putting people first

by experientia
by experientia
14 August 2006

Get out of that rut and into the shower [The New York Times]

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

Qualitative market research
Yesterday, the New York Times published an intriguing story on companies embarking on qualitative market research. The article lists examples of the hedge fund Second Curve Capital visiting and interacting as customers with bank branches, the faucet-and-fixtures manufacturer Moen Inc. filming people taking real showers in their own homes and using the findings to design a new line of products, and QuickBase, a division of Intuit, trying to make sense of customer behaviour that never fails to surprise them.

“Second Curve Capital is a hedge fund that manages hundreds of millions of dollars by making big, long-term bets on the stocks of banks and financial services companies. That means [the company] spends much of [its] time hobnobbing with chief executives and bantering with chief financial officers — the rarefied world of big-time investors hunting for their next great buy-or-sell decision.”

“Once a year, though, [Second Curve] organizes a different kind of hunt — a “branch hunt.” In it, the entire organization turns its attention from the suite to the street — and, by scrutinizing the fine details of how banks interact with their customers, sees the market from a new perspective.”

“In some cases, getting out of your office means, well, getting into someone else’s shower. A few years back, Continuum, an industrial design and innovation consulting firm in West Newton, Mass., worked with Moen Inc., the faucet-and-fixtures manufacturer, to develop a new line of showerheads for the home.”

“Continuum has a reputation for unconventional research techniques, and it suggested that the best way to understand what consumers would value in a shower was not just to listen to them, through focus groups or surveys, but to watch them as well. That is, to film them taking real showers in their own homes and use the findings to design a new line of products.”

“This up-close-and-personal technique generated all sorts of revealing insights. Researchers saw that people spent half their time in the shower with their eyes closed, that they spent 30 percent of their time avoiding water and that, because of poor shower design, they often risked slipping or otherwise being hurt.”

“These and other findings shaped the design of Moen’s Revolution showerhead, which became a best seller.”

Read full story (permanent link)

Be the first to share
Related Article
23 January 2015
Designing a user experience for wearable devices
Gradinar Razvan discusses some of the questions that UX designers will need to consider when designing for wearables. In particular, he presents the key things that designers should keep in mind when they are designing …
Related Article
20 January 2015
Microsoft survey in 12 countries highlights people’s concerns about privacy
Microsoft’s second annual survey (pdf) of Internet users around the world has many obvious insights on the benefits of technology for how people shop, work, learn, and generally get stuff done, but only one real …
Related Article
5 January 2015
A manifesto for qualitative research (and more)
TNS, a global company specialised in market research, global market information and business analysis, has published some papers that are quite aligned with what the UX research and design community has been practicing for years …
Related Article
1 January 2015
The business of design consulting
Robert Fabricant, who moved from design consultancy Frog to development consultancy Dalberg, writes that the business of design consulting is undergoing mass extinction. In a long article for Wired he presents the history of design …
Related Article
21 December 2014
Why Americans care more about experiences than possessions
Leslie Bradshaw, managing parter of Made by Many, describes Americans' shifting value systems. "Young people have redefined success, and their new definition values experience over possession. The word “experience” may sound like a code word for …
Related Article
20 December 2014
Why Mozilla conducts qualitative user research
"Technology and business organizations often default to a positivist worldview and subsequently believe that quantitative results that provide numeric measures have the most value," writes Bill Sellman, Lead User Researcher on Firefox. "The hype surrounding …
Related Article
16 December 2014
World Development Report 2015 explores “Mind, Society, and Behavior”
WASHINGTON, December 2, 2014 — Development policies based on new insights into how people actually think and make decisions will help governments and civil society achieve development goals more effectively. A richer and more accurate …
Related Article
8 December 2014
Understanding human behaviour to improve mobile research design
Shirley Eadie, founding member and CEO of Pondering Panda, explored some of the idiosyncrasies of the human condition at last month's MRMW Africa conference [Market Research in the Mobile World], in order to help attendees …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

See all articles