Mapping out gendered technology buy & use patterns in Europe
Join the project now!
We are happy to announce our launch of a new study on a gendered segmentation of user profiles for technology buy & use – a collaboration with leading European tech companies like Gigaset, VELUX Group and Danfoss. Perhaps your firm would be interested in joining us too?
The outcome can help your company manage the market potentials of advanced/smart appliances, connected consumer products and smart home/building systems, in accordance with generic buy & use preferences for men and women. Thereby it can also help you to establish a strategy for embracing the emerging female buying power. The resulting gendered tech-user profiles will be supplemented with quantitative distribution patterns in the key markets of France, Germany and Scandinavia. During the coming weeks, we are recruiting additional companies to cofinance the guideline portion of the project.
The user profiles will be available in August, and the related communication and design guidelines will be shared at a sponsor seminar in September. The minimum sponsorship fee is €5000.
Contact our office manager, Karin Bech-Hansen, at email@example.com for details.
Most user-friendly on the continent
Building strong demand for Epoke’s deicing equipment in Europe
Jørn Christensen was surprised when our design team showed up in his icy factory yard just before midnight.
As CEO of Epoke, a leading manufacturer of salt-spreading equipment, he was overseeing the development of their new control panel – a critical user touchpoint for the truck equipment that Epoke supplies to help their customers to keep roads free from snow and ice.
design-people’s brief from Epoke: “to rethink and redesign the user interface of the existing control panel based on user requirements and the possibilities of new tech components like color touchscreens.”
design-people’s approach to user involvement is to create a picture of user requirements that complements what our client knows about their users. We create user insights with a carefully crafted script consisting of situational observations, interviews and test assignments. So our designers and our psychologist had such a user insights script ready when they visited Epoke to spend a few hours on the road with a truck driver on “just another night” deicing roads in Denmark.
Epoke’s and design-people’s dedication to real-life user insights paid off. The observations and dialog with truck drivers revealed a whole new set of realizations. For instance, they called into question some of the more advanced adjustment features that had been placed at the front of the existing panel.
Based on these insights, we simplified the user interaction design. At the same time, we made the fewer functions that remained more robust and intuitive to use – for example, with graphical representations of the spreading angle behind the truck.
A year after the new panel was introduced, the market reaction is unequivocal. The EpoMaster X1 has set a new standard for usability in the salt-spreading business. Now a truck driver can always keep an eye on the road – especially in adverse conditions, where he or she is supported by audible and tactile feedback from the panel. The upshot: a surge in export orders, especially in Germany, as customers discover that the X1 is the most user-friendly control panel on the European market.
“We’ve set a new standard for user-friendliness in snow-removal vehicles. The combination of shorter training times, more efficient salt utilization and greater driver satisfaction makes good business sense to our customers. Our investment in design-people’s work with user-friendly design has given us a handsome return – and opened new doors in the export market for all our products.”
— Jørn Christensen, CEO, Epoke
Developing a successful new luxury brand – inspired by women
In 2014, Vifa surprised the audio community by launching their Copenhagen speaker at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. The market responded with enthusiasm, and orders and distribution requests flooded in from around the world.
The Copenhagen made a bold statement in a saturated market: great sound performance wrapped in exclusive Nordic design. But the groundbreaking design began with a branding strategy built around the experiences of independent women with disposable incomes – a vast and growing market.
design-people worked closely with Vifa to create the branding and user experience strategy, utilizing our Awareness–Buy–Use tool to map out the customer journey. Together, we developed the designs and a communication platform to match.
The business results showed the Vifa owners the value of a female benchmark strategy. We’re now helping Vifa develop other products to extend their portfolio and its appeal to new market segments.
“Focusing on women as a benchmark for the Vifa user experience has given us the competitive edge we need. As a new player in a well-established market, we need to stand out – and we’ve done that by making each loudspeaker an exclusive lifestyle statement with a high-quality sound core. With this strategy, we’ve embraced the emerging buying power of women while still appealing to male customers.”
