Case studies


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Representative work across industry sectors: healthcare, education, technology, consumer electronics, consumer goods, financial services

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Case studies

  1. 1. Products, services, experiences.Representative work acrossindustry sectors: • health care • education • consumer electronics • consumer goods • financial services • technology + software Joanne Mendel
  2. 2. Health care: Services | Translating customer needs into a better HMO experienceClient objective: A prominent healthcare insurance provider wanted to optimize the This solution revealed that for Seniors, the decision to renew membership was predicatedmembership renewal experience with Seniors by developing a deep understanding of their on key touch points with the insurer during their care experience rather than the annualcustomer experience. The resulting insights were needed to drive marketing and membership drive. It identified design principles for the desired experience to serve as acommunications strategies – and development of communications experiences. guide for client initiatives and for the development of a communications strategy Senior’s HMO ecosystem of care Caring Connections scenario1 2 3A series of HMO ecosystem maps dimensionalized multiple A key insight was that it was more important to Seniors that the Design principles were derived from insights into the customeraspects of Senior’s experience, perceptions and interactions with the HMO tangibly demonstrate that “they care” during their treatment experience and led to strategies, tactics and examples for how toHMO system of care. These resulted from analysis of information experiences throughout the year rather than at the annual strengthen retention through multiple touch points with Seniorsgleaned from member diaries and 1:1 interviews. membership renewal time . in ways that demonstrate the insurer cares. 4 experience scenarios depicted the most common interactions members have with the insurer between renewal periods. They identified member’s pain points across multiple touch points (also opportunity areas for the client to foster customer retention, loyalty and trust in dependable health care) Joanne Mendel 2010
  3. 3. Education service | Identifying opportunities for supporting students in educational decision makingClient objective: A U.S. educational corporation wanted to drive greater market share to This solution here provided a deep and rich understanding of how educational aspirationsits portfolio of “ground” & online colleges and trade schools. Doing this required a better are threaded throughout people’s life events and work histories. This was translated intounderstanding of potential students and their educational needs, how & when to reach strategic recommendations for targeted communications through multiple touch points and athem in their decision making process and the role education played in their lives. support system for aiding people’s educational decision making process. 1 2 3In this multiphase project, business consulting and quantitative Design frameworks were created during field research to The analysis that followed identified:phases informed and were shaped by this qualitative phase of work. map people’s life events to their education and work history. • 4 types of life paths with corresponding educational mindsetsAn inquiry & analysis plan developed prior to field work anticipated • 9 common levers that needed to fall into place before people This revealed patterns in the role of education in their lives, their could act on their educational aspirationswhat information to gather and how to cut the data . motivations & identified barriers to education across life stages. • A model of the enrollment decision process. 5 4 Recommendations were made on who to target, at what points in School decision criteria, tradeoffs and touch points were their life stage, how to effectively leverage key touch points for identified for each step of the enrollment decision process. communication and ways to support educational decision making. Joanne Mendel 2010
  4. 4. Technology & software sector | Research synthesis + Digital product roadmap developmentClient objective: An online auction house needed to bring together disparate behavioral & This solution provided five strategic recommendations around key dimensions of the onlineattitudinal data and web analytics to understand how their product was meeting customer auction experience to the executive team. Rolled out in product team workshops, theyneeds. The resulting insights needed to drive strategies for improvement. framed next generation product ideation that was strategically aligned with company goals. 1 2 3Key product issues emerged from a synthesis of series of A holistic view of the issues was developed from the vantage In a series of joint client work sessions, implications &disparate client studies; qualitative & quantitative studies with site point of different customers participating in the auction recommendations were prioritized by mapping them to keybehavior tracking results and an information architecture analysis transaction. Implications for product strategy were teased out. company performance metrics and strategic initiatives.of site experience. 4 5 Five guiding principles for a desirable customer site experience Ideation work sessions were held with product teams who used were presented to the executive committee for funding and the principles to generate concepts that would be further explored resource allocation of the initiatives. in the product development process. Joanne Mendel 2010
