Using experience mapping, skeleton personas, and usability testing to evaluate an IOT service
Opened in 1749, Kew Gardens houses one of the world’s largest collections of living plants and the herbarium has seen over 7 million preserved plant species. This UNESCO world heritage site is a major UK tourist attraction, receiving over 1.5 Million visitors a year.
Bunnyfoot were asked to research customer experiences at Kew Gardens and to test the usability of their Internet of things (IoT) service, which is made up of a combination of ibeacons, a supporting WiFi network, and mobile apps for iOS and Android phones.
Beacons are positioned around the gardens, broadcasting a signal which the app receives to provide notifications and access to content. Paper-based maps are still provided!
Bunnyfoot consultants working on Kew Gardens’ skeleton personas
Beacons are an imperfect technology – their broadcast signal can be easily disrupted by environmental conditions; even the orientation of the beacon can affect signal range and direction – but they do have their uses when deployed mindfully.
In the case of Kew Gardens, beacons should be used to augment higher level experiences (‘zones’ and ‘places’) rather than lower levels (‘collections’ and ‘specific artefacts’). For example, visitors who prefer more serendipitous experiences will welcome the ability to access detailed content at places that catch their eye; if they see a building in the distance it will raise questions of what it is and what it has to offer. Using beacons to provide these answers is an ideal use case.
Insights such as these can only be readily gained through contexual research and the analysis of customer behaviours. If you are considering the use of beacons, or if you want to provide an IoT service, you should consider this approach.