Day 1: TRANE
1. General Impressions:
Home page layout was important, however the perception of the layout preferred
varied by gender. Male preferred fewer pictures more text, female preferred more
pictures less text. Some preferred the menu across the top, some to the left. Most
mentioned it was easier to find the menu to the left but suggested making the
menu to the top more distinguished would also be helpful.
Trane site: Consumers overall really liked the pictures. Some common
adjectives used to describe the site were warm, clean, fresh and white. open
Carrier site: Many mentioned there was a vast amount of information on the
Carrier site. Some thought that was good, some thought it was too much.
2. Free Navigation:
Trane site: Most consumers went to Clean Air link, Getting Started or the
Customizer first. A few went to The Trane Difference and Dealer Locator first.
Carrier site: Most consumers went to Knowledge Center (and then Find Your
Ideal System), Hybrid Heat. A few went to the Products or Systems link.
After the first interview it was pretty obvious that we should let the participants
do free navigation and when they touched on the specific tasks, we probed them
more, otherwise if the tasks were not covered by the consumer during free
navigation, they were probed on them independently.
Learn about HVAC:
Not a topic most of the participants naturally navigated to. Most were more
interested in learning about specific products rather then general HVAC. So we
have limited insight on this task.
Learn about Products:
Trane site: Overall, participants found it easy to find/navigate to. Several
mentioned that the comparison page was not as good as Carrier’s. However, the
more technically focused respondents felt the content was better on Trane vs.
Carrier. They said it had more specifics. Most, though, want a quicker visual
comparison (e.g., checkmarks vs. text). Many mentioned they would like to also
have a comparison of competitive brands, not just various Trane brands. They
would also like pricing.
Understanding the energy benefits was also important. Many mentioned the
language or terminology barrier. Most do not totally understand SEER, AFUE,
etc. Need to be more consistent in how we provide a link or pop up definition of
these terms. Most do not understand product features either (e.g.,
compressors), and we should consider highlighting or linking to easy-to-
Several noticed View Owners Manual icon and found ability to go to product
Carrier site: The feedback on the Carrier product section was not as consistent
as Trane’s feedback. Several preferred Trane while some preferred Carrier. It
seems the difference was related to the quality and quantity of information
available once they picked the product they wanted to learn about. Although
nearly all of the respondents preferred the “check mark” grid comparison feature
on the Carrier site vs. the Trane text grid.
Nearly all of the participants mentioned that they did not understand Carrier’s
rating system, and questioned it’s relevance/credibility. They wanted to know
if it was an internal rating or from an external company. Do other brands have the
Trane site: We had mixed reviews on the troubleshooting section. Some found
it easy to locate, but most had trouble locating the link. Most of the participants
looked under the product section first before wandering down to the “System
Problems?” link. Several mentioned we should be more clear in the naming of
the link, more explicit use of the word “troubleshooting” or at least place it
somewhere that it is more noticeable (so it does not blend in).
Once they were able to locate the link, most found the content very useful and
easy to understand / relate to. Most felt the Carrier troubleshooting section was
easier to locate and more straightforward.
Carrier site: Overall, participants found the troubleshooting section easy to
locate. Most navigated to the Knowledge Center first and then Service and
Support. A few went directly to the Service and Support link.
The content meet their expectations. Several mentioned they liked having the
owners/product manual online.
Trane site: A majority do not immediately notice from the home page,
although it was easy to locate once you were deep into the site (i.e. in the System
Problems link). Very few noticed the find a dealer feature, most used the Dealer
Expertise link. When asked why, they said they didn’t notice the “find a dealer”
Once they entered their zip code, most said they would use this type of service to
contact a local dealer. When asked if they would use the Trane #800 or
Appointment Manager or Assign a Dealer to me, they unanimously said NO.
They wanted a local contact since generally if they were at the point where they
needed to call a dealer, they would not want to wait on the other options. Overall,
the users want to be in control of the dealer contact.
Carrier site: Mixed results from participants on ease of navigation. Most found
the dealer locator while on other pages of the website (i.e. troubleshooting section
or Find Your Ideal System) not the home page.
Many of the respondents were confused by the logos. They did not see the legend
and did not understand what they meant. A few mentioned they liked the ability
to get a map where the dealer was located. One mentioned they like having the
hours of operation on this page.
4. Customizer / Find Your Ideal System:
A majority preferred the Customizer, more specifically the questionnaire on the
Customizer over the Carrier version (Find Your Ideal System) because the
questionnaire was more specific and customized/tailored to their needs.
5. Matched Systems:
Overall, respondents did not understand the terminology. Several guessed what it
was correctly, but several thought it meant the décor matches the home or each
other. It’s not intuitive or a quick read. Most respondents did not know what to
do with the information on this link. Also, they had to select their region twice
which was frustrating, and also didn’t feel personal. Most felt the information
could be interesting, but were so distracted by the name and the map that they lost
6. Clean Air:
Most (mainly females) navigated to the Clean Air section prior to be probed.
They liked that it addresses specific issues like smoke, dust, etc and the content
and information around the issues. Many liked Clean Air: The Inside Story.
Most said they would not take the quiz.
7. Brand Impressions:
If you had to buy a heating and air conditioning system based on what you
have seen today, which brand are you more likely to purchase Trane or
We had mixed results on this question, with some saying Trane, some Carrier and
most saying both equally. Those that picked one brand over the other did so
because they preferred the ease of navigation and layout of the selected site.
Those who said “Both Equally” felt both sites were easy to navigate and had good
Which appears to be the Clean Air Expert?
Most agreed that based on the web site, Trane was the Clean Air Expert, however
some noticed the clean air links on the Carrier site.
What's your overall impression of the Trane Web site?
Overall, most respondents liked the layout of the website. The pictures were very
appealing and denoted a “warm and fuzzy” feeling by consumers. This was a
good thing for most of the respondents, however there were a few male
respondents who thought it was too much fluff/marketing and they prefer “meat
and potatoes” of HVAC on this type of website.
How would you describe Trane's website to a family or friend?
Several respondents stated they would describe the site as “informative”. Other
adjectives used were clean, professional, up-to-date, interesting and accessible.
• The Dealer Locator (zip code lookup feature) is not bold enough or not in
the right place on the screen to be easily noticed by consumers
• Consumers prefer to call the dealer directly rather then use #800. They
want to be in control of the dealer contact process.
• Terminology: there are several terms we use that do not mean any thing to
consumers like match systems, single stage, AFUE. Although some of
these we define in the glossary via a link, we are not consistent in the
availability of the link or pop-ups.
• Matched system section: Consumers do not totally understand the benefit
of this section. Also, you have to select your region twice (frustrating).
• Troubleshooting link needs to be more direct and clear. Too hard to
• Customizer: Consumers prefer the (check marks) grid on Carrier's site
compared to the text grid on the Trane site. Also like the detail
questionnaire on the Trane Customizer over Carrier’s because it feels
• When visiting a manufacturer’s website, consumers are looking to
compare competitive products (Trane vs Carrier vs Lennox) much like
consumer reports would do.
• Consumers are also looking for pricing (even general pricing with high,
med, low or $$$ vs $ is better than nothing). A majority of the consumers
felt that Trane was holding back by not providing pricing. Providing a
generic pricing with the notation that you must consult your local dealer
for specific pricing would be better than nothing. Consumers are not
educated enough on our products/category to know or understand why we
cannot give them pricing.
• Hybrid heat is catching attention on the Carrier site possibly because of
placement and color