A global research team without the team expansion costs?

When the Viessmann brand asked Unravel to deliver UI designs services for an app built for heating contractors in the US, we offered to take a step back, employ and perform a rapid discovery & prototyping workshop. The goal was to validate their business idea and outline all the brand touchpoints – step by step – to ensure the new product launch is fit for the business market.

As the parties involved in the launch of Viessmann's new product werebased in different parts of the world, and while the whole world was in the pandemic, we had to rethink our workshop methods to suit a fully remote model. A model where each workshop participant would be dialling into a virtual workshop required some extra preparation and planning.

The workshops were broken down into a series of interview calls and virtual whiteboard session between parties in the US, Canada, Germany and Poland. We've put a strong emphasis on delivering a comprehensive and easy to use whiteboard environment - where each participant could go through exercises individually and had all the examples or explanation at hand.

User Research - Miro Board Overview

Viessmann - User Research Board Overview

Our key takeaway: 

Transition into partially assisted and fully remote deliverables has dramatically impacted the efficiency of exercises for some tasks. Lengthy calls have been replaced by short feedback and consultation sessions – drastically cutting down on unproductive time spent by some of the participants zoning out during extended video-call sessions.

The process broken down across six weeks proved that you could execute a thorough research workshop without disturbing project members' everyday activities and quickly implement early discoveries. - Michał Kosztowny, Head of Design

 

Key client takeaway: 

The ability to instantly "switch on" a team of researchers and designers 100% focused on rapid prototyping allowed Viessmann to quickly validate their new business product. The concept of employing external research teams gives larger companies the flexibility of pursuing innovative ideas within their R&D departments without the team expansion costs associated with internal project launch.

 

Increasing the quality of test results by employing internal resources.

For VERACODE we were tasked with performing a UI Audit for a well-developed code-learning social platform.

Although we have identified few flaws that a set of UI improvements could quickly fix, the more important goal was to find how the application is achieving its primary goal of helping and encouraging developers in improving the level of code security. The most effective way to determine if the application is delivering on its promise is by performing a series of user interviews with the actual users.

Introducing the real user test is both a costly and time-consuming endeavour and often requires a controlled environment - for the time of interviews, it is advised not to submit significant feature changes to ensure the integrity of the tests. As the UI audit introduced few modifications to the flow and interface, we had to find a way that would allow us to validate advised changes without slowing down product development and delaying already scheduled user test.

To achieve this, we built an interactive prototype with planned out multiple test scenarios. We sent a call out inside the Spyrosoft Group to encourage Spyrosoft's developers to participate in short user research sessions. A series of 15-to-20-minute video calls spread across two weeks, with a test group perfectly matching the product's customers, delivered enticing results. Results that directly influenced product design.

Veracode - Usability Test

Veracode - user test recordings

 

Our key takeaway:

Being part of a Spyrosoft Group allows us to quickly build a buyer persona test group within the company from internal resources - finding a valid "end-user" persona is sometimes a matter of looking around within your company.

Access to an integrated test group allowed us to take full advantage of what we call a Continuous Product Discovery - iterative micro tests to measure the impact of even the most minor product changes. - Magdalena Grudzień, UX Specialist

 

Companies can implement this low-cost & low-risk process without upturning the initial product development cycle of an already built product.

Key client takeaway: 

Guaranteeing quality feedback from a real user base research stage is one of the best risk mitigation tactics a Product Owner should strive for. Unravel managed to vastly improve VERACODE's product experience with the help of a series of cost-effective internal user tests. This way, the real user base was far more successful in delivering more impactful features feedback. It opened room for input like "This would greatly benefit my learning process…" rather than the typical "You have to fix this" feedback. 

 

Readjusting product MVP and increasing product value.

For a US-based startup looking to revolutionize everyday nutrition. The startup discovered that experience of nutrition tracking is clunky and often could be narrowed down to a calories calculator. There was no mobile application that would combine nutrition tracking with a healthy diet or healthy lifestyle advice. With such a clear goal, we underwent through the Innovation Accelerator program – a series of rapid experiments and prototyping workshops aimed for products at their infant or even idea stage, to validate and shape an impactful market MVP. 

One quite peculiar user research exercise involved validating one of the app key features – voice-operated nutrition tracking. Users would be able to update their daily diet using voice commands. For example, users could say, "I ate an apple and a handful of grapes" to update their nutritional intake instantly. The exercise was significant as it was one of the proposed critical functionalities of the app, which had to be validated before greenlighting any investment.

Our key takeaway:

To better understand how users would use this functionality and how they would value this feature, we created a prototype with the voice function mockup. (We) Outlined few test scenarios and scheduled a series of video calls to find the most intuitive way for users to update their daily nutrition using voice functionality and how they value the feature in question. Video recordings delivered a fruitful yet surprising results. Participants were far more open to voice their feedback over a relaxed 15 minute video call, when compared to online survey forms.

By simply switching the method to a video interaction between the interviewee and the interviewer we had the chance to collect a far more impactful user feedback - some of it redefining key product features. - Iwona Leszczyńska, Senior UX Specialist

Key client takeaway: 

In one of their feedbacks, our client expressed the satisfaction of choosing a remote research and design studio, precisely the pace of performed research work and delivered discoveries. Within the first two weeks of the Discovery phase, we helped the newly forming startup re-shape their Product Vision - from an app matching calories intake with dietary options to a product helping switch to healthy eating habits.

The change in product vision and development pushed it a few steps forward towards becoming a market winner; more importantly, it gave the startup solid grounds for further product investment. 

 

All the above examples present scenarios where external user research allowed finding areas critical for product improvement. Was it by choosing a specific research methodology or a particular choice of exercises we always managed to find a way to turn challenges into opportunities. Without disturbing processes inside our client companies or rupturing existing development.


If you want to learn more about how external user research could improve your product or service book a quick 30-minute call session. Let's discover how Unravel can accelerate your business or validate your innovative idea.