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GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers' experiences and choices.

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    • 01/18/17
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Get to know me: The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES 2017

    Amazon’s Alexa was one of the stars, if not THE star of the 2017 CES show.  What is the broader theme that piques our interest?  Is it because Alexa acts as a central hub that “connected things” run on?  Yes, partly.  I believe another key reason that Alexa was the star of CES is the personification of machines and the emotional appeal that comes with it.  This is a broader and very important theme that emerged at this year’s CES.  Across many of the exhibit halls, we saw devices promising to be your friend.

    Emotional appeal and the personification of machines

    Robots with a human stance were built to greet and help you at an airport.   Toyota’s new concept car promoted the vision of artificial intelligence that could learn your needs, grow with you, and yes, love!!  This was billed as more than a machine.  It will be your partner.

    Making technology relatable

    There’s something about LG’s application of Alexa that gets to know all of your needs when you get home that makes this technology relatable.  It can warm up your house to a perfect temperature, turn on the lights, put on your favorite music, heat up the oven, and so on.  Can it bring your slippers when you sit down on the couch? I’m sure that can be arranged.   We’ve gone from “take me to your leader,” to “let me fold your laundry.”  Laundry folding robots using image analysis can take care of this tedious household chore for you now.   The AvatarMind iPal(™) Robots For Children, Eldercare, and Hospitality/Retail are billed as caretakers for your kids or your elderly parents.   Even the way marketers and reviewers talk about devices can put a “human face” on it.  Now there are drones that are concerned about how they dress – “too awesome to fly casual.”   Of course, to succeed, all of these technologies must address a need, but don’t underestimate the power of bringing the emotional benefits together with the rational benefits these new technologies deliver.  I look forward to seeing how this develops in years to come at CES and beyond! To share your thoughts, please email rob.barrish@gfk.com.

    Discover the latest Technology industry insights, trends and market data

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    • 01/12/17
    • Financial Services
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    The future of FinTech goes far beyond mobile wallets

    I must admit that I find the term “mobile wallet” a little silly. After all, wallets have always been mobile, right? At the same time, I am not at all averse to the idea of making transactions with my phone. I’m getting the hang of accessing coupons in stores, and I felt pretty cool the first time I got into the movies by having the ticket-taker scan my phone. I’m sure I will continue to move in this direction, although I consider myself mainstream rather than an early adopter in the area of financial technology (aka FinTech).

    Digital payment

    Pundits have been talking about the pros and cons of mobile wallets for several years now. Overall, these payment systems still face obstacles and adoption has been slow. Only 22 percent of American mobile phone users regularly pay for products by scanning, tapping, or passing their devices in stores, according to recent research conducted by GfK Consumer Life 2016. At the same time, other types of digital payment are entering the playing field, such as the UPI system introduced in India last year, which moves funds directly from the consumer’s financial account to the merchant’s without a middleman. India will be an important market to watch in terms of the shakeout among digital payment systems following demonetization. Indeed, developing markets such as India and Nigeria will be testing grounds for FinTech in general, as indicated by the growing use of biometric identification ranging from fingerprints to facial recognition and palm veins.

    Seamless shopping

    The AmazonGo concept, currently in test mode in Seattle (where else?) goes beyond the financial transaction itself to tackle other deterrents of in-store shopping. The idea is this: You scan your phone as you enter the store and go along your merry way grabbing the items you want. Then you walk out of the store, and your Amazon account is automatically charged for your purchase. Some may like the idea of avoiding checkout lines or the need to swipe/insert/tap/scan their payment device of choice and wait for approval. But what tickles my fancy is the prospect of cutting a couple of steps out of the usual tedious process of putting things in a cart, taking them out of the cart, putting them back in the cart, putting them in the car and taking them out of the car. If this idea catches on, I will be on board with it much faster than I am with self-checkout, which I personally find no improvement over regular checkout aisles. In the case of AmazonGo, the potential is not merely a streamlined financial transaction, but a streamlined shopping experience.

