Immersive research service poised to transform UX for Kiwi businesses

August 28, 2020

Purple Shirt, the Auckland-based user experience consultancy behind numerous world-class projects is formalising its bespoke immersive research services to deliver actionable insights, enhance user experiences and drive tangible business results.

As the only consultancy in New Zealand delivering both full stack user experience (UX) capabilities as well as customer research and product or service evaluation, Purple Shirt has forged an enviable reputation over a decade as the go-to UX experts for major brands like Air New Zealand, ASB, Jucy, Foodstuffs, and Xero.

Founder and Managing Director Steve Alexander says an intentional move to provide bespoke customer and product research services, with a specialisation in immersive research methods, is in response to brands seeking more value and tangible outcomes from their current research spend.

“While UX is the backbone of our business, we've been quietly supporting New Zealand's leading organisations to gather and act on customer insights for some time,” said Mr Alexander. “Our point of difference is that we emulate the environment in which a physical or digital product or service is experienced, and can translate what we learn into actionable insights. We are thrilled to now be offering our research capabilities as a stand-alone service or as part of our full-stack UX offering.”

“We know the feedback will be richer from immersive methods, with more realistic observable customer behaviour. We’ve watched Kiwi shoppers, commuters and travellers in action, created a virtual reality backpacker hostel and even tested new inflight entertainment experiences on the top deck of a 747.”

Landmark work undertaken by Purple Shirt in the immersive research space includes recent customer research used to guide the product development of a smart trolley for Foodstuffs, seen as providing significantly more value than customer survey capability.

“Their skill is in identifying points of friction through observation, even where the customer could not articulate it and we might have missed it,” said Ashley Colyer, Solutions Delivery Manager, Foodstuffs. “I have valued their counsel on how to develop a truly customer driven product.”

The highlight of a 10 year partnership with Air New Zealand has been the collaboration on two generations of inflight digital experiences, which contributed to Air New Zealand winning two international awards.

“Their iterative design process and immersive research considered all aspects of both the customer experience and crew service delivery model,” said Paul Harper, former Senior Product Manager at Air New Zealand. “More than just a UX partner, they gave us the confidence to deliver a series of world firsts for the travel industry.”

Louise Campbell, former Head of Customer at Jucy Group said that being able to actually walk through the ground floor of their new hostel well in advance of construction was amazing.

“It completely brought to life what the experience would be like for guests and the hotel staff. The VR model was the stimulus for creating a highly collaborative and engaging environment for the team internally and as a result a number of iterations were made to the design. In fact I think we made about 12 rounds of changes to the plans!"

Two key streams are on offer within the Purple Shirt research service - customer research and product or service evaluation - with some overlap across both.

Customer research identifies segments, needs and behaviours. It helps to understand what people do, why they do it and where their unmet needs lie. It is also used to uncover opportunities for business growth. Product and service evaluation is about objective, customer centric assessment of a specific product or service. Evaluations can be used for comparative analysis, feature prioritisation, product and service enhancement and for the establishment of roadmaps.