3G handset User Guide

Hutchison Whampoa is a pioneer of 3G mobile services through its consumer brand 3. With its growing international footprint the company saw an opportunity to realise efficiency gains by introducing multi-lingual handset guides across its markets. The challenge was to develop a format that would also encourage usage and adoption of handset features and services.

In-context experience research and testing

We needed to understand the 3G handset learning experience and the role a user guide can play within it. We conducted research with new customers in 3’s largest markets: the UK and Italy. Participants mapped out their learning experience using cards representing different handset features. We used this technique to understand how they learned to use features and to identify those they hadn’t used – and why.

Modelling the handset learning experience

From our findings we developed a simple model of the learning experience. Customers learn mainly by guessing and pressing informed by previous mobile as well as PC experience. They tend to use the guide at the start and when they hit a problem. Customers were conscious their phone could do much more but they were loath to put the effort into browsing guides to discover all its capabilities.

Designing the guide to encourage use of 3G services

The implications for the new user guide were clear. We developed a radical new format that made it easy for customers to discover features and functions – without them having to browse through the guide in its entirety. The focus was now on new features rather than ones they’ve been using for years. Contrary to received wisdom the research indicated that a multi-lingual guide would have many positive implications for the 3 brand – as long as it was elegantly designed and not too long. The new guide is actually shorter than the current UK guide.

What our client had to say about the research and design process

"We chose to work with new experience because they combine mobile industry experience with skills in ethnographic user research and information design. Their multi-country customer research has provided us with a better understanding of the 3G handset learning experience and enabled the development of a global handset user guide. Their integrated approach to research and design has led to a creative solution that will help us to reduce costs and improve the customer experience." Michele Carter, Global Brand Identity Manager, 3, Hutchison Whampoa Services