for start­ing a family. Adorable! 🐧

Catri­ona: In the Greek version of the Sponge­Bob SquarePants theme song, ‘SquarePants’ is not men­tioned until the last line. This is because ‘SquarePants’ in Greek has 8 syl­la­bles (Tetragonopan­telo­nis)!

Will: One of the first mods that came out for Skyrim (ten years ago?!?!) replaced all of the spiders with bears. It’s good to know that other people dislike spiders as much as I do!

 

Inter­est­ed in joining the team?

We’re often on the lookout for smart, helpful people who like Science, Tech­nol­o­gy and Getting Things Done to join our team — if that sounds like you, check out any current vacan­cies on our careers page: https://gorilla.sc/careers/