Haier: continues the research activity to improve the product experience

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Usability skills and listening to people at the service of a company dedicated to the continuous improvement of its customers’ experience


When there is a story of improved experiences, we are proud and happy to tell it. This is the case of Haier, with whom we have been collaborating for several years to improve the user experience of its electronic and digital products. This is a company that understands the value of listening to people before launching a product on the market, and continues to listen to them even afterward, to understand how their needs and expectations evolve.

In this specific case, the customer turned to us to understand if a high-end refrigerator almost ready for the go to market was suitable to meet people’s expectations and if it could be improved in terms of usability and functionality.

The project consisted of two moments both dedicated to the analysis of the experience with the graphic interface of the refrigerator, but in two different phases of the life cycle of the appliance.

Expert analysis and usability testing to optimize the Haier fridge experience

To respond to the customer’s request, we proposed a mixed project, all focused on analyzing the digital component of this hybrid experience, therefore focusing on the interface of the device on the refrigerator door, with related functions and flows.

By mixed project we mean a work strategy that has included:

  • Expert analysis: the analysis of the interface thanks to the skills of our experts, to identify the usability barriers mapped for different levels of severity and therefore of urgency.
  • Usability test: test activities with people, listened to as they interfaced with the fridge, to verify the barriers that emerged from the expert analysis and find solutions to the problems that emerged together.

The first phase: optimize the hybrid experience in the pre-launch phase

The first phase of the project took place before the fridge was put on the market. The expert analysis provided us with a list of interface usability barrier insights regarding different sections of the interface that were analyzed by functionality and flow by our experts and categorized by severity of the difficulty encountered in the use.

Usability test with people then had the task of confirming the barriers and their level of severity.

Haier fridge usability test

Another aspect to which we gave importance during the listening was that of the perception of the positioning of the fridge in the premium category also in relation to the price. We then investigated what factors influenced this value-price correlation.

This type of listening was conducted in a semi-structured way, therefore touching on predefined points that were important for the client, but leaving the person free to explore the most interesting topics based on his personal preferences.

These two activities therefore led to the definition of a list of implementations that we delivered to Haier, which, before placing it on the market, decided to integrate all the main ones and a large part of the less priority ones as well.

The second phase: verify the implementation of the indications of the previous phase

The following year, therefore last winter 2022, Haier asked us to proceed with a phase two which included the same activities as phase one, but this time with the aim of verifying the functioning of the changes made after the first phase. At the same time we checked the validity of new potential functions to be added.

Our listening to people focused on collecting expectations and interests in relation to the product, identifying the usability barriers (residual or new) of widgets and functions and precisely verifying the implementation from the first test.

The outcome of this phase led to a positive validation, i.e. it demonstrated how the implementation of our suggestions had led to a better experience with the product.

This collaboration is the testimony of how we, together with our customers, must not stop listening to needs and test, test, test.

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27 February 2023 Christian Caldato

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TAG: The Sixth W approach user testing UX and UI usability test experience design product and service design