Competitive analysis is a useful tool to help determine how your product or site compares to that of a competitor. Using this technique, data from real customers are used to make comparisons about interface and functionality between the two products. This will help to highlight design aspects such as what your competitor is doing wrong, what your company is doing right and what improvements can be made to push you ahead of the competition. Best of all, competitive analysis can be built into other user-centered techniques to provide more value and reduced costs.
Do you know your full customer experience? Unless you have conducted Out-of-Box (OOB) Experience testing, your picture of the purchase and use process might be incomplete. For example, how does your packaging affect product recognition? Is the layout of components inside the product packaging attractive? Does it reflect the high quality of your product? If you do not know the answers to these questions, we can help. The consultants at Renfro Consulting are experienced in OOB evaluations. We evaluate each step of the unboxing and setup process, up to the first 40 hours of use.
If time or budgetary constraints are an issue, expert analysis and/or heuristic evaluation might be right for you. These techniques require less investment of time and money, but can still present useful and applicable results. In expert analysis, a field expert from Renfro Consulting will evaluate your product and point out major design pitfalls that might impede customer use.
Advancements in Web technologies have allowed for some amazing Web based applications to be developed. From games to shopping, Web apps provide customers with an opportunity to interact with your Web site and garner insights and information that they otherwise would not have. However, just like any other application or user interface, if it is not useable it might be abandoned for the more user friendly Web applications of competitors. Renfro Consulting can conduct real user testing on your Web application and apply design techniques that maximize usability and user enjoyment.
Good site structure and path finding can be paramount to positive usability. Task models, information architecture and wireframe models can be extremely important tools for viewing the overall structure of your software or website and determining where navigation and information location issues may arise. The consultants at Renfro Consulting are experienced with task and path analysis techniques and can provide your company with detailed, information rich diagrams and wireframes that inform about current and suggested design.
If our eyes are the windows to our souls, then a UI is the doorway to a product or sites quality and functionality. Designed poorly, it will be rejected by customers. Designed well and with the customer in mind, it will reflect the quality of the information contained within. At Renfro Consulting, we strive to help make your user interface beautiful to the customer, not only in looks, but also in function.
The manner in which your customers use a Website or product at home or work can potentially be different than how they use it in the laboratory. To get at these differences, ethnographic testing examines customers in their natural environment. Although time consuming, this type of testing provides data and feedback that you just can't get in a laboratory setting. It is especially beneficial for testing special populations that cannot travel easily, such as the elderly.
Focus group testing can be a useful technique for gathering large amounts of information from potential or current customer groups. When brainstorming about products or evaluating between two different designs, focus groups can provide a large amount of data from multiple participants. However, if they are used incorrectly, focus groups can end up costing a company money while not providing any useful data. At Renfro Consulting, we are trained and experienced in the running of focus groups. The consultants at Renfro Consulting understand that focus group actions like groupthink and conformity can affect the integrity of the data, and we strive to limit the intrusion of these issues.
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Consistency is an important aspect of design, whether it is for something new or an updated version of something already established. How can there be innovation when there is also the expectation that products and UI will conform to industry standard? The answer.... a combination of user testing and best practices/style guide documentation. At Renfro Consulting, we can help you test new ideas and innovations for customer approval while also documenting acceptable design solutions for future reference.