Success Story 1

experience Enhancement

The problem: great usability but little joy of use

A manufacturer of robotic vacuum cleaners wanted us to evaluate their latest achievement: “an especially easy-to-use robotic vacuum cleaner”. The challenge here: although most respondents classed the appliance as user friendly based on the UEQ questionnaire, it achieved only mediocre scores for the dimensions ‘stimulation’ and ‘joy of use’.

In short: it offered user friendliness but without a positive user experience. 

The solution: understanding fundamental motives and incorporating them into experience design

It was clear from the start that the only way to crack this nut was to dive deeper into the realm of user needs. Why so?

People’s experience of a man-technology interaction is anything but superficial! It extends to symbolic qualities. To understand what goes to make a user experience, it’s worth looking more closely at the underlying motives. Let’s distinguish here between the in order to motives (purpose and aim of an interaction) and the subliminal because motives (a person’s “emotional DNA”, as it were). But why bother?

The research began by showing that the individual target groups barely differed when it came to their ‘in order to‘ motives: “A robotic vacuum cleaner  is supposed to take work off my hands”. But this isn’t the whole truth, since the ’’because’ motives differ all the more! 

The Lazy Convenience Seekers

They classed the appliance as user friendly, but without any ‘joy of use’: they wanted a robotic vacuum cleaner that doesn’t  require any interaction, because they find nothing more tedious than housework!

The Tech-Savvy Perfectionists

They too were unable to get much pleasure from the appliance, despite simple operation. But for a different reason: seeing themselves as tech experts, they wanted a solution that was challenging rather than intuitive and that allowed them to make a show of expertise. 

Your takeaway from this: good usability is still far from making a good product!

Established UX KPIs are good for assessing the user friendliness and joy of using the appliance itself. But they are merely hygiene factors to guarantee the market success of a product. The only way to inspire enthusiasm in a consumer is to address their motives for purchase and use, i.e. to bring about a product experience that transcends utilisation. For this reason we couple our UX know-how with psychologically validated motivational research to ensure that our customers’ products provide a sustainably positive user experience. GIM Experience offers the best of both worlds.

Success Story 2

Future experience

The problem: experiencing tomorrow’s assortment solutions in the here and now

A DIY store aspired to a consumer-friendlier internal structure for its varied range of own brands in diverse product categories: the intention was to make different quality and price levels far more apparent for the customer in future.

To this end, several scenarios for innovative assortment and shelf design were drawn up for subsequent evaluation in an end-user survey. The assignment was somewhat tricky due to the fact that the scenarios were to undergo quantitative testing, thus ruling out a real-life setting: it would have required a drastic conversion of the entire store and a longer field period due to the high sample size— and this during business hours!

However, the evaluation of products, services and situations is essentially based on individual and realistic experiences. A dilemma! 

The solution: simulating tomorrow in the here and now—a 360° VR tour through the entire store

Using a 360° spherical camera, we created an unbroken reproduction of the DIY store’s sales area and transferred it to a virtual environment.

The various scenarios were adapted with the help of digital image processing and made available to the study participants in an online tool. This enabled them to navigate through the store—while sitting comfortably in front of their own computer—and take up different positions in front of the shelf, almost as if actually there! 

The survey itself took a dynamic form and was integrated directly into the respective environment: if a respondent moved virtually to the paint department, for example, the corresponding questionnaire popped up automatically, allowing the questions to be asked at the ‘heart of the action’.

The study was a resounding success for our client: without any interference in the actual design of the store and at relatively low cost in terms of time and outlay, they obtained precise and practicable insights on how to optimise their shelf and assortment design.

The fact that respondents were able to navigate freely was a valuable bonus in that it generated relevant data on purchase behaviour in general. This allowed the client to begin overhauling their entire store architecture for the future without delay. 

Your takeaway from this: it’s not always necessary to ‘go big’

Thanks to 360° photos instead of elaborate 3D programming, project implementation turned out to be flexible and cost efficient.

GIM experience allows tomorrow’s ideas to be experienced in the here and now.

Success Story 3

experience design

The problem: a ‘wicked problem’

A client consulted us—ostensibly about a usability issue: the idea was to make the registration process for his online dating site user-friendlier; prototypes had already been developed, and so classic, summative usability testing seemed the tool of choice.

However, things changed during ‘kick-off’. It transpired that the client was heavily focused on the technical optimisation of the portal—while largely ignoring the needs of his target groups. The crux of the matter was the need to address as many different user groups as possible, and on top of it all, two of these manifested entirely disparate mindsets and need structures:

  • The Casanova type stands out by virtue of their self-confidence and curiosity. They see dating sites in terms of a non-binding and playful pastime. 
  • At the other end of the spectrum is the Lonely Heart type: unsure, lonely. For them, dating sites are all about desire and hope. 

What was ostensibly a usability issue turned out be a complex psychological challenge, the solution to which defied clear definition—a so-called ‘wicked problem’. 

Our solution – SPICE up your life! 

In consultation with our client, we decided on an open innovation approach to completely rethink the website. The usability test was embedded in a dual research design, which—based on our SPICE approach—involved the systematic exploration of people’s motives for using dating sites, and engagement in co-creative design sprints to come up with a whole host of new ideas.

In short iterative cycles, we worked with the client, design agency and representatives of all relevant user groups to develop innovative solutions which, true to the ‘bottom up’ principle, were constantly aligned with user needs. This also ensured that we kept to a hands-on approach instead of becoming bogged down in marketing strategy considerations. In brief: we followed the KISS principle.

The logical result of this was a ‘consensus design’, which—pared down to essentials—was capable of reconciling the needs of all the target groups, however disparate. It may not sound like a major coup but proved to be very successful: during the evaluation phase of the dummy website, the site performed very well in all UX dimensions and across all target groups! 

Your takeaway from this

As we see it, experience research and implementation aren’t standard procedures but highly dynamic processes requiring perpetual critical reflection and an intensive exchange with clients and users. This is why our client consulting begins with the question and ends with ‘turnkey delivery’ of the pre-final design.