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Verizon Tests Physical Prototypes Remotely with dscout

Testing the user experience of durable goods isn't always obvious in a remote setting. Here's how Verizon achieved it with dscout.

Words by Kris Hoppe, Visuals by Jarred Kolar

Verizon is a multinational telecommunications company widely known for its wireless, Internet, TV, and phone services. The company also develops and tests consumer products for global use, such as remote controls.

UX Research Manager at Verizon, Lauren Guldan, recently presented at People Nerds Conference 2022 on how her team leveraged dscout to expand and improve upon remote studies.

The Problem

At the onset of COVID-19, Verizon needed to find innovative ways to conduct physical product research in a more remote environment. This brought the challenge of collecting meaningful insights regardless of the environment, and partnering closely with both CX and industrial design team members to understand any key areas in which they may be missing knowledge.

Verizon partnered with dscout in order to improve and scale their remote product research. The first component of the study included an unmoderated diary mission, then inviting a smaller group of diary participants to join for follow-up interviews.

The Solution

In working with dscout to recruit and execute the research, the team was able to hone in on new practices to facilitate the research process, in addition to protecting company materials and prototypes—such as remote controls—that they sent for testing.

A strategy around informed consent helped Verizon keep a tighter timeline with recruitment. The team also built out a mission structure that minimized user downtime and maximized opportunities for valuable data collection.

While Verizon shipped the product to the user's house, scouts had time to accept invites and begin submitting other relevant data. Verizon found that completing tasks like the diary mission and filming videos through the process of dscout's mission platform led to a more natural use of the product than in traditional research lab environments.

The Result

With dscout, Verizon conducted remote product testing in a way that still delivered all the benefits of doing so in person. In addition, the process allowed them plenty of time to follow up on unanswered questions and direct users to test prototypes in an unmoderated environment that better-served data collection.

One of the biggest benefits included the ability to be more intentional as researchers with long-term strategy and overall execution. Going remote also enabled Verizon to study a more diverse set of users who may not have had the capability or desire to travel, and allowed the team to observe users in a more naturalistic environment. This resulted in a set of more actionable insights and even came with significant cost savings.

Kris is a content creator and editor based in Chicago.

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