Using research and analytics to help create products customers crave.

The Ask
A confidential consumer electronics manufacturer needed to validate their “Internet of Things” value proposition for a new connected product for families designed to revolutionize their at-home care routine (product and client details withheld for confidentiality). With manufacturing costs consuming a substantial portion of the product’s budget, there was a strong desire to reduce risk before full production began…making sure the right product was made for the intended audience, that established positive, healthy habits that would create long-term engagement with both the product and the brand at large.
The Approach
We began the value proposition validation with the hypothesis that customers engaged with their at-home routine incorrectly more often than not…or, they did not have any interest in a structured, personalized routine whatsoever. From this we sought to understand existing behaviors, motivations, and perceptions of personal care. In order to achieve our desired behavior change, we needed to create an experience that would not only be educational, but fun.
With this initial set of information and parameters established, the value proposition validation process began via an intense research and feedback loop with a selected pool of target customers. A mix of contextual interviews and iterative user testing was employed. A pilot study followed, where customers used the product for 30 days in their homes. In order to gain transparency into how the product integrated into their daily lives, we used a combination of surveys, remote contextual research, and local circumstantial interviews to provide insight into the natural environments and routines that most heavily influence decision making within the home. Through these strategic tactics, we were able to judge attitudes about functionality, features, and the general ease of product usage within their daily routine.
Knowing that one solution does not always appeal to all, we put several design options in front of the users and employed A/B testing to observe the customers’ preferences and performance with multiple prototypes. Through precise questioning we were able to determine comprehension of the content displayed in two different forms. Additionally, we observed which format felt the most intuitive and logical. Peer-reviewed research bolstered the validity of the A/B test results which ensured the direction of the final product was solid.
Finally, we utilized our IoT analytics platform – Smashing Insights – to track individual user actions throughout the study in real-time. It provided ongoing transparency into the prototypes, allowing us to identify behavioral trends and create more robust profiles of our key customers. Through this process, we were able to identify the necessary fixes required to boost customer engagement, which was the main metric of success for this phase. Looking at the data through the lens of Motivational UX™, we validated engagement levels through time spent on sticky features and usage rate frequency.

Using a combination of prototypes, qualitative research, and per-user analytics, we validated customer motivation, discovered critical engagement loops, and minimized risk, prior to millions being spent on manufacturing.

The Actualization
The greatest test of validity was to see how the product worked in its natural environment – the home. This allowed us to unearth ongoing insights, which led to the best feature improvements. By linking participants’ qualitative information with their individual user behavior data, we discovered disconnects between what participants stated about their behavior versus what their behavior actually was. This was key. It led to product features that assisted with behavioral motivation and created a strong sense of continuity within the user’s routine. The qualitative observations and discussions provided context to the data we collected via survey and analytics.
The research + feedback loop led to the creation of an innovative product for the right audience. By identifying and addressing a cornerstone pain point for their customers, they have established a new product line, new revenue opportunities, and have been set-up for continued success in the personal care market.

The greatest test of validity was to see how the product worked in its natural environment – in this case, the home. This allowed us to unearth ongoing insights, which led to the best feature improvements.

The Accolades
  • Reduced manufacturing risk by validating the value proposition for the connected product prior to going to market
  • Unearthed key customer behaviors and motivations using a combination of our Motivational UX™ framework, user research, and analytics
  • Created the right product for the right customer, at the right time, through our research + feedback loop approach to prototyping


  • Concept testing
  • Value proposition definition and validation
  • Custom IoT analytics and individual user dashboards
  • User research: in-lab and in-home
  • A/B testing
  • Motivational UX™

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