CompetenciesRemote Usability Testing Co-Creation Desirability and Concept Testing In-depth Interviewing
Electrolux products sell under a variety of brand names (including its own), and are primarily major appliances and vacuum cleaners intended for home consumer use.
The most recent project we worked on for Electrolux was for a dishwasher with new controls. There were two rounds of research with very different objectives.
Round 1 - Desirability comparison across different UI concepts
The main objectives for the first round of research were to understand if users relate to the current problem that’s being addressed in the UI concepts and which solution(s) are appealing to them. The findings of this research would help to further ideation. A secondary objective was to better understand the device usage habits, including: the current decision strategy of choosing a cycle & certain settings, when user’s typically run a cycle, and if they have any unmet needs.
Round 2 - Usability testing
The main objective of the second round of research was to conduct a usability testing study on one refined UI concept to understand if users are able to effectively use the new controls. Broadly, we wanted to make sure users understood what each cycle and option does.
Round 1 - Conducted 10 research interviews (remotely)
- Started with an interview focused on their device usage habits
- Showed 5 different UI concepts (static and animated images) and probed for feedback about each
- Finished with a co-creation exercise where we gave the participants an opportunity to build their own dishwasher panel with their own controls
- Round 2 - Conducted 10 usability test sessions (remotely)
Recruited participants with the following criteria...
- Age between 25-55
- Owned a specific type of dishwasher and were responsible or share responsibility for dishwashing
- Have purchased a specific type of dishwasher within the last 6 months
- Primary or shared responsibility for selection and/or purchase of any appliance
- Each interview was 60 minutes in duration
Desirability and Concept Testing
Desirability is concerned with how much users want a product and whether that product helps them to meet their needs or reach their goals. For this study, we wanted to get feedback on 5 different concepts of the dishwasher control panel. Since understanding the participant’s desirability and preference were the main goals, we decided to use a Protomonadic (comparative) testing format where each participant evaluates all concepts in a randomized order and then provides their preference.
Since this testing was done remotely, we used animated images to help demonstrate how certain features would work. We put all the animated images for each concept on a Miro board and walked the participant through each one while collecting their feedback. After viewing all the concepts we then had them rank the 5 concepts based on their order of preference.
Co-creation refers to the practice of inviting customers/end users to become an active part of the creative development process by interacting directly with design and research teams. For this study, we had the participants from round #1 participate in a co-creation exercise where they got to build the control panel they’ve always wanted including whichever features they desired. We used Miro to create a blank control panel as a canvas and then had all the possible controls available for them to drag and drop wherever they wanted.
Remote Usability Testing
In person usability testing has been conducted for Electrolux in the past, but all the research studies for this dishwasher have been conducted remotely. Remote usability testing gave the team the best option when it came to accessing their customers and getting their team members to observe and participate in testing.
After early ideation phases and UI concept testing (round #1), the team had a refined concept and wanted to know if consumers understood and were able to use the controls. A clickable prototype was created for this test using Axure. The findings of this testing helped Electrolux with further refining the concept.
The insights from the 2 rounds of research helped us to select a UI concept and further refine it. Most importantly, it also helped us identify confusion with cycle names and to better understand the participants’ mental model when it comes to selecting a wash cycle. The co-creation exercise was very insightful to learn what elements and features were most often selected and why. In the end, we were able to narrow down and improve a single design concept after learning the biggest pain points and end users’ preferences.