Connecting customers with an ingenious new service from Three

There will always be some places where mobile reception is poor, such as in a basement flat. To solve this problem Three developed a ground-breaking free app called Three inTouch. The app lets Three customers make and receive calls and texts even when reception is non-existent – by routing them through a WiFi network to which their phone is connected. While developing the app Three engaged new experience to conduct user testing on iOS and Android prototypes.

Easy to use… but as a totally new concept needed clear explanation

We recruited mobile customers of various networks who reported indoor reception problems at home or in other places they frequently visited. We had them come into our laboratory and conduct a range of tasks on the app including calling, texting and managing contacts. We also probed how well people understood the basic concept and how useful they perceived the app would be.

While participants completed the tasks quite easily they weren’t always immediately clear how the product worked, why it was useful to them, and how the new app co-existed with the native phone and SMS apps. This was especially true of older users whose mental models of mobile and WiFi networks were often very unclear. For example, people could misinterpret the app, either thinking they would magically gain coverage everywhere, or fail to realise its true power – working seamlessly on both WiFi and mobile networks, rather than being ‘for emergencies only’. Once the app was explained and understood, people were very interested in using it but it was clear that potential confusion could act as a barrier to interest, adoption and satisfaction if not adequately addressed in messaging and communications.

Ensuring perfect reception of the product concept

Following the findings from our first phase of research Three engaged us to test different versions of a selection of communication materials – a poster, SIM pack, and web and app store pages. Three wished to ensure that messages were clearly understood, and attractive as ‘calls to action’.

Through iterative testing and refinement of materials we helped Three develop the clearest and most attention-grabbing ‘headline’ message for communicating the app to the intended audience of users. We also established what information was key and relevant at each stage of the user ‘journey’ from awareness through seeking more information, to downloading of the app – and what key features needed further clarification.

Tested and ready for launch

Three’s commitment to usability and communications testing helped ensure that a great concept was allowed to shine. Ensuring that customers understood the concept and were able to start using the app from the beginning turned out to be as important as developing an easy-to-use and intuitive interface.
After a beta trial Three inTouch launched in July 2014.

What Three had to say about our research

“new experience’s insights have helped ensure we give our customers the best possible experience from this important new service.” Jessica Mustoo, Market Research Manager, Three