— Michael Sørensen, CEO, Vifa
Services: female-driven branding strategy, portfolio & product design, communication, web & POS experience
A connectivity breakthrough – inspired by women
Danfoss launches indoor climate app
Danfoss is a global leader in indoor-climate solutions. Their new Danfoss Link App lets you manage your indoor climate from the convenience of your smart phone. It allows you to balance energy consumption and comfort with the tap of a finger – so that when you’re driving back from a family skiing holiday, for instance, you can switch your house from vacation mode and walk in the door to a warm, welcoming home.
“User experience and usability has been a primary focus in creating this app. The female benchmark helped us minimize complexity while prioritizing everyday convenience. With their extensive experience in this field, design-people has proved to be an excellent partner for our connectivity development.”
— Jesper Vraa, Project Manager, Danfoss Indoor Climate App Solutions
To develop the simple look and feel of the app and its intuitive interface, design-people utilized both female and male user profiles and use scenarios, and we conducted benefit and usability testing with both groups. By appealing to men and women alike, the new Danfoss Link app is helping Danfoss to stand out from the competition – and proving an excellent advertisement for their indoor-climate systems.
Follow the Apple store link below to download and try out the app,
Services: Female interaction strategy, user exploration, innovation & concept testing, product & digital design
Nilfisk turns user insights into a market success
See how design-people helped Nilfisk create a better vacuum cleaner
A new 3-minute film describes how we took in-depth user studies to help Nilfisk-ALTO develop the AERO, a new vacuum cleaner that construction workers are finding safer and easier to use.
“We chose design-people to help us better understand the needs of our end-users – and transform this understanding into new, easy-to-use features and a clear benefit story for our customers. The AERO has strengthened both our brand and our sales. And three international design awards have confirmed the innovation of this approach.”
—Thomas Elmer, Group Product Manager, Nilfisk–ALTO
Guidebook to a Female Interaction Strategy
Read a chapter for free
The culmination of our 3-year Female Interaction research project, this guide will help you understand the female market and tap the emerging buying power of women. It’s people-driven innovation and marketing approach and case studies will help you reinvent the way you develop and market your products and services.
“A wake-up call for any CEO, aspiring entrepreneur, product marketing executive or design agency whose survival depends on customer loyalty, sales and, ultimately, profitability.”
—Harding Leite, innovation & business development consultant, São Paulo
To order the guidebook, email Karin Bech Hansen with your postal address. We’ll throw in a free casebook showing you how we’ve helped clients put its principles into practice.
Price: €45 + shipping, or five copies for €150 + shipping
New app leads to a better water-metering system
The Kamstrup READy Suite proves popular with utility workers
The challenge: to improve the usability and workflow of Kamstrup’s system for gathering water consumption data, while introducing a smartphone app.
To understand the challenge from a user perspective, design-people started by conducting studies and interviews with network operators and field service technicians. We translated the insights gleaned into user scenarios and interaction design concepts for the various components of the READy Suite.
The design DNA that we’ve developed for Kamstrup in recent years also helped guide our design of the app, the software and the antenna that connects the technician’s phone to water meters. Distinctive DNA elements like rectangular, striped surfaces, circular shapes and friendly icons now give the metering system an appealing Kamstrup-branded identity.
The new system is not only attractive, but it provides better workflow and usability, saves time and mistakes, and can be readily updated from the previous system. So it’s easy to see why the READy Suite has been embraced eagerly by users who want an improved metering experience – and why Kamstrup expects strong sales of the new product.
"Based on their real-life studies with water utility technicians, design-people helped us develop a strong functionality and interaction concept for our new READy Suite. The design DNA gives all the components of the suite a consistent Kamstrup look and feel. We now have a strong new offering in the remote metering market, and reactions from our sales force and the first end-users have been extremely encouraging."
Project manager, Kamstrup
Services: user research, app concept, app interaction design, PC software GUI, product design
Turning an unknown product into a winning export
The E3light Mylight – from tech specs to female benefit story
An LED flex strip triggered by a motion sensor. What real life benefits might it have – and for who? And how do you persuade them to buy it?
The answers weren’t obvious – not even to E3light, the firm that created the Mylight. So they called in design-people to define the target customers and develop a benefit story.
