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Background

It isn’t easy to think deeply about something we take for granted. Imagine if I asked you to tell me how your life is affected by a spoon or your bathroom’s doorknob — you use it every day, but if someone asked you to describe those use cases, you may come up blank. What if I told you I was going to innovate the bathroom doorknob, to make your life easier? You may look at me like I have two heads.

This is the realm that Delta Faucet innovates in — they update the home faucets that you interact with every day to make routine tasks easier, faster, and more seamless. They embrace the things we take for granted, and make lives easier where we didn’t know we needed it.

This was exactly the case when Delta came through our doors with innovation in a place we’d never considered: The kitchen faucet.


Problem

Delta came to us with their idea already in flight: Create a voice-enabled kitchen faucet that had smart capabilities such as turning it on and off, measuring a specific amount of water, and getting water to a specific temperature, all via simple voice commands. They originally came to us to improve the user interface of the Delta app that customers would use to set up their faucets. However, in order to truly improve the user interface for setting up a smart faucet, we first needed to understand how people were using their current faucets and smart home products. We dove in to understand their current faucet usage patterns, and their interactions with other smart home products.

To get down to the core of how people were using kitchen faucets, our research team asked research participants to keep a diary of all the interactions they had with their kitchen faucet throughout the day. ​​Faucet usage is not something people think about, it’s a unconscious task. Keeping track of their faucet usage forced participants to think about it, which then primed them to talk to us about it. And after discussing their usage, research participants were asked to rate the capabilities of the Delta faucet on cool factor, usefulness, and the frequency they would use it.


Solution

​​Based on the research we learned that we needed to be more upfront about use cases with users - reminding them of what was possible with their voice enabled faucet. We did this through onboarding, and via the app. On a more detailed level, we also learned which containers people filled most often, and were able to short cut the process of creating custom containers for customers. This helped guide the way Delta talked about and advertised their product to potential customers.

When it is something like a kitchen sink that people may take for granted, it is important to know the best way to talk about the product so people will understand the benefits and immediately think of 5 ways the product will make their lives easier.

Delta brought us the puzzle pieces, and we helped assemble them in a way that was easy to understand and prioritize.

Result

Through user research, we were able to channel Delta’s innovative product into something that truly resonates with users, because there is no reason to innovate if it doesn’t improve a user’s life. This research helped Delta create a seamless, easy-to-use app for installation, and also helped them save time, money, and helped market the product in a way that easily connected with users.

I guess we can’t say innovation applies to “everything but the kitchen sink” — all thanks to Delta.


Tips

  • Understand the day-to-day life of your users to understand not only how your product fits into their life, but how your product can enhance their life.
  • Impactful marketing ideas can come from talking to the people who you’re going to be marketing to.
  • If you’re going to bring a new product to market, make it familiar enough so users know how it fits into their lives.

For more resources, read about how to use feedback to diagnose a problem with your digital product.

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