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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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
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
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
Deeper user understanding leads to better care
Pressalit – Care PLUS
Pressalit is a global player within toilet seats and care products for disabled people in both private and public settings. Pressalit turned to design-people to better understand what disabled users and their caregivers needed from a new bathroom product range.
Based on extensive user research, we held process and concept workshops with the Pressalit development team. The outcome was our recommendations for visualizing future products as full-scale concepts, e.g.:
Make users more comfortable by introducing a softer look and feel to the surfaces that come in contact with their bodies.
Make the operation of adjustable features easier to understand through visible and ergonomic design of handles – while integrating branding elements at the same time.
Now Pressalit has released their new Pressalit Care PLUS series, a new product line based on design-people’s recommendations and concept ideas.
"design-people has helped us to better understand our users’ motivations and barriers, and they have used the insights to develop a user-friendly new product concept for our care division. This concept is the foundation for our successful new Pressalit Care PLUS series."
business development director, Pressalit
Services: user research, people-driven process, innovation potentials
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
Giving women a voice on the phone
Luxury innovation with Vertu
Renowned for high-end craftsmanship and its collaboration with Ferrari, Vertu is a luxury mobile phone brand based in England.
But Hutch Hutchison, who heads up Vertu’s concept creation and design, was concerned that the exclusive brand was excluding a crucial group of clients.
“As a tech company, we have a natural bias towards male customers. That inspired me to ask design-people to help my design team develop a larger female customer base.”
The female-interaction team from design-people arranged interviews with well-to-do women in half a dozen countries. We used these interviews to analyze the innovation potential of female interaction for Vertu. Then we worked with Hutchison’s team to pinpoint innovation opportunities and purchase barriers. Together, we reframed their design approach to reflect the experience of prospective female users.
“The result was even more successful than I had hoped,” Hutchison says. “Not only did design-people give us new insights and tools for attracting female customers – they also made us realize that by addressing women, we can strengthen our appeal to men too.”
SmartTouch is the next generation interfaces for professional ovens from Hounö.
- The ovens are used by wide range of clients, ranging from supermarkets to institutions and exclusive Michelin-prized restaurants.
- The main focus throughout development has been to provide easy access and operation of the many advanced features of the oven. This gives the users full benefit of the ovens and enables them to cook more efficient with delicious end results.
- The interface development has been based on knowledge from extensive user research, to meet the users based on their routines, level and needs. The result is an interface can be customized to support the various user types, from bake-off routines to the fine kitchen of high-end restaurants.
- For unexperienced users, a simple navigation makes it easy to learn and fast to operate.
- By enabling these users, Hounö has a strong sales parameter and has at the same time potentially minimized the support needs.
- The consistent use of interaction- and layout principles also benefits the development time by enabling a faster design of future functionalities.
- The SmartTouch interface is featured on a selected range of the Hounö Visual Cooking touch models.
- Services: User research, interaction design