Working in a team of two, we conducted a China user research filed study, for Cell Signaling Technology (CST).
Key goals of the field study:
Validate personas and create journey maps
Learn about antibody purchasing decision making patterns
Reach understanding around product search patterns
Evaluate usability of Home page, Search Results page and Product Detail page
Evaluate usability of competitors
Understand the opportunities that exist around Related Products and User Reviews
Six key locations on Mainland China were selected to:
Learn the user mental model in different regions
Determine and compare the buyer's journey, geographically
Understand the differences, if any, in the user's approach to working with a primary distributor or secondary distributor
The six locations selected represent the most populated area of the country.
MS and Ph.D. Students
Sales Persons (Observed)
The focus was to mainly interview those of the Millennial generation.
Next, I created an answer matrix in Mural, documenting the participants' answers by persona.
View at scale:
View zoomed in:
After documenting the interviews and creating the matrix, I crafted an affinity diagram to arrive at key findings.
"I want to buy related products but I can't find them."
"Why would I contact CST China? I will contact my local distributor instead - I
Google is banned in China - users must use Baidu but consider its search results untrustworthy
80% of users are interested in buying CST Related Products
Only 10% can find Related Products on the Product Detail page
80% of users want to purchase XP antibodies from CST
Users prefer to use WeChat and QQ to communicate with the distributor
80% buy secondary antibodies from a local Chinese vendor, due to pricing concerns
95% of users use their own protocols for experiments
98% of users resolve all of their needs through their trusted distributor
70% wanted to see images (expected results of experiment), on the Search Results page
98% were interested in seeing citations on the Search Results page
95% would like to see user reviews on the Search Results page
Personas & User Journeys
Pamela the PI
Daniela the Decision Maker
Sally the Student
Dolly the Distributor
Hero banner should only be for promotions
Search Results page
Include citation count in search results
Include reviews number in search results
Include images (expected results of experiment) in search results
Product Detail page
Related or companion products need to be featured more prominently
Enable filtering of citations, based on application and species
Add alias protein names
Include the UniProt ID and link to the UniProt database
Provide reviews filtering functionality, based on application and species
Participants expressed interest in CST adding User Forums for troubleshooting and advice on which antibodies work in unlisted applications and reactivity
Our distributors expressed interest in CST adding a virtual shopping cart to the Website, that would send order requests directly over to them.
Conducting the China user research field study was an incredibly rewarding experience. I learned so much about the behavior of our users, as well as Chinese culture and doing business in China. Going forward, it would be beneficial to conduct additional research in the following areas:
The role of secondary distributors
The growing trend of using purchasing platforms
Opportunities around the CST WeChat account
Further investigate the concept of CST Forums
Usability test with users and distributors, a pilot prototype of the (distributor) CST virtual shopping cart