Gathering practical insights to inform development
Brother is a worldwide electronics and manufacturing company, producing everything from sewing machines to motorbikes. Focussing their product range on office technology, they operate in 28 countries across Asia and Europe. Brother required practical insights to inform the design and development of their website based on feedback from small to medium enterprise commercial customers, and home office (sole traders) through lab based usability testing in their key markets: Ireland and Germany. To compliment this research, Brother also required an expert review of their Spanish and French websites.
Involving customers from Ireland and Germany
Working with our partner company Savigny user research, we recruited a total of 12 participants (6 per country) for the lab based testing in Ireland and Germany. Each country ran a baseline of tests with some market specific variations and recruitment was handled at a local level. These participants were interviewed using a mixture of self-determined and predefined tasks on their country’s version of the website, with a strong focus on purchasing ink cartridges and cartridge recycling. We allowed for exploration and specifically designed one task to understand how customers would use external websites, such as Google, to compare and search for printer products such as ink cartridges. Following these sessions, we asked participants complete a survey in order to provide some statistical data for analysis.
Each lab session was recorded and relevant clips of these videos were shown in our presentation to emphasise and explain the main findings of the report.
To support our findings, an expert review was used as a structured means of examining the usability of Brother’s websites. This was done by evaluating their websites against a set of usability best practice principles. This review was scenario based, meaning the sites were evaluated against the likely customer scenarios outlined in the user testing sessions. This report was then delivered to the client incorporating screenshots and mock ups to highlight and explain areas of contention.
Mixing qualitative and quantitative insights
We identified issues and made suggestions for improvements which could be applied to the current site. This information could also be used in the future as a baseline of points and tips to assist in the redesign of the entire website for each country. A separate report was produced for each market capturing the key issues discovered during the user testing, including areas such as: product comparison, search results quality, website navigation and cartridge recycling.
We also collected quantitative survey results to gauge user perceptions of areas such as: the overall look and feel of the websites, whether they trusted the sites and felt they were a credible place to purchase items, how easy they felt the sites were to use and whether they would recommend the site to a friend.