    Conclusion

    Ultimately, consumers will adopt FinTech to the extent that it makes their lives easier. Being different for novelty’s sake will only draw in the earliest adopters; the rest of us need to be sold on more practical benefits.
    • 01/10/17
    • Public Services
    • Consumer Panels
    • Omnibus
    • Government & Academic (North America)
    • KnowledgePanel® (North America)
    • Goverment & Academic (North America)
    • Public Communications and Social Science
    • Global
    • English

    GfK joins AAPOR Transparency Initiative, USA

    Two GfK research divisions in North America – Government & Academic and Public Communications & Social Science – have been accepted for membership in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative.
    • 01/06/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    3 usability tips every appliance manufacturer should consider

    The household appliance industry has been particularly impacted by rapid-evolving technology and Connected Consumer innovations. Our user experience (UX) researchers and designers are fortunate to see and test many cool-looking prototypes that integrate these innovations before they hit the market. While we draw some of our insights from UX best practices and years of experience in UX design of appliances, having a set of benchmarks in our arsenal makes recommendations that much more powerful.

    Measuring UX in household appliance research

    We have integrated a UX measurement tool in household appliance research over several years resulting in a robust benchmark database. A scientifically-validated tool, the UX Score offers holistic insight by combining pragmatic usability aspects (learnability, operability) with hedonic qualities such as usefulness (identification, stimulation) and look and feel; this results in a score that can be compared to competitor products, different versions of the product, or, in the case of household appliances, benchmarked for the category. Our database includes years of global research covering diverse product categories from cooktops to freezers.

    Diving deeper into the individual dimensions of the UX Score

    While the overall benchmark UX Score for household appliances indicates a good user experience through its relatively high value (about 5 on a scale from 1=low  to 6=high), researchers are likely familiar with the following situation: A consumer is excited about a new idea and design, but once they attempt to use it, the disappointment surfaces. So we must dive deeper into the individual dimensions of the UX Score. Here we see the mean benchmark values by dimension for the UX Score of household appliances. Mean benchmark values of each dimension including overall benchmark (orange line) for household appliances In the “inspiration” and “look and feel” dimensions, we see high benchmark values compared to the overall benchmark line. This is fostered by continuous innovations through new functionalities that show a stimulating effect on the product experience as well as the high-quality impression. The more pragmatic “operability” dimension represents the lowest value by comparison. The location of features and information do not conform to consumer expectations. The “learnability” dimension value is also reduced – a catchy and intuitive usage of household appliances is limited.

    How to improve the user experience for household appliances

    Based on this benchmark data and UX best practices, we have established three tips for household appliance manufacturers to improve the user experience of their products:
    • Define functions and interaction design before constructing the physical interface.
      Thereby you can perfectly place functions exactly where users expect them to be. This works much better than placing the function anywhere and then trying to explain it with an icon.
    • Involve hardware designers as early as possible in the concept development process.
      Designers and hardware experts should work together as early as possible in the concept development and testing process. This will ensure the pragmatic, as well as, hedonic aspects will gain attention.
    • Opportunity of thin-film transistor (TFT) displays should not be overstrained – avoid abundance of functions.
      TFTs offer a great opportunity to explain functions. Although consumers are very familiar with the interactions via touch, too many gimmicks lead to confusion and disorientation. If no TFT is available it becomes even more essential to focus only on the most relevant functionalities. Self-explanatory icons should be found for other functions, which are then tested as early as possible (see point 1).
    As household appliance innovations continue to evolve, the strengths (hedonic qualities) seem to be well-considered. To address the category weaknesses like operability and learnability, appliance manufacturers should apply a holistic user experience design process to keep classic usability aspects top of mind. Lena Tetzlaff is a User Experience Consultant at GfK. Please email lena.tetzlaff@gfk.com to share your thoughts.
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