Sweeping Away the Competition
Brand success through UXD
After conducting market research in the US, the household giant saw the opportunity for a stick vac that better accommodated its customers. Further segmentation and research provided by TEAMS suggested that there was also a promising market awaiting in Asia. Martin Rauch, senior manager of global design oversaw
the project and explained, “We’ve had a good working relationship with BISSELL for several years. By combining market insights from both sides of that relationship, we could set ourselves up for designing a stick vac that's optimized for both western and eastern households, offering the brand the potential to step outside of North America."
Our team of UX experts and designers set out in Shanghai to see how people were using their current vacuum cleaners. Users detailed on a journal their vacuum habits weekly while we observed their pain points and workarounds. After in-home interviews and workshops, the results were summed up.
We found out that both regions of the world shared overwhelmingly similar needs. Only small details were holding people back from purchasing a stick vac. Both US and Chinese households use the stick vac to navigate through narrow places, such as underneath tables and chairs and around other pieces of furniture.
There were also some minor differences between the user groups. While in the US, most users keep the stick vac next to their dining room table for on-the-spot clean-up, most users in China store it away in a small closet.
Letting Trust Drive the Design Process
Based on our findings, we first focused on functional innovations to make the cleaning process faster.
Drawing up a design for a foldable handle; by giving it a hinge that bent in both directions, made it easier for users to vacuum under tables and other hard-to-reach spaces, as well as to accommodate into small closets.
Having recently redefined BISSELL's entire visual brand language, we knew how to align the design with the company’s image, making sure that users gained trust in the stick vac’s performance — through a powerful look and high-tech appeal.
That sweeping synergy gained with BISSELL from early on shaped the process quickly — like a bolt out of the blue.
Rolling Out the Bolt ION
As the Bissell Bolt ION was launched, it was clear that the design successfully hit the nail on the head for all areas of improvement in both countries. Within months, it became a top seller, reeling in outstanding user reviews on many major websites and bringing a whole new perspective to the level of quality offered in the line of stick vacs from major competitors.