  5. 5. Consumer electronics sector | Product design language for mobile phonesClient objective: A global mobile technology company wanted to design next generation This solution provided three to four design principles for each segment based onphones for its quantitatively derived U.S. segments. Their product design team needed rich understanding their needs and desires. Principles included colors, materials, forms andinsights into mindsets and lifestyles as well as direction and inspiration to fuel design. finishes that corresponded segment needs and product attributes. A system of phones was framed for achieving maximal market reach while satisfying segment needs & desires. 1 2 3To learn about how customer segments see themselves they During ethnographies respondents constructed an identity In analysis segment needs and desires were mapped towere asked to choose three words expressing defining matrix of themselves by selecting images across adjacent product corresponding colors, materials, forms and finishes. These werecharacteristics of who they are and send supporting lifestyle images. categories that expressed “who I am, aspire to be” & explaining why. elements of a product design language for mobile phones. Roadmap for implementation 4 5 Design principles were derived from the most prominent needs that Similarities and differences in aesthetics and functionality were characterized each segment. Examples images selected by consumers compared across the segments to frame a system of phones provided the product design team with input about how they interpreted could be designed to satisfy what most segments desire while desires like “classic & simple” through a visual vocabulary. helping the business to achieve market reach. Joanne Mendel 2010
  6. 6. Consumer electronics sector | Design principles + Roadmap for next generation appliancesClient objective: A global consumer electronics firm needed to understand the underlying This solution provided cultural insights and design principles to guide the global productdrivers and consumer needs for three household appliances; refrigerators, ranges, and design team and a roadmap to guide the formulation of company strategies for productwashing machines in it’s North American market. development, branding, and communications in the US market.. Behavior / needs evaluation matrix 1 2 3A trends hierarchy resulted from a review of prior client Through ethnographies and online community A behavior/needs matrix aligned consumer pain points with categoriessecondary and trend research and expert interviews. This facilitation, consumer lifestyle needs & attitudes came to light of needs (lifestyle, meal planning, cooking, food storage & clothingprovided insights and a context for observing customer needs. that were based on the contextual usage of appliances in their care) to reveal 3 experiential platforms for differentiating the client. homes. Roadmap for implementation Experience platform 4 5 Design principles emerged from mapping consumer appliance For each experience platform, a roadmap for implementation was needs to trend insights. The principles were used to generate developed that mapped platforms to needs, principles and solutions. solutions and guide the client’s global product design team. Solution implications were generated for messaging, positioning, merchandising and POS. Joanne Mendel 2010
  7. 7. Consumer electronics sector | Translating regional needs & cultural aesthetics into product design languagesClient objective: A global technology company wanted to leverage the fast growing This solution provided a high level perspective on global/cultural trends, insight intodemand for desktop PCs in emerging markets, but lacked the cultural perspective and how small & medium business owners make choices and the needs that drive what theydirection that would differentiate their product design in China, Japan and India. look for in a PC design. Visual cultural languages were mapped to the needs identified, resulting in design principles for a product design language in each region. INNER DIRECTED OUTER DIRECTED I WORK SMARTER I AM CAPABLE I AM SUCCESSFUL 1 2 3Cultural trends & business forces affecting design were revealed Global digital ethnos revealed that regional consumer archetypes Consumers associate technology characteristics they need &through expert interviews and indicated how the business had aspirations ranging from inner to outer directed that desire with the way they are expressed in various form factors of aopportunity landscape is changing for India, China and Japan. impacted their choice of workstation… workstation, resulting in regional design languages. Roadmap for implementation 4 5 A visual language audit of architecture & consumer electronics further A roadmap of design principles for expressing product defined similarities and differences in regional design languages. By attributes within and across regions identifies regional design associating the visual languages with consumer needs principles for near, mid and long term implementation. identified, design principles for a product design language Joanne Mendel 2010 emerged.
