The User-Centred Design Group at PDR focuses on the ways of gaining deep, rich user insights to inform and reduce risk in product development. Mothercare, a major UK retailer and manufacturer of products in maternity and early years care approached PDR to help them understand the perceived value and identify development opportunities in future highchair design.
The Group calls upon a wide library of methods and original research to gain rich and rigorous insights supported by clear evidence. A mixed-methods research approach was undertaken to allow triangulation of findings. The core method utilised through the study, unique to PDR is termed Rapid Ethnographic Analysis (REA)
This approach facilitates insight into product usage and value perception by using the observation facilities at PDR. It provides insights into user needs quickly and thoroughly by simulating particular modes of product use in a simulated environment with video and audio capture hardware linked to ethnographic analysis software.
A coding scheme is developed and quantified outputs create a visual representation of chair and component interaction. This visual ‘analysis’ makes evident behaviour that is less obvious when viewing the video, such as, how individuals move between chairs, how they compare features and consistency and priority in touchpoint interactions.
By carefully recruiting suitable participants organised across groups of prospective and current highchair users as well as a group of lead or ‘superusers’, attitudes and behaviours toward highchair selection, purchase and use were investigated using a carefully selected set of commercially available highchair products.
From the work undertaken clear insights on the indicators and drivers of value and choice were formulated.
Eight core drivers of value and choice were identified, a number of which drove perceived value significantly but did not require substantial cost or change to implement. The translation and initial application of these insights were investigated and communicated to the design, marketing, and senior management team at Mothercare allowing immediate and future developments to gain higher ratings in selection, value for money, and use.