Based on our familiarity with the emerging buying power of women, we suggested a female benchmark user – and E3light agreed. Then our team explored the entire product experience – from purchase and unpacking, to installation and use – from her perspective. These scenarios helped us frame primary uses for the Mylight, and to identify sticking points and benefits. And they enabled us to develop a packaging and communication concept that female consumers will immediately relate to their own needs.
Mount the Mylight under your bed, for instance. If you have to get up in the middle of the night – to use the bathroom, to see to a crying child – its muted light will illuminate the floor as soon as you swing your legs out of bed.
Since the Mylight relaunch earlier this year, US sales have taken off. In fact, they’ve been so good that the Danish Trade Council just awarded E3light the Vitus Export Prize.
“When we first brought Mylight on the market, consumers were not clear what it was good for. design-people helped us to define a female lead user, and to frame and communicate a strong benefit story by translating the product specifications into real user benefits that people can relate to.
“Three months later, our improved user experience and marketing approach were critical in opening the door to the US market. We expect to sell 500,000 Mylights next year.”
Flemming Viktor Andersen
See how E3light now tells the Mylight story here.
Services: user experience analysis, packaging and communication concepts
Two design awards – and a boost in sales
User focus pays off for Airmaster
Airmaster is known for its state-of-the-art ventilation systems. Yet the firm’s engineering prowess has created a hidden problem: people don’t always use the controls.
“We used to start developing a control panel by asking our engineers which functions to include – and then put them all in a menu-driven display,” says Lars Vestergaard, CEO of Airmaster. “But design-people convinced us to start this time with the user.”
Through focus groups with female teachers, the design team found that complicated controls discouraged target users from interacting with the ventilation system. The discovery didn’t surprise design-people’s Klaus Schroeder, who has overseen extensive research on women’s relationships to tech products.
“We’ve found that too many technical features can get in the way of women’s desire to manage their surroundings,” Schroeder says. “And that when we simplify a design to concentrate on key features, men appreciate it too.”
In response, design-people created Airlinq, a panel with one main control, to increase or decrease airflow. Its simple appearance conceals a broad range of advanced functions for supervisors and installers.
Earlier this year, International Forum Design recognized Airlinq with two awards, for product design and for interaction design. More importantly for Airmaster, the innovative panel is being embraced by partners and clients – and the people at the front of the class.
Development partner: JE electronic a/s
Services: user research, interaction design, product design, user feedback
Ease-of-use means business
Danfoss’s new DEVIreg Touch thermostat sells
Danfoss is a leader in indoor climate solutions. Its DEVIreg Touch thermostat is taking the lead in the intuitive operation of floor heating.
Danfoss’s ambition with the DEVIreg Touch was to create a thermostat that stands out with an easy-to-use and discreet user interface. The primary goal was to improve usability and accessibility in regulating comfort levels while making users more aware of environmental consequences.
By involving users in developing the thermostat, design-people helped focus interaction on essential features. Its discreet appearance and straightforward top-level controls make the user feel motivated and empowered. Advanced features such as a timer and an “away” setting are accessible on a second level through a comprehensive screen menu.
“With the introduction of the DEVIreg Touch, our market share in high-endthermostats has increased significantly – due to technological innovation, uncompromising usability and the right design."
Henrik Londorf, senior director,
Business development and marketing, Danfoss
Watch the DEVIreg Touch video here
Services: interaction design, product design, focus group, usability testing, digital design
Female Interaction goes TED
Live talk in Amsterdam (video)
A one-minute video qualified Female Interaction amongst hundreds of applicants for the TED X event in Amsterdam June 20th 2012.
TED (standing for Technology - Entertainment - Design) is a global nonprofit organization devoted to support world-changing ideas. Along with 21 other speakers from science, art, computing and design, Klaus Schroeder, design-people partner and head of Female Interaction research, gave a 5 minutes live talk in front the enthusiastic audience.
Under the motto of “ideas worth spreading” Klaus presented an extract of the Female Interaction research about how differently women experience technology design. His mission was that Womenomics and the preferences of women will revolutionize male biased tech industries and make them deliver far better user experiences - for the sake of all users of advanced tech products.
See the 5 min TED Talk titled Designing technology for women here