Design for Experience (DfE) is a community organization of passionate experience design professionals and academics. Every year they partner with UX Magazine to recognize people, teams and companies that have achieved success in the design of user- and consumer-centered products or services. We are proud to share that the organization awarded our Consumer Consulting Boards (broadly known as online research communities) with an International Design for Experience Award.
Foresight of user needs
“If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” (Henry Ford)
Sometimes the next step forward in technology requires looking beyond what people say they want, to find an entirely new way to give them what they really need. The ‘Foresight of user needs’ DfE Award recognizes digital solutions that led – instead of followed – their users to new ways of thinking about and addressing a problem or opportunity.
InSites Consulting is exploring new territory in online research communities. Their Consumer Consulting Boards allow companies to build strategic and consultative consumer connections and they connect online with consumers over a long period of time to engage with them through online discussions, bulletin boards, and mobile ethnography. The judges were moved by the amount of information about their process that they share with the community and felt like their approach adds to the body of knowledge of user research. (by UX Magazine)
However, as it is in racing, it is the pilot who wins the race, not the car. The same goes for our solution. We have a dedicated R&D team that has crafted, tested and adapted how we manage our community platforms and how we engage with consumers using these technologies. Furthermore, our solution has not only resulted in better research results for the client, we also focus on changing people’s hearts, minds and actions. A beautiful illustration of this is our Unilever Consumer&U project which had a great internal impact in terms of increased consumer centricity.
Digging for gold
Our core belief is that “what you do with people is as important as what you ask them”. Hence, we rely heavily on task-based research and observational methods in our online communities, online surveys and mobile applications. Equally often we need to tap into unconscious behavior, latent consumer needs.
Here are some examples of how we uniquely approach consumer-led ethnography:
Task-based moderation: some of the techniques we use are designed to get a 360° view on consumer behavior, habits, frictions and needs:
- Diary method: we ask participants to keep a diary; they can also use our mobile application. This allows us to better capture ‘in the heat of the moment’ behavior and out-of-home behavior.
- Paparazzi task: participants observe others and report back in detail on those people’s behavior.
- Activation / deprivation: we deprive or activate a certain behavior (e.g. product usage), which enables us to identify drivers and barriers more easily.
Consumer dashboard: after ethnography research, there often is no dynamic archive of the rich visual and textual data. We developed a dashboard containing all the visuals (combined with stories) that have been tagged. This makes it easier to consult the data at a later stage. We also use this tool intensively in the analysis phase, with the purpose of visual analysis, pattern detection and correlation analysis.
Consumer insight validation: a consumer insight generation project often results in a long list of consumer insights (needs). Before going into ideation, we run it through a tool we developed, called Insight Validation. This is a quantitative test that allows client to identify and prioritize winning insights based on a validation with the target group. Since they started using this methodology, Heineken – one of our leading clients – has managed to increase the success rate of innovation concepts by more than 20%!
Consumer inspiration posters: insight is crucial but not sufficient. That is why we create consumer inspiration posters that each reflect a consumer insight platform which can act as an ideation springboard in a workshop.