TMW/Brother - case study
TMW is a creative influence agency that's now part of Creston plc. They help clients strategically develop, create and implement marketing communications with a particular emphasis on relationship marketing. They work across all channels in digital, everything from email and eCRM through to mobile, social media, websites and search. We were asked to help with user research to feed into part of the overall digital strategy for their client Brother. We were asked to provide international lab based usability testing on their existing website across key markets (Ireland, Germany). Additionally, we provided expert reviews of their Spanish and French websites.
Brother was founded 100 years ago in Nagoya, Japan. The company's first European base was established in 1958, when Brother made everything from sewing machines to motorbikes. Since then, Brother has expanded into 21 European countries and focused its product range on office technology whilst continuing to expand its sewing machine range.
Challenge to meet
We were tasked with gathering practical insights during user testing that would inform the design and development of the Brother website.
Brother customers and potential customers were identified as being in the age ranges of 25 to 54. Brother were especially interested in how commercial customers in small to medium enterprises and home office (sole traders) would use their site.
Benefits and outcomes
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.
What we did
For the lab based testing we recruited a total of 12 participants (6 per country) working with our partner company in Germany Savigny user research. 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. We allowed for exploration and specifically designed one task to understand how customers would use outside web sites, such as Google, to compare and search for printer products such as ink cartridges.
These sessions were recorded and clips of these videos were then shown in our power point presentation to emphasise and explain the main findings of the report. Each participant also completed a survey at the end of each session in order to provide the statistical data used for analysis.
For the Spanish and French versions of the site we provided an expert review written by several of our partners. An expert review is a structured means of examining the usability of a website by evaluating it 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.
How this was achieved
We ran the UK usability tests over one day on the Irish site with 6 users. Towards the end of each test session the thoughts and opinions of the users were collected via a survey they were asked to complete. Tests in Germany were run through a partner agency. The testing had a strong focus on purchasing ink cartridges and cartridge recycling.