  8. 8. Consumer goods: Products | A semiotic analysis for driving product concepts, packaging & positioningClient objective: A national beverage brand wanted to stretch the appeal of its flavored This solution revealed and validated cultural perceptions about the category that weremilk products from ages 3-5 to target the next age bracket upwards. Semiotics and previously unknown to the client. This gave the client new ways to think about targetqualitative research were combined to understand the meanings associated with cultural customers and their preferences. This drove brand packaging, positioning & new productindicators of flavored milk habits and rituals in the general U.S. market. concept ideation. Coded media database 1 2 3A semiotic assessment of the flavored milk category was conducted A collection of media available in the public domain (ads, popular Cultural perceptions of flavored milk emerged to dimentionalizein parallel with expert interviews in the category. This resulted in culture, retail environments and material artifacts) were assembled the category; how product characteristics are perceived, how thishypothesis that were explored & validated in qualitative research. and coded into a visual database for semiotic analysis. varies with age & gender, appropriate occasions and dining rituals. Product concept framework 4 5 Seeing how drink consumption behaviors have been changing New product concepts were generated by juxtaposing product over time led to projections of emergent trends in the culture. characteristics with their cultural associations. This enabled the client to design product variations that with direct appeal for their target audience. Positioning and messaging followed. Joanne Mendel 2010
  9. 9. Consumer goods product experience | Identifying opportunities for a new retail store experienceClient objective: A historic retail brand wanted wanted to target a new, forward thinking This solution revealed meaningful shopping motivations and expectations for the targetedcustomer segment. They needed to inform the design of a system of 40 pilot stores to be segment. Key components of unique and compelling store shopping experiences wererolled out across the US. and compare their shopping experience with that of competitors. identified. The client’s store experience was evaluated against competitors to inform store design, merchandising and in-store marketing for new stores. 1 2 3In-store ethnos gathered insights into dimensions of the desired Modeling the customer mindset revealed a constant dialogue Mapping customer’s mindset to the shopping purchase pathshopping experience; Overall store impressions, Navigation of between how they see themselves in relation to the world of fashion revealed what considerations were most important in triggering themmerchandise, Communication of product selection, Merchandising around them; resulting in a cycle of discovery and self expression. to shop, in the store experience and in wearing the product.and displays and Customer service. 4 5 A store evaluation matrix provided a framework for systematically Opportunities for improvement were pin pointed to the store’s evaluating the store experience against customer needs and floor plan. A competitive store analysis revealed how others solved desires. It revealed areas the client was doing well and where for similar problems. Concrete recommendations resulted for what there was opportunity for improvement. to continue, stop and start doing. Joanne Mendel 2010
  10. 10. Consumer goods: Product | Opportunity identification: Identifying customer value across touch points of the fast food experienceClient objective: The market for fast food is extremely competitive which has resulted This solution resulted in a value formula for each customer touch point of their highly refined, predictable customer experiences. An international fast food franchise It identified tangible means of fulfilling customer values in ways that signified to them that theysought to understand what things they could do to demonstrate the value customers were getting the things they sought throughout the experience.were seeking at each touch point of their fast food experience in order to differentiatetheir offering.1 2 3A value framework identifies the things customers value The customer values were translated through signifiers. Customer values also tapped into higher level benefits thatabout their fast food experience. Signifiers communicate and reinforce the things customers are have the potential to create a more meaningful customer seeking in their fast food experience. These can be experience and therefore, a longer lasting customerBecause customers value different things at each touch point of demonstrated in tangible ways in the experience design. relationship with the experience their values depend on whether they’re choosingwhat to eat, purchasing it or consuming it. For example: What connotes fast food ambiance for customers Value formulas were established for each customer touch is signified through a décor that reflects a modern designer point to enable the client to focus resources and budget for the kitchen with homey plants, and the inviting atmosphere of a best customer satisfaction and ROI. café. Joanne Mendel 2010
