“Extreme research” can help you build products customers love. Here’s how one company does it.
Would you shoot yourself with a laser to make a better product? Researchers at the design firm Continuum have – to test the effect of a treatment for toe fungus. They’ve also rappelled down the side of a building, ridden in milk trucks in Bangalore, and performed operations on cadavers, all in pursuit of one thing – empathy with a product’s customers.
That empathy is what leads to better, more compelling products, explains Anthony Pannozzo, managing principal, Research & Innovation at Continuum. “What’s the experience someone is having on a day-to-day basis?” he asks. “We look at what the best experience could be, whether it’s digital, or a physical product, or a combination of the two.”
To get to the heart of user experience, Continuum researchers use four extreme research tools. Try them yourself to get a better idea of how customers interact with your products:
1. Use technology to get an inside look.
When Continuum set out to help Tetra Pak improve its juice boxes, researchers wondered, How do people drink juice? “It’s an odd question because people don’t really think about how they drink juice,” Pannozzo says. The company turned to technology to find out, designing a special prototype bottle with a camera in the bottom of it to observe what juice drinkers actually do.
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