Experience research is about understanding people—their needs, wants, motivations, behaviors, and priorities. The goal is to identify problems that people care about. Then use that information to develop products and services that make a difference. This, in turn, helps companies create user experiences that meet their customer’s needs.
This case study is about the research for a product idea a company was considering.
The client was exploring developing a new digital product. The product would allow multi-generational families to set media consumption preferences and controls.
Sometimes a client may be looking to develop something specific. Before leaping into the design of a product, it’s important to understand:
Additionally, it’s important to understand the business goals and objectives. For example, is the business trying to solve a social problem that aligns with its mission? Are they trying to add a new product line that could increase their profit margins? It could be both, but the answer can influence the direction of the research. The key to a successful research project is aligning the executive team around the research goals and objectives.
Clarity around the “what” and “why” of a project is critical to determine the best research methods. In this case, we chose two types of research:
We began with secondary research, gathering information from third-party resources. This helped us understand the current products available and their features and constraints.
Through this research, we learned that there are several trusted independent resources for parents to turn to for information on controlling their children’s media consumption. These sources include, among others:
These sources list the pros and cons of certain products and make recommendations. They also note what technologies and features they do and don’t recommend and why.
We collected qualitative data from these sources as well as technical publications such as PC Magazine. We also read reviews in social media forums discussing the various parental controls for media consumption. Once we gathered this information, we prepared a competitive analysis of the top products.
The competitive analysis is a visual representation of the top competitors. It includes the features offered by the various platforms and gaps in the products. We also provided information on what the companies describe as their value proposition. Interestingly, two of the companies were well-known brands in computer virus protection. Some of the technology magazines recognized these brands for their products, but none of the independent sources did.
As part of this competitive analysis, we discovered some of the product constraints. For example, some are compatible with Apple products but not with Android. Others work with the Google Chrome browser, but not others.
We also looked at the usability of the digital platform, where possible. We did this to understand the user interface, ease of use, and where challenges exist within them.
Our research also entailed interviews with potential customers. The research plan included:
We designed the interview guide to help us understand the customer’s journey. This includes product discovery and research, shopping for and buying a product, using the product, and following up with a brand. We also captured their customer experience, to measure how they feel about a product and/or company. It includes the emotional, physical, and psychological connection they have with a brand.
After conducting interviews, we used empathy maps to generate insights from the responses. The empathy maps highlight key takeaways from what an interviewee says, does, thinks and feels.
We plotted this information into the different stages of the customer journey—awareness, consideration, acquisition, and experience.
The customer journey map is an illuminating process to understand the customer’s goals. When you compare the competitive analysis to the customer journey, you can see how existing products support or fail, the customer.
Through the user interviews we discovered:
Through secondary research, we discovered:
Questions the company is now exploring:
Next step: designing a platform that creates a new user experience that engages children. In this experience, they’re learning, rewarded, and parents celebrate their success.
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