  11. 11. Consumer goods: Brand | Tapping into Hispanic values to develop brand positioning & messaging for carsClient objective: Hispanics have distinct cultural values in relation to cars; those values This solution identifies what Hispanic values are most resonant and links them to carcan intersect with the attributes of a car to fulfill their needs. The client sought ways of features Hispanics consumers associate with them. A strategy was developed formaking the connection in the minds of Hispanics between their values and the car features repositioning the brand to more effectively reach the Hispanic audience. A messaging andthat signify them. This would guide development of their brand messaging & positioning. positioning architecture resulted to guide development of the brand expressions.1 2 3Hispanic cultural values were identified in order to explore how Identifying car features that signify what Hispanic’s value in a The client’s car brand positioning and messaging strategy werethey might possibly correspond with attributes Hispanics look car, helps ensure a car will meet their needs. realigned to coincide with Hispanic values and to communicatefor in their cars. car features that embodied those values. Example:Example: • Today’s Hispanics associate being smart and adaptable with a• Smart/Adaptable: Adapting to change is a constant that needs to modern look in a car in ways that depart from the standard be embraced to stay smart if they are to “make it”. vocabulary of economy cars. • Practicality, also an expression of being smart and adaptable, is expressed through compact size and being economical to run. Joanne Mendel 2010
  12. 12. Consumer goods: Packaging | A semiotic analysis of packaging for chocolateClient objective: A semiotic analysis of the color yellow in packaging chocolate helped an This solution provided an evaluation of the client’s packaging and established thenational brand to stretch the appeal of its flavored milk products from ages 3-5 to target rationale for making adjustments that would communicate more clearly to the targetthe next age bracket upwards. market. 1 2 3Secondary research into the color yellow revealed conflicting Three color dimensions impacting people’s perceptions and An analysis of color in chocolate packaging compared mainstreamcultural meanings & associations as well as its physiological interpretations of color were explored in a study of yellow in relation against specialty brands. It revealed stark differences in theeffects. to chocolate; color vocabulary, color intensity and color footprint. dimensions of the color vocabularies and cultural interpretations. 4 5 Color footprint is the amount of package real estate that a color A color evaluation framework was derived from each of the color occupies. The more it occupies, the more pronounced it appears. dimensions explored during analysis. It was used to evaluate the These examples show a range of color footprints in chocolate client’s packaging and adjust color cues to address the targeted packaging. market. Joanne Mendel 2010
  13. 13. Financial services | Opportunity shaping + Concept development for online financial planning toolsClient objective: A financial services client wanted to build an online suite of tools to This solution built a solid rationale for a set of online financial management tools as asupport investors in managing & investing their money and doing financial planning. result of having deeply explored consumer attitudes and behaviors towards financialThis necessitated seeing how current client offerings fit into the constellation of tools that planning. The solution leveraged best practices in the competitive space to create newcustomers were already using and identifying unmet needs and pain points. tools that would differentiate the client from the pack. 1 2 3Segment profiles and attitudinal continuums were developed Relational models identified what competitive resources were Key themes resulted from pain points and delights peopleas a result of 1:1 interviews. These provided insights to segment being used for different tasks and revealed patterns of how tools associated with the tools they were currently using to manage, planattitudes and practices around their financial goals & planning. changed over life stages to remain in-step with changing goals. and invest. Ideation + concept sketches 4 5 Design principles for the desired customer experience emerged An ideation work session with the client resulted in concepts for from triangulating segment attitudes with current needs, pain points online tools that could differentiate the client’s offering. A best and their idealized tools. Principles were used in concept generation. practices audit informed high level concept sketches. Joanne Mendel 2010
