The client was able to see the possibilities for moving more directly into this market. The project:
The client approached InContext to conduct a market study that would answer their questions. “We’ve worked with market research companies before,” said the Human Factors Specialist assigned to the freezer division. “But we wanted to see how InContext’s organized way of handling user data and generating recommendations would reveal latent needs and the rich data about how people use our appliances.”
InContext designed a study of bottom-mount refrigerator owners using our Contextual Inquiry process to discover consumers’ strategies, goals, and values. The team watched customers in their homes as they brought in groceries, loaded the refrigerator, used it in everyday life, and even cleaned the refrigerator. Using digital photos they captured key aspects of user’s issues and strategies.
The client team came along on visits and participated in the interpretation of the data. In this way the combined perspectives of the client and InContext led to new insights and awareness.
“We were surprised and pleased at the level of detail you can collect with Contextual Interviews. The Contextual Design models let us see distinctions in how these refrigerators were used that we never realized before,” said the Human Factors Specialist.
The team delivered the customer data along with product and marketing recommendations—product improvement suggestions to reveal the value of these appliances and increase sales. A visioning workshop introduced the product planners, industrial designers, and other stakeholders to the data and let them generate new directions for the product.
“We were looking for latent needs and we got them. The requirements were clear and the data was relevant for any kind of refrigerator, not just bottom mounts,” said the Human Factors specialist. The team was able to educate the client management team based on real data. From that understanding clear marketing messages could be developed that truly spoke to the reasons why customers buy bottom-mount refrigerators.