  14. 14. Financial planning product | User testing a digital stock research & investing applicationClient objective: A financial services client developed a premium online application for This solution explored investor routines and decision making to help develop messagestock research to be launched under a new brand. To build equity among a broad target points that would resonate at launch. Gaps between the product and customer needs wereaudience, brand positioning and messaging development needed to be informed by identified for their relevance of its overall capabilities and UI intuitiveness. A plan wascustomer’s perceived “fit” between the product and their current investing routines. outlined for training and support during the trial period and beyond. 1 2 3Consensus on project objectives for marketing, product 10 individual interviews were conducted with stock investors to Investor profiles revealed themes across investor’s attitudes andinterface, community and training & support resulted from an understand their investing routines, resources & decision making, to behaviors and summarized their investing strategies, resourcesinitial client work session. These informed the project approach. expose them to the application and to explore how it fit their needs. and information used for decision making. 4 5 A gap analysis between the application’s capabilities and Word clouds were developed from aggregating investor responses to customer’s stock research needs resulted in identifying the the applications top attributes, how they would characterize its applications strengths and weaknesses in usefulness & UI. tools, UI and data quality to inform development of brand and positioning for launch. Joanne Mendel 2010
  15. 15. Technology & software product | Online collaboration space for managing environmental clean up projectsClient objective: An oil & gas company wanted to increase the efficiency of project This solution identified an opportunity for a stand-alone collaborative workspace that wouldmanagers who coordinated with subcontractors to clean up environmental spills. Different be accessible to all collaborators on a project. Understanding the cleanuptechnology systems, processes & documents were used by all of the parties involved. process, information flows and collaboration touch points resulted in a high level site design. Project manager Arizona 1 2 3Work sessions with project managers were used to model the Profiles resulted from in-depth individual interviews with project A high level site conceptual model for managingend to end environmental clean up process, coordination points with managers. These provided a job snapshot and identified the contacts, activities & documents was derived from needs identified insubcontractors and identified key documents they exchanged. scheduling applications & tools currently used. Activity models project manager profiles and work processes. described the main cycles occurring within their work process.. Example > Needs > Features 4 5 6Scenarios were developed into concept prototypes that were field Field insights were analyzed in generative needs mapping; by User paths through the scenario prototypes in field informed the site’stested with users. The design was iterated based on more in-depth mapping examples of user feedback in field to corresponding information architecture and detailed task flows that followed.understanding of their actual practices & workarounds on the job. needs, feature ideas were then generated to address each need. Joanne Mendel 2010
  16. 16. Technology & software: Service | Multichannel service concept evaluation + Implementation roadmapClient objective: A national card and gift company wanted to explore 3 concepts for This solution concluded in a gap analysis between their current digital product offering andevolving online strategy without cannibalizing its bricks and mortar locations. Pros and the recommended concept. This resulted in a detailed, 3 phase product roadmap forcons of each concept were evaluated and the strongest concept emerged. achieving the desired future state.1 2 3An Attribute Assessment Matrix provided an evaluation of the The strongest concept was identified; creating an online Implications for building out the supporting information & systemthree concepts against 12 business metrics revealing the environment that helps customers strengthen their relationships by architecture were explored through high level informationbenefits and risks of each concept. Criteria for success were providing them with unique gift solutions comprised of architecture development .identified. products, services and ideas. 4 5 User scenarios illustrated the tools, information and customer A gap analysis between the envisioned concept and existing site experience at the page level of the product. resulted in a 22 month, 3 phase product roadmap. This detailed the path forward for planning, creating, and implementing migration to the future site. Joanne Mendel 2010
  17. 17. Technology & software: Service | Digital product extension: Across customer touch points of the apt. finding & moving experienceClient objective: A bay area online apartment finding service wanted to explore and This solution provided an extension to the existing product of finding an apartment to alsoevaluate new features to evolve their offering to the next level. This needed to meet include the moving in phase. It provided revenue generating service and product conceptsconsumer needs as well as to provide additional revenue sources & potential partnerships. that were grounded in identified customer needs. 1 2 3Potential features were scored in an evaluation matrix against Key features were modeled into a holistic overview of the Scenarios were developed to further explore and develop the pagecriteria ranging from customer needs to business drivers, how well it customer experience from apartment finding to moving in. level experience, informing the design of customer pathwaysincorporates site content, its ability to drive transactions and which Contextually relevant tools provided customer support in the form through the service.consumer profiles would be likely to use it. of information & service concepts. Identified new revenue streams. 4 5 Feature solutions included partnerships with moving companies to Conceptual prototypes were built for testing with consumers prior to provide special deals, legal tool kits, changing over utilities & launch of the site. The site garnered a bronze metal at the Webby address, word of mouth about neighborhoods and near by awards. groceries, schools and hospitals, etc. Joanne Mendel 2010
  18. 18. Visual modeling taxonomy | Models facilitate insight generation during analysis & synthesis + accelerate opportunity framingModeling overview: A taxonomy of visual models emerged from solving complex They enabled project teams and clients to understand the problem space in non-obviousproblems at the intersection of business and consumers over several years of client work. ways by synthesizing disparate sets of data to reveal hidden patterns. Models helpTheir value went beyond a functional level of simply representing information. These accelerate opportunity framing, inform decision making and create consensus amongmodels operated as a powerful tool for insight generation during analysis, synthesis. multiple constituents. Below are some excerpts from the model taxonomy.1 2 3 Market ecosystem model: Overview of digital content creation Customer journey model: maps customer mindsets and key activities through customer delivery. Shows market players, their of their experience with a product, service or environment to reveal interdependencies, competition, information & dollar flows. what things are working and opportunities for improvement. 4 5 Habits and practices model: Maps customer motivations and action Quantitative ecosystem model: Explains Consumer PC usage over triggers to a constellation of interrelated behaviors that impact time in terms of revenues generated for services, hardware and mobile. outcomes (benefits, aspirations or meanings achieved) Joanne Mendel 2010 .
  19. 19. UX deliverables for digital product & service design | Information architecture example deliverables 1 2 3 Wireframes. Page level specifications depicting navigationalFeature prioritization lists. Used by UX teams and engineers to Site maps. A blueprint for a site that specifies site hierarchy, content, linkages. Wireframes also identify whatprioritize features for the build cycle. Prioritizes features based on sections, pages, linkages between pages, template types and types of data are called from within the system. They describeuser needs, business requirements and technical effort to build. the main navigational pathways. content in drop down & other menus. 4 5 6 Scenarios. A high level outline of the user’s experience Task flows. Detail level flow diagrams of the user path through Prototypes. Used for concept testing, UI testing. Wireframes through information on a site or digital device that takes place information. These may include system responses, identify data are also used in testing early iterations of functionality. in a context of use. called and multiple navigational options at each step of the way. Joanne Mendel 2010
  20. 20. User research | Example documents for conducting, analyzing and reporting research1 2 3 Analysis framework. Organizes user feedback Screener. Recruiting questions are developed for evaluating Discussion guide. Includes questions and activities for according to respondents and the topics covered in the potential participants for the research as a way of ensuring conducting the research that are tied to the research objectives. interview for analysis and insight generation. that a representative set of the target audience is included. Includes how information is to captured for analysis, time frames for each section and notes to moderators.4 5 6 Wireframes. Provide page level specifications depicting Customer profiles. Profiles describe individual users or types Reporting insights. Research reports aggregate insights about navigational hierarchy, content, linkages. They also of users according to key dimensions that are relevant to the the customer experience, attitudes and behaviors to identify what identify what types of data are called from within research at hand. They are instrumental in analysis for cutting worked well and identify areas for improvement. This forms the the system. They describe content in drop down & other data to compare and contrast results by segment or audience. basis for recommendations to designers, marketing, clients, etc. menus. Joanne